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How to Get Dressed: A Costume Designer's Secrets for Making Your Clothes Look, Fit, and Feel Amazing

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Costume designer Alison Freer’s styling kit is a magical bag of tricks, built to solve every single wardrobe malfunction on earth. TV and film productions wait for nothing, so her solutions have to work fast. In How to Get Dressed, Alison distills her secrets into a fun, comprehensive style guide focused on rethinking your wardrobe like a fashion expert and making what’s i Costume designer Alison Freer’s styling kit is a magical bag of tricks, built to solve every single wardrobe malfunction on earth. TV and film productions wait for nothing, so her solutions have to work fast. In How to Get Dressed, Alison distills her secrets into a fun, comprehensive style guide focused on rethinking your wardrobe like a fashion expert and making what’s in your closet work for you. She provides real-world advice about everything style-related, including:  • Making every garment you own fit better • Mastering closet organization • The undergarments you actually need • The scoop on tailors and which alterations are worth it • Shopping thrift and vintage like a rockstar Instead of repeating boring style “rules,” Alison breaks the rules and gets real about everything from bras to how to deal with inevitable fashion disasters. Including helpful information such as how to skip ironing and the dry cleaners, remove every stain under the sun, and help clueless men get their sartorial acts together, How to Get Dressed has hundreds of insider tips from Alison’s arsenal of tools and expertise.


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Costume designer Alison Freer’s styling kit is a magical bag of tricks, built to solve every single wardrobe malfunction on earth. TV and film productions wait for nothing, so her solutions have to work fast. In How to Get Dressed, Alison distills her secrets into a fun, comprehensive style guide focused on rethinking your wardrobe like a fashion expert and making what’s i Costume designer Alison Freer’s styling kit is a magical bag of tricks, built to solve every single wardrobe malfunction on earth. TV and film productions wait for nothing, so her solutions have to work fast. In How to Get Dressed, Alison distills her secrets into a fun, comprehensive style guide focused on rethinking your wardrobe like a fashion expert and making what’s in your closet work for you. She provides real-world advice about everything style-related, including:  • Making every garment you own fit better • Mastering closet organization • The undergarments you actually need • The scoop on tailors and which alterations are worth it • Shopping thrift and vintage like a rockstar Instead of repeating boring style “rules,” Alison breaks the rules and gets real about everything from bras to how to deal with inevitable fashion disasters. Including helpful information such as how to skip ironing and the dry cleaners, remove every stain under the sun, and help clueless men get their sartorial acts together, How to Get Dressed has hundreds of insider tips from Alison’s arsenal of tools and expertise.

30 review for How to Get Dressed: A Costume Designer's Secrets for Making Your Clothes Look, Fit, and Feel Amazing

