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Best Dressed: The Born to Shop Lady's Secrets for Building a Wardrobe

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Book Details

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222 pages
1999 Jan 1
Book length
Publication date

Publisher Clarkson Potter (January 1, 1999)
Language English
ISBN-10 0756757339
ISBN-13 978-0756757335
Product Dimensions 9.1 x 8.1 x 0.9 inches
Shipping Weight 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average customer review
Best-sellers rank #2,548,400 in Books
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Cultivating a distinctive style that expresses your personality and tells the world how you want to be perceived doesn't have to break the bank. In Best Dressed, Suzy Gershman--internationally recognized for her retail acumen--offers a comprehensive guide, from bargain bins to haute couture, to building a wardrobe that not only works for you, but rewards you with a personal style that ensures you always feel comfortable in your clothing. Her insider knowledge of the fashion world helps you identify your fashion goals, maximize your fashion dollars, and look your best, whatever the budget or occasion.

Suzy outlines a foolproof three-step plan for cultivating a successful shopping style. She offers guidance for those still in "The Empty Stage," otherwise known as "Help! I have nothing to wear," showing how to select core pieces that will form the basis of a versatile, age-appropriate wardrobe. Next, you'll master "The One Good Stage"--in which you invest in one good example in each category of clothes and accessories, broadening your options and looks. By the time you're ready to conquer "The Rounding-Out Stage," finishing your wardrobe with seasonal accents and current trends, you'll have gained the confidence and flair to carry off your own unique style.

Suzy shares her personal philosophies on which items are worth a splurge (and when it's okay to buy "disposable" items); how to predict fashion trends (and when it's too late to buy in); and why the best foundation for any working wardrobe is a comfortable pair of shoes. For fashion novices and clotheshorses alike, Suzy's pointers and tips dissect the complex hierarchy of fashion retail and make creating a flexible and up-to-date wardrobe the painless process it was destined to be.

Suzy Gershman, the world's smartest shopper, lets you in on dozens of insider's tips and secrets to creating a fabulous wardrobe marked by your own personal style. Best Dressed delivers answers to your most frequently asked fashion questions, big or small, including:
Where are the real fashion bargains?
When is it too late to get in on a trend?
What is the single best fashion investment?
Why are the best working wardrobes built from the bottom up?
With Suzy's expert guidance, you'll learn to crack the stores' and manufacturers' pricing secrets, separate hype from style, and make your fashion budget go further than ever before. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

An author, a journalist, and a television personality, Suzy Gershman worked as a correspondent for Time before turning to the fashion world. In addition to writing Frommer's ''Born to Shop'' series, Gershman is an editor at Travel Holiday, Porthole, and Luxe magazines and has contributed to publications ranging from McCall's to Neiman Marcus's The Book. Both Harvard Business School and New York's Fashion Institute of Technology have studied her retail guidelines; numerous stores have relied on her as fashion consultant. She currently lives in Connecticut.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 17 customer reviews
Some of her advice is just plain bad.
I really doubt the editor was paying close attention; otherwise it could not have filled with all!
This alone was worth its weight in gold.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

82 of 87 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 7, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The author, whose own disastrous clothing choices are shown in the unintentionally hilarious back-cover photographs, is clearly not qualified to dispense fashion advice. Reading this book confirmed my suspicions that this woman has absolutely no sense of style: for example, she thinks that a navy blazer is an indispensible item in EVERYONE's closet (not in mine, certainly; I look for clothes that are appropriate for various occasions but NOT so achingly dull and bland), and she assumes that because SHE doesn't wear high heels, no one else should, either. She also makes the laughable remark that while matching shoes and handbags were the norm in our mothers' and grandmothers' era, they are now considered "declasse" (this is nonsense: coordinated shoes and bags are aesthetically pleasing, and often serve to pull an outfit together). And she believes that if you have only one evening handbag, it shouldn't be black or gold, but some other color (I think most women would argue that a black evening bag is certainly the most versatile choice!).

Check out the sloppy, frumpy outfits this dame is wearing on the back of the book's dust jacket, and see if you don't agree that she is the LAST person you'd want to advise you on building a wardrobe. This book is irritating, useless and a complete WASTE OF MONEY.

(P.S.: More reliable wardrobe advice can be found in the "Chic Simple" book series, particularly the "What Should I Wear?" title. Although some of the examples shown herein are questionable, the overall clothes philosophy is more sound -- and the photographs of shoes are particularly inspiring.)
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Like other reviewers of this book, I too noticed that the outfits featured on the back cover were none too appealing. They are presumably very expensive outfits, though, and serve as visual notice of the type of advice contained in the book.

The advice on "building a wardrobe" is almost non-existent (one list of 10 "must-have" items is the sum total). Most of this book is devoted to descriptions of the clothing and retail industries, with long passages describing different types of fabric. Gershman is clearly a fan of haute couture, and much space is spent describing $500 "bargains" (picked up at shops around the world). She does not spend any time discussing color choice, and her idea of accessories is Hermes scarves, Chanel earrings, and fake flowers. She recommends flying yourself to New York twice a year to do your shopping.

If money, practicality, and closet space are not issues for you, you might find this book useful. The rest of us, however, have much better books to choose from. I recommend Linda Dano's "Looking Great," a book so essential to building a good wardrobe that I find myself coming back to it again and again.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 5, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The author's biggest mistake was to use her own photographs on the back cover. Were these meant to be funny? She's dressed appallingly, awesomely, awfully.

It's tedious reading, with more emphasis on the theoretical, "scientific" study of the "politics" behind retail clothing sales than I, for one, am interested in. I didn't care for her tone, either, or the crude language.

Finally, I found her requirements for building a good wardrobe to be on the expensive side - because of this I don't think most people will be able to make use of her recommendations.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Alicia on February 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book contains the absolute best advice if you look like Suzy, think like Suzy, and have Suzy's enormous budget for clothing. Unfortunately, her personal style is much too matronly for me, and I'm 47 years old. She allows her personal -- and rather unfortunately, dismal -- taste dictate what she masks as general advice for all. One needs to look no further than the painfully hideous photo of her on the front cover, wearing gigantic pearls that threaten to engulf her head, which is in desperate need of an updated haircut.

Some of her advice is just plain bad. A navy suit for everyone? She forgets that not everyone has her skin and hair color nor has a need to dress in ultra-conservative, business attire. No black or gold purse for evening? That's fine if you have an unlimited budget to buy one of her $1,000 bargain purses in different colors to match all of your outfits. If you don't buy different colors, then you'll forever be stuck as the woman with the purple, pink, or whatever-color-you-choose purse. She may not personally like black, but it is indisputably one of the chicest and most sophisticated colors. Keep in mind that the advice on the book is being dispensed by the person parading in the insipid outfits on the back cover.

Although she does give a good insight behind the doors of the retail fashion industry, one still needs an annual multi-thousand dollar budget to even begin to take her advice. She also assumes that the reader, besides being incredibly wealthy, needs to dress in an ultra-conservative manner which allows little room for femininity or personal style. Come to think of it, I think Suzy would be the perfect fashion consultant for Queen Elizabeth of England - their styles are almost identical. My mother is nearly 70 years old and wouldn't be caught dead in some of the elderly fashions that the author is wearing. It is remarkable that anyone could take the advice on style in this book seriously.

I would, however, recommend this book to anyone whose idea of fashion includes adding color to a burlap bag. But then again, Suzy's idea of wearing huge fake flowers and baseball-sized pearls may or may not be an improvement. The target audience for this book is extremely limited and should be noted.
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