Image from Daddy Likey
"This is a book for real women with real bodies and real budgets and a real desire to carve out their own personal style. Fashion is fun. Don't let any other book or magazine or TV show or cynical friend convince you otherwise. Have fun with this book and have fun getting dressed every day.
"Learn from my fashion mistakes, but don't be afraid to make your own."
So begins Closet Confidential, a book I enjoyed so thoroughly that I had to read it twice before I got around to writing a review--once in Portland and again in Vancouver, this time going at a slower pace and relishing the witty details and wise words that Winona imparts with every page. The advice this book contains might seem like common sense to seasoned style pros, but for those who regard getting dressed each morning with equal parts dread and nausea, Winona presents "Fashion 101"-type pointers in an accessible manner. Fashion newbies will find Closet Confidential approachable, while seasoned pros will nod their heads in agreement as they read.
It's difficult for me to review this book without descending into a random string of superlatives, so I'll cheat using a tried-and-true technical writer's trick and share my thoughts via a bulleted list:
- Winona's blog Daddy Likey never ceases to delight me with its humour and creativity, and plenty of both abound in Closet Confidential. From a denim field guide that reads like a birdwatching book to an A to Z reference for all things shoe, the information is presented with a light touch but still very useful.
- Kudos to her for giving advice to real girls and acknowledging that sometimes in real life girls need coats that repel rain and keep them from freezing to death, that high heels aren't always the most practical option, and that the financial cost of matching lingerie sets can outweigh any benefits you might receive from wearing them.
- I love her honesty, particularly when she freely admits to making mistakes like choosing uncomfortable shoes. Can you imagine how much more reassuring it is to hear that even stylish people make poor choices, instead of having some stylist's authority shoved down your throat and making you second-guess your own sartorial choices at every turn? This is such a refreshing change of pace from other style advice books I've read.
- I had to chuckle when she said, "I hail from Oregon, where people dress in high-performance outdoor gear for dinner at a classy restaurant, because apparently you never know when you might need to head out on an eighty-mile cycling trip"; this thought is equally apt when applied to Vancouver.
- The book truly covers outfit suggestions for every occasion: jeans, work wear, formal wear, outerwear, accessorizing, bathing suit shopping, etc. It contains so much information, but the information is presented in a way that makes it a breezy read.
- In fact, the only thing I dislike about the book was the fact that it was too breezy and I finished it too quickly. :( I could've kept reading it for ages. Thank goodness the author has a blog!