Monday, September 10, 2007

One Little Black Book My Husband Will Want Me to Have

Did any of you ever really have a little black book? You know, those books that supposedly hold the numbers of people you've dated, or your "friends with benefits", or people you've hooked up with. Jesus God, I don't even know the right terminology for these things. How do people say it these days? They probably put this information in their Blackberry or MySpace page, anyway. Gah! Feeling. Old. But I digress. Black books.

The closest I came to having a black book was a tattered Hello Kitty address book with the names of my volleyball teammates or newspaper staff. In college, I had met the man I would marry, and while we broke up a few times, let's just say the interim time slots were not worthy of even the pages of my Hello Kitty.

Then I got my hands on a copy of a black book I could really sink my teeth into. One that made me yearn for more than I have now, one that showed me with a few moves from its pages I could feel even more womanly. One that whispered, Grace? Are you in there? Come out. Or perhaps we're feeling a little Jackie O today, no? .....Those mamacitas over at Parent Bloggers knew the perfect book for me to review was this black book.

Have you ever seen Project Runway? Perhaps you've heard of a little fashion magazine called Elle? Then you know the obnoxiously gorgeous (and clearly witty) Nina Garcia. She wrote The Little Black Book of Style and I have already read the entire thing and passed it on to friends. I had to wrench it back from my girlfriend, Susan, today in the parking lot of our athletic club. Really, Susan. I need to get my review written. Heh.

The focal point of the entire book for me, the point I wish American Women would repeat as a mantra while in yoga class, or getting their car washed, or picking out their bananas at the Piggly Wiggly is this: ONE GOOD PIECE IS BETTER THAN A HUNDRED CRAPPY PIECES. Oh, if women only truly understood this. Because if we lived this truth in America? The French might not be so snotty to us (oh, they're snotty all right. Je ne comprend pas my ass).

The delightful Ms. Garcia shares with us the wisdom she's incurred from learning to walk alongside her Mama's Manolos, to the venerable offices of Elle and all the globe trotting, couture wearing in between. Granted, her paradigm is, er, how you say, plus raffiné que votre femme moyenne. In other words, this is a woman who grew up with a tailor, went to boarding school, and has seen more of the world already than most of us will ever see. However, her messages are still applicable. Anyone can have style, and you don't need to be an heiress or a socialite or an uber-fabulous television host to get it.

Think about all the money you might spend in two years on ill-fitting, trendy, inexpensive clothes that fill the gaps in your closet, but don't say much about you other than you don't like to spend more than $29.99 on any given piece of clothing. Now, take all the money you spent, add it up, and see how that same amount can yield an amazing, beautifully made classic white shirt, that paired with a great pair of jeans and a little something else (a scarf? those chandelier earrings you found on your honeymoon?) and suddenly you're a woman with a bit more je ne sais quoi. You'll still have money left over for great shoes, perhaps a classic trench, and a few more pieces you'll be wearing years from now.

I loved the q & a's with some of the fashions greats, and as for the quotes that are peppered throughout the pages? Worthy of memorizing and dropping at your next party. This black book has fabulous tips, a history of major fashion trends throughout the past ninety or so years, and also gives the reader wiggle room to express herself as an individual. That's right, for nay, this book is not for the sheep who wants to be told what to wear and write a check and bleet along with the other victims of the season. Au contraire, she encourages a woman to find herself, and express it in an outward manifestation of class and originality.

My only complaint? That the book should be coffee table sized to showcase Ruben Toledo's illustrations. I would frame some of the pages of the book, and was disappointed that such a larger than life artist was encased in a smaller than satisfactory wrapping. Oh well, c'est la vie.

1 comment:

mothergoosemouse said...

Jen, you slay me. But the advice is excellent.