Thursday, 12 February 2009

Book Review: The Cheap Date Guide to Style

Starting from, well, now, I’ll be reviewing some of my favourite style, cheap living and productivity books for your perusing pleasure. They’ll mostly be books I’ve enjoyed because, really, what’s the point in wasting everyone’s time telling you about the ones I didn’t like? Each one will be made available in the Charade store if it isn’t already and if you do decide to buy any then you will be actively supporting my efforts here on the site. Whoopee! There’ll also be opportunities down the line to win copies of some of the books so check back for that. If you’d like to suggest a book for review email me and I’ll get it on the list. If you’ve already read any of the books then please feel free to add your own points in the comments section. Hope you enjoy this new feature on Charade...

Title: The Cheap Date Guide to Style
Author: Kira Jolliffe and Bay Garnett
Amazon Price: £9.74 / RRP: £14.99

Overview: Forget makeover culture, forget being dictated to, forget your insecurities. This book is about YOU, looking cool, feeling fantastic, being whoever you want to be. Rife with style tips and interviews with a few regulation fashionistas like Mischa Barton, The Cheap Date Guide to Style promises to help you discover your own individual style, whilst offering up its own quirky wealth of advice and inspiration.

Evaluation: Truly a style guide with a difference, the book deals with the very basics of fashion, but also goes beyond that to ponder the real root of personal style and what exactly it is. While there is a lot of talk about the good old-fashioned classics, there are also many new ideas you might not have previously considered – a fresh way of looking at your own personal style.

At no point is the writing style lofty, prescriptive, or in anyway out of reach for the average fashionista. Even in the celebrity interviews a chatty, informal tone is maintained and you as the reader truly feel part of the conversation.

What I personally liked most about Kira and Bay’s approach was the informality of it. It was both diverse and sincere, with a real sense that the two are passionate about the subject; that they genuinely want to break down fashion barriers.

If it’s lacking anything, perhaps it is the specificity they are actively attempting to go against. As silly as it sounds, I did find myself craving to be told exactly what I must do, to be called to action if you will. But The Cheap Date Guide to Style is more of a buffet than a set meal; you pick the bits you like and make what you want of it, which was certainly refreshing. Perfectly illustrated is the fact that that fashion is everywhere, that there is no right or wrong, from Harris Tweed on the racecourse to high fashion on the runway.

The book isn’t exactly heavy reading material, which I quite liked about it. It was easy to dip in and out of with a cool layout, tonnes of (often surprising) images and a wealth of interesting insights from some of the biggest (and smallest!) fashion names out there. A magazine-like reference book you’ll want to keep coming back to, Cheap Date seems like a great starting point for those on the path to a truer personal aesthetic; it’s certainly challenged a few of my ideas.

Summary: If you’re looking for a definitive style bible, this isn’t it, but if you want a fun, young spirited yet informative guide through an arena as daunting as the fashion world can be then you’d be hard pushed to find a better starting point. As it is so aptly put on the back cover:

‘...rediscover the magic of a childhood dressing-up box’

Heart-o-meter: (4/5)

If you liked this review then buy the book now in the Charade store!

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