  1. 5 out of 5

    Online Eccentric Librarian

    More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/ How To Get Dressed was a book I was sure I was going to love - and within the first few pages, I absolutely adored the author and her fresh, quirky voice. But while she is friendly and knowledgeable, the information provided is not very useable, there are precious few graphics to understand the concepts, and a lot isn't well thought out. As well, the tips sound great until you actually try to apply them in real life - More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/ How To Get Dressed was a book I was sure I was going to love - and within the first few pages, I absolutely adored the author and her fresh, quirky voice. But while she is friendly and knowledgeable, the information provided is not very useable, there are precious few graphics to understand the concepts, and a lot isn't well thought out. As well, the tips sound great until you actually try to apply them in real life - and then it becomes obvious that much more information was needed than given. With so many other parts ending up as pure fluffy needless filler, I got very little out of the book despite there being so much potential from a great source. The book breaks down as follows: 1 Movie Magic: Or Why Movie Stars Look Like Movie Stars; 2 Fit: The True Enemy of Great Style; 3 Alter Your Clothes, Alter Your Life; 4 Be Your Own Costume Designer; 5 Dumb Fashion Rules That Were Made For Breaking; 6 Wardrobe Tools To Keep Your Look Together; 7 Dressing For Success is Dead; 8 Closet Hacks: Store Your Clothes Like Wardrobe Girls do; 9 Underthings: You Really Only Need a Few; 10 Laundry: You're Doing It Wrong; 11 Shoe Care: For All Your Footwear; 12 Old Stuff: A Guide to Shopping Vintage and Thrift; 13 Dudes: This One's For you; Glossary; Fabric Care Glossary. The book is mostly tips - from taking the time to make sure your garments fit your body correctly to washing your clothes. It sounds like a lot of wonderful advice - but so much of it distilled into nothing. E.g., The whole chapter 2 and chapter 3 (explaining fit and altering terms such as darts, altering seams, fixing lined garments, etc.) pretty much had one answer: get a tailor. At the end of reading those chapters, I had to ask why I had to troll through what a dart was or taking in a seam under a lining when there was no instruction on how to do so - just telling me to take it to a tailor. That's 100 pages of nothing. The book became even more problematic when it came to specific advice later on. I was excited when I read about the versatility of moleskin - I can fix the problem of wire bras and the wire poking through! But when I read the tip, it said to fix the moleskin to the bra and that the heat of the body will 'fix' the adhesive to make it last longer. Ok, WHAT adhesive should I use? Elmer's? is there a fabric glue? Nowhere did she mention that for us newbies who don't know what moleskin is (and I had to read twice to wonder if moleskin is sold with an adhesive side from stores - because it seemed that way from the way it was written). It seems silly, I know, but so much of the advice is like that. It's not well thought out from the reader perspective and really could have used better proofing from actual novices before printing. The worst part of the book is that there are only a few illustrations - for a book on appearance! I almost laughed when I got to the section discussing the different styles of the decades - they are just short descriptive paragraphs. No one is going to be a savvy thrift store shoppper from that or any of the other descriptions - would it have been so difficult to do something as simple as silhouettes showing the different era styles? As well, the sections about the different type of dresses, skirts, bras, etc. do not have any graphics at all. We only have a few loose illustrations - that get reused over and over throughout the book. I'm not quite sure how useful Rayban type Glasses are for the discussions but you'll get to see them in the book often! So there's no real information about how to dress yourself for your particular body style. We are given anecdotes about how the teen daughter of a movie star had bra issues because of a large bosom - fixed by a minimizer bra. That's nice - not very helpful to anyone else. Before and after pictures would have made this book amazing - showing how the right clothing can make a person look more-put-together or unbconsciously slovenly. After all, we are all our worst judges when it comes to deciding how best to dress ourselves (why else would we buy this book?). Even better - how about tips on patterns and stripes (beyond a useless page full of text about how stripes are not a faux pas). Sadly, the book ended up being a fail for me on so many levels. The tips weren't all that usable, the clothing types and descriptions were both too much (fluff) yet not enough to be efficacious, the book had only a few illustrations (with the same 3-4 used over and over again to fill space), and the text just wasn't well thought out about what it wanted to be - and what it could do for readers without a fashion or sewing background. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Scottsdale Public Library

