Author and stylist Stacy London starts off her latest book The Truth About Style (Viking, 2012) telling her readers what her book is not. It’s not a fashion how-to, but more of a why we have the style problems we have and what can be done to fix them. Here’s what Ms. London has to say:
We all put obstacles in our own path toward personal style, myself included. If we understood why we constructed these practical and emotional obstacles, we might move beyond them to healthier, happier perceptions of ourselves and, ideally, a better sense of self-esteem. Style can change your look, certainly, but it can also change your life.
In The Truth About Style Ms. London profiles nine women who are in fashion ruts- with-a-cause. For example, 19-year-old Ashley had developed an eating disorder after a romantic break-up and with the weight gain she lost her sense of style. Ms. London identified Ashley’s underlining cause as: emotional strength sapped by two years of an eating disorder. At age 57, June was having a hard time shifting from a youthful look to something more mature. Her underlining causes according to Ms. London: facing getting older, frustration with fewer shopping options for women her age, and mourning the end of cute.
After identifying each cause, Ms. London moves on to helping these women see themselves differently by putting together chic and appropriate looks just like she does with co-host Clinton Kelly on the popular television show What Not to Wear. The book is loaded with before and after photos as well as a discussion about why her choices work.
What makes The Truth About Style different from other fashion guides is that Ms. London delves into some of the reasons behind style ruts, much like Suzie Orman does for financial issues. Additionally, she discusses her own life facing psoriasis as a child, an eating disorder, and life as a forty-something single woman.
Ms. London’s writing style is professional and succinct, although her constant attempt to be humorous and parenthetical asides are distracting. Still, I enjoyed the read and would recommend it to women who are looking for some style assistance as well as design students, who could learn a lot from this book about what fashions work for real women.