I recently read the style book How To Get Dressed by Alison Freer. You can find it here on Amazon. The author is a costume designer for television and movies (she doesn’t name any names, darn), and knows whereof she speaks.
Are there really any style secrets to be spilled? I think we’ve heard them all by a Certain Age, but How To Get Dressed is still an entertaining, breezy read with some good suggestions. I recommend it for nightstand reading and you can just dip into any topic that interests you.
There are the expected chapters covering how to get the right fit, alter your clothing, find pieces that express your personality, and keep your clothing in top condition. Alison has a vast and deep knowledge of how to do alterations, and how to do them “quick and dirty” if you have to.
The author also has a passion for hanging everything up in your closet. She means everything, including panties and bras. I could not get on board here – she recommends safety pinning your bras to paper covered hangers, e.g. – but her goal is to have you see everything you own in one place. I prefer my underthings in a lightly sachet-ed dresser drawer, and I will remember where they are.
One of my favorite chapters is “Dumb Fashion Rules That Were Made For Breaking.” Of course, that title speaks to me, and a lot of us older bloggers who are tired of being told what we “can’t wear” after a certain age. Alison’s “dumb” rules to break include:
1. Always fear wearing stripes.
2. Don’t mix your metals.
3. Short boots make you look stumpy (really they don’t).
4. Redheads can’t wear red (oh yes they can).
5. Don’t wear leggings as pants. On this one, I do follow the old “dumb” rule. I like leggings under short dresses and long tunics. But you do you when it comes to leggings, just be confident.
I did pick up a few new tips; let’s call them “style secrets” to make it more alluring.
1. Hand-washing clothing is an art that I have been hacking at for years. Alison recommends Woolite in two flavors, a five-minute swish (that’s a lot of swishing), rolling in a clean towel “like a burrito” until your piece is almost dry. Then she favors a steamer over an iron. And since I don’t own an iron, and can get very wrinkly, she’s convinced me to buy a steamer.
2. How to successfully thrift. Humble-brag: I know this stuff pretty well, but it’s an excellent guide for beginners. I was reminded to carry my measurements and a cloth measuring tape with me. And a pair of thin socks so you don’t have to stand barefoot on questionable surfaces.
3. There’s a pretty hilarious chapter on what absolutely cannot be worn to a job interview. The power suit, hose and pumps are no longer needed for 95% of workplace interviews, but Alison reminds us that the following looks are still best avoided: lint-y sweaters, unpolished shoes, rumpled shirts, too-long pants, lots of cleavage, or smelling like tobacco smoke. I will add: political buttons or tees – way to piss off about 50% of any given population. Wait till you have the job before you start pissing people off.
4. Have as many clothes as you want, as long as you can see them, take good care of them, and enjoy them. There are no arbitrary numbers for Alison – have a tiny closet or a bedroom-sized one – as long as you wear the clothes frequently and with happiness.
Enjoy your reading today, share the love and stay fabulous,
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