    If you’re someone who cares at all about his/her (but especially her) appearance, you will wonder where this book has been hiding your whole life. Amazingly helpful knowledge, hints and tips are shared by a professional costume designer. How to care for and store your clothes and shoes in brilliant, smart ways you never thought of so they’ll always look fresh, last longer and save you money…how to look automatically ten times better by making sure everything truly fits you head-to-toe…how to avo If you’re someone who cares at all about his/her (but especially her) appearance, you will wonder where this book has been hiding your whole life. Amazingly helpful knowledge, hints and tips are shared by a professional costume designer. How to care for and store your clothes and shoes in brilliant, smart ways you never thought of so they’ll always look fresh, last longer and save you money…how to look automatically ten times better by making sure everything truly fits you head-to-toe…how to avoid every conceivable wardrobe malfunction, how to hunt down great wardrobe finds, cultivate your own personal style while gleefully disregarding antiquated fashion “rules,” and MORE! -Kate D.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    ARC for review Since I was reading this for review, I read it straight through, but really this is a better book to read parts of, then to keep handy to use as necessary. This is also not the type of "Hints from Heloise" book that I usually read, so perhaps much of what Freer says is old hat if one does read a lot of similar books, but I learned a lot and found parts quite fascinating (the best solvent for blood stains? Saliva!). Freer is a big fan of having things tailored, and I'm not one to spe ARC for review Since I was reading this for review, I read it straight through, but really this is a better book to read parts of, then to keep handy to use as necessary. This is also not the type of "Hints from Heloise" book that I usually read, so perhaps much of what Freer says is old hat if one does read a lot of similar books, but I learned a lot and found parts quite fascinating (the best solvent for blood stains? Saliva!). Freer is a big fan of having things tailored, and I'm not one to spend that much money on alterations, but the sections about how to name your own style was lots of fun, and the sections on washing "Dry Clean Only" clothes at home, the instructions on how to best clean any type of fabric and the primer on stains were all things that I'll refer back to in the future. And I'm DEFINITELY going to buy some Topstick. Well-worth the read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    For a book like this to really work it needs lots and lots of images and examples. There were none. Some great tips but it's difficult to know how great they are when you can't see them. For a book like this to really work it needs lots and lots of images and examples. There were none. Some great tips but it's difficult to know how great they are when you can't see them.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    Alison Freer's writing is so much fun to read. It was like an instant best friend. An instant best friend telling me how to dress. I've only been fighting them off since middle school.(And don't get me started on the "let me cover you in make up "friends.") My only problem with the book is that I don't feel like she ever addressed women of my body type, that is the petite ruler type. She went on and on about curves and different types of waist lines, but never really got to those of us who are, m Alison Freer's writing is so much fun to read. It was like an instant best friend. An instant best friend telling me how to dress. I've only been fighting them off since middle school.(And don't get me started on the "let me cover you in make up "friends.") My only problem with the book is that I don't feel like she ever addressed women of my body type, that is the petite ruler type. She went on and on about curves and different types of waist lines, but never really got to those of us who are, more less, shapeless. Also I've never been a one style type of girl so I got a little confused with all the different types she mentioned. That's really just my lack of fashion knowledge, though. (Hence the "friends" trying to dress me.) But thanks to this book I have been inspired to try and define my style. Right mow I think I'm in a "Retro-Modern" thing but I'll let you know once I finalize it. That one thing aside, all the tips in this book are awesome and, as someone who is constantly altering her clothes, incredibly helpful. It's a beyond great reference book that I will definitely be buying first chance I get. And then most likely using it to death every time I need advice on something I recently got. Like the used things I receive that need adjusting... or cleaning. The chapter on stain removal itself is a godsend, every few stains I kept thinking "where were you a few month/weeks ago?!"(Nail polish on my favorite shirt + me going crazy looking for help online = a permanent blue smug on my favorite shirt.) There's probably a handful of things I won't be doing- I know, I know, I'll feel bad because I know it's wrong but old habits and all- but at least now I'll know how to do them.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    I received a digital ARC from Netgalley and the publishers in exchange for an honest review. How to Get Dressed is less of a style guide and more of a how-to guide on building and maintaining a wardrobe. The author offers useful tips on laundering, removing stains, making alterations, and choosing clothes that will look good and last. Because her emphasis is on styles that fit your body type rather than current trends, I think the book will appeal more to adults and young professionals than teen I received a digital ARC from Netgalley and the publishers in exchange for an honest review. How to Get Dressed is less of a style guide and more of a how-to guide on building and maintaining a wardrobe. The author offers useful tips on laundering, removing stains, making alterations, and choosing clothes that will look good and last. Because her emphasis is on styles that fit your body type rather than current trends, I think the book will appeal more to adults and young professionals than teens and students. As a librarian, I was pleased: the de-emphasis on trends, along with the choice to use illustrations rather than photographs, makes me feel that the book will age better and not look dated quite as quickly as many clothing and style guides do in the stacks. The casual, chatty tone may not stand the test of time quite as well, but I believe the vast majority of the book's content will stay relevant. As a person who wears clothes, however, I'm not sure how many of the tips and tricks I will put into regular use. Freer is a strong advocate of tailoring and altering clothes to fit, and while she provides compelling reasons, her arguments for affordability aren't quite as convincing. Still, if she becomes the voice in the back of my mind in the dressing room that, no matter how cheap, that outfit isn't really going to look good enough to buy, she's definitely served her purpose.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ella Star

    If your clothes don't fit you properly, you will never look amazing. I just wasn't really into this. Initially the idea of a fashion book written by a costume designer really intrigued me, but unfortunately, it just wasn't what I was looking for and didn't give me a whole lot of information. The tips for fixing stains and damage were intriguing, and it did leave me thinking about fit, which was probably the main takeaway from this book. I wouldn't recommend this book. Instead I would recommend p If your clothes don't fit you properly, you will never look amazing. I just wasn't really into this. Initially the idea of a fashion book written by a costume designer really intrigued me, but unfortunately, it just wasn't what I was looking for and didn't give me a whole lot of information. The tips for fixing stains and damage were intriguing, and it did leave me thinking about fit, which was probably the main takeaway from this book. I wouldn't recommend this book. Instead I would recommend picking up another fashion book, like The One Hundred by Nina Garcia.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Yaaresse

    More like 2.5 stars, but can't do that here. Rounding up. I notice most of the high ratings come from people who got the book for free in exchange for review, so my standard advice stands: if you actually pay money for your books, maybe check this one out of the library first to make sure you want to spend the $$$. The parts about the author's day job (working on TV shows) is entertaining, and the part of the book that made me stick with it. The parts about clothing are not that well organized o More like 2.5 stars, but can't do that here. Rounding up. I notice most of the high ratings come from people who got the book for free in exchange for review, so my standard advice stands: if you actually pay money for your books, maybe check this one out of the library first to make sure you want to spend the $$$. The parts about the author's day job (working on TV shows) is entertaining, and the part of the book that made me stick with it. The parts about clothing are not that well organized or thorough. She says X looks good on someone with a long torso, for instance, but doesn't say what style of that same garment might look good on other body types or, most importantly, why X style works with Y body type so the design rule. Or, if she does, it's in a whole other chapter stuck into the middle of a whole other topic. The chapter on bras is helpful. There are some tips about removing stains or quick ways to fake a repair in an emergency that are marginally useful, but only if you find yourself in those situations a lot. (I'd have been a lot more interested in how to get salad dressing or olive out out of something than lipstick, but she travels in Hollywood where lipstick is all that touches some actresses mouths, and I actually cook/eat.) But, yeah, basically I read it for the behind-the scenes on set parts.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Emma Criswell

    There truly is no “there” there in this book. I was excited by the premise, but each chapter is distilled down to so little information that it’s not even helpful to the reader. Chapters that sounds so full of promise are really nothing but a glossary and a few other notes that don’t even explain anything. The most disappointing part was that there is no specific advice for body types. Apparently high rise jeans are good for long torsos, but there is no explanation for what other rises fit peopl There truly is no “there” there in this book. I was excited by the premise, but each chapter is distilled down to so little information that it’s not even helpful to the reader. Chapters that sounds so full of promise are really nothing but a glossary and a few other notes that don’t even explain anything. The most disappointing part was that there is no specific advice for body types. Apparently high rise jeans are good for long torsos, but there is no explanation for what other rises fit people with different sized torsos best. Just annoying, I’m disappointed I paid for this.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Terry

    Honestly, I didn't know that laundry, alterations, stain removal, and proper fit could be so compelling. I'm not kidding. Part of what makes it so interesting is Freer's job. She's a costume designer for TV shows and movies. She works with a team of people to keep everyone on the TV show properly dressed according to the script, and it's a fascinating peek into a new world. And hey, I'm actually motivated to clean out my closet and take better care of my clothes. Winning! Honestly, I didn't know that laundry, alterations, stain removal, and proper fit could be so compelling. I'm not kidding. Part of what makes it so interesting is Freer's job. She's a costume designer for TV shows and movies. She works with a team of people to keep everyone on the TV show properly dressed according to the script, and it's a fascinating peek into a new world. And hey, I'm actually motivated to clean out my closet and take better care of my clothes. Winning!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Danielle McGrath

    If you're looking for a fashion guide or help creating a wardrobe from scratch, this probably isn't a great book for you. But if you you're looking to increase your knowledge on how to make the most out of the things in your closet, this book will be a great help. I had a lot of fun reading this book and overall, I thought it was really helpful. There is a ton of advice on how to buy the right clothes and how to take care of the clothes you have. I've already made some adjustments in how I store If you're looking for a fashion guide or help creating a wardrobe from scratch, this probably isn't a great book for you. But if you you're looking to increase your knowledge on how to make the most out of the things in your closet, this book will be a great help. I had a lot of fun reading this book and overall, I thought it was really helpful. There is a ton of advice on how to buy the right clothes and how to take care of the clothes you have. I've already made some adjustments in how I store and care for my shoes (hint: pool noodle) and I've made a list of other small purchases to help my existing clothes better fit my needs. This book not only proves that you don't need to spend tons of money to look great, but it gives you the tips and tools to make it happen.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    If you liked Overdressed, this book is a good complement to it for taking care of the clothes you own, how to tell quality, how fitted clothes make you look better, and so on. And a lot of little tips and tricks for getting out stains and organizing your closet. LOVED IT.

  13. 4 out of 5

    MayberryAfterMidnight

    Awarding 4 stars instead of 3 because it changed my outlook on clothes and inspired me to be ruthless in cleaning out my closet.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    A friend loaned this to me to read, hopefully because she knows I'm interested in fashion and not because she thinks I need help with my style. I do get a lot of compliments on my personal style, but the actual descriptions of it include "cyberpunk elf," "Metal Gear Solid boss," and "dystopian future assassin," which is pretty far from the purview of this book. That wasn't the main barrier, though--the main reason How to Get Dressed was less useful for me than it might otherwise be is that it wa A friend loaned this to me to read, hopefully because she knows I'm interested in fashion and not because she thinks I need help with my style. I do get a lot of compliments on my personal style, but the actual descriptions of it include "cyberpunk elf," "Metal Gear Solid boss," and "dystopian future assassin," which is pretty far from the purview of this book. That wasn't the main barrier, though--the main reason How to Get Dressed was less useful for me than it might otherwise be is that it wasn't for me. Freer frequently talks about her job dressing actors and mentions male and female styles not quite equally, but with only a small bias toward female clothing. But then the actual book is like a department store, where almost all of the clothing is women's clothing and there's a small section in the back for men, and most of that is suits. There's a line in the one (1) chapter in the book devoted to men's fashion that reads:"While the person I care most about helping with this book is you, the fact remains that you are eventually going to be faced with having to assist at least one of the dudes in your life with getting his sartorial act together"...which makes it pretty obvious who this book is targeted toward. I'm never going to need advice about how to make sure a button-down shirt can close over my boobs, or how to prevent a skirt from twisting around my waist as I'm wearing it. That said, there's still advice in here that can apply to everyone. I wear a lot of designer clothes (Demobaza, Thom Krom, First Aid to the Injured, and Zolnar are designers, even if they're not what people usually think of as designer clothing), so I filed away the info about dry-cleaning at home and proper washing for later--my clothes have held up pretty well so far, but there's no reason not to be more careful. There's a kit of home-made stain removal gear like baby powder, a blunt kitchen knife (for removing blood), white vinegar, or an eyedropper, all of which I have and could assemble into a stain kit to put in my satchel. The chapter about how the absolute most important aspect of any item of clothing is the fit is right in the front, and it reminded me of how true it is because it's almost impossible for me to find clothing--I'm 6'5" but I wear 30/36 pants, so I have a smaller torso (size S shirts) but very long limbs. As such, shirts often have sleeves too short, and most places won't even sell pants in 36" length at all, much less with a 30" waist. Unfortunately, Freer's advice for what to do about short sleeves or legs is "buy new clothes," but at least it's confirmation of what I already knew and an explanation of why some of my clothes don't fit as well as I might like (including the sweater I'm wearing right now. Sigh). Some advice I had never heard before, and now am thinking about, is putting newspaper in shoes to help dry them out--vital over this last year in Chicago, which has been incredibly wet--and about the importance of giving shoes time to relax after wearing them a couple days so that they don't wear out too quickly. And also that salt is the bane of shoes, which you'd think I would have realized before now what with living in Chicago. I did like the stories that Freer told about the various mishaps she ran into when dressing actors and some of their own clothing, so I'm glad I read this book, but if you wear men's clothing, and especially if you wear men's clothing that's not suits, there won't be much advice here for you. You can always use it for the chicks in your life who need to get their sartorial act together.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Clark

    How do celebrities look so dang good all the time? Alison Freer is a costume designer (an accidental one at that with a funny story of how her career began). She reveals all the tricks of tailoring and thrift shopping and caring for and cleaning clothes and shoes. The main takeaways are these: 1) buy clothes that fit well and have them tailored to perfection. 2) take good care of your clothes 3) have a series of strategies and tools for quick fixes when things go wrong. The book disappoint some How do celebrities look so dang good all the time? Alison Freer is a costume designer (an accidental one at that with a funny story of how her career began). She reveals all the tricks of tailoring and thrift shopping and caring for and cleaning clothes and shoes. The main takeaways are these: 1) buy clothes that fit well and have them tailored to perfection. 2) take good care of your clothes 3) have a series of strategies and tools for quick fixes when things go wrong. The book disappoint some because there isn’t detailed advice for specific body types, nor are their helpful illustrations. I liken this to Marie Kondo’s first book: this gives you foundational principles, and then you tailor the message to suit your life. I really enjoyed the author’s down-to-earth and humorous tone, and really think so many of the tips about clothing cut, care, and maintenance were incredibly helpful and concise.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alison

    I skimmed through this as a lot of it wasn’t new to me (perils of reading broadly sometimes), but I thought it was a really good reference. Lots of great tips on fit, tailoring, and fabric (and shoe) care, plus entire sections on menswear and stain removal.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    Lots of good tips. My favorite part was the behind-the-scenes glimpse the author provided of her work as a costume designer/dresser for actors.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Hawley

    Great resource with some practical tips and specifics. I now have black safety pins bc of this book. 😹

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    If you are a total noob like me when it comes to fashion and taking care of your clothes then I totally recommend this book. Its a good one time read to get some actual fashion sense and tips.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra Yargeau

    This is an amazing resource. There is so much information about clothing and dressing yourself, that I took notes to keep on some parts!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Danielle Katz

    A light and fun read. Offers very solid advice about fit over fashion.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Hughes

    This book has a lot of great little tidbits of wisdom from a costume designer. Alison Freer writes in a fun girl-to-girl voice, never talking down to the reader. There are chapters on everything from creating your own style to doing laundry right to tailoring to getting out stains, so instead of reading it front to back (as I did), I suggest flipping through to the topics that interest you and skimming the others so you know where to refer later when you need the info (like a stain that you can' This book has a lot of great little tidbits of wisdom from a costume designer. Alison Freer writes in a fun girl-to-girl voice, never talking down to the reader. There are chapters on everything from creating your own style to doing laundry right to tailoring to getting out stains, so instead of reading it front to back (as I did), I suggest flipping through to the topics that interest you and skimming the others so you know where to refer later when you need the info (like a stain that you can't get out). There were a couple of really good topics that stood out to me. One is that clothes off the rack are just not custom enough to look good on everyone. Freer says that she has not once put an actor in front of the camera without making some kind of adjustment to his/her clothes. Movie stars always look so well-dressed because their clothes have been tailored to perfectly fit them! I have always thought of tailoring as a luxury, but I can see the wisdom of buying fewer things of better quality and paying a little for tailoring to make them truly mine (or doing it myself, which she also explains in detail how to do). The other message that really resonated with me was the idea of creating a character sketch for myself in order to create my signature look. Have you ever seen someone from behind and known immediately who it was because you could identify her from her signature look? A costume designer has to come up with that, determining a lot of things about a character just from the script--not just what the characters dress like but even their backstory, like what they do in their free time, where they shop, who they hang out with, what makes them tick. For many years I kind of threw fashion to the wind and just did whatever I felt like, usually wearing something kind of quirky and my own, without really mentally defining what my style was. As I get older I've found that that philosophy (or lack of) has left me a bit adrift in knowing how I should dress--or really, how I want to present myself--leaving me with a closet of clothes from vintage dresses to Wal-Mart maxi skirts to trendy jeans to ugly/comfy "mom pants." Thinking through a character sketch of myself was a great exercise that's given me a lot to think about--defining myself even beyond how I want to dress or do my makeup or hair. Freer suggests coming up with a short name for your style so that every time you go shopping you can know immediately if you should buy something or put it back because you have solidified your signature style (or even styles, if you have different looks for different places). Do you want to know my style? If you've read this far, I know you do. Well, dear reader, I'll tell you. I can't decide between two names that mean close to the same thing to me: -Modern midcentury mama (feminine and classic with a vintage '50s/'60s vibe, like Grace Kelly and Mary Tyler Moore as Laura Petrie) (I think this is my favorite name of the two) -Cockeyed Camelot (timeless and polished, like Jackie Kennedy, with a hint of quirkiness and personality) It took me quite a while (and some time with the thesaurus) to condense my ideas into these very defined and concise names! I'm really glad I did it, though. It's also helped to create a collage of looks and ideas on Pinterest that help me visualize and solidify my new--or enhanced, anyway!--groove. If you come up with a name for your style, share it in the comments! And local friends: if you want to borrow my book and even just read the chapter on creating your signature style, I'm happy to loan it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sue Smith

    I picked up this book because this year one of my goals in 2016 is to become better dressed. Or dress better. I should elaborate here. I work in a small shop. Not a retail shop. A mechanic shop. I don't pull wrenches, I do the front end work - interacting with the customers, doing paperwork, etc,etc. So my work attire is pretty casual. It's essentially a constantly dirty environment and I've wrecked more clothes accidentally than you can imagine. So, since I only have to interact with people fro I picked up this book because this year one of my goals in 2016 is to become better dressed. Or dress better. I should elaborate here. I work in a small shop. Not a retail shop. A mechanic shop. I don't pull wrenches, I do the front end work - interacting with the customers, doing paperwork, etc,etc. So my work attire is pretty casual. It's essentially a constantly dirty environment and I've wrecked more clothes accidentally than you can imagine. So, since I only have to interact with people from behind the counter, I always joke that I look good from the waist up. My visible top half looks pretty good! But the attire below is jeans and work boots in the fall, winter and spring and jeans and birkenstocks in the summer. And that is when I discovered - recently -that there is a gaping hole in my wardrobe. I have evening-gala party wear and I have work casual wear. Period. I have nothing for a fun night out or a casual party night. (shows you how pathetic my fun nights are). Anyways, I've discovered that I don't have nice casual clothes. At all. And to top it off, I really, really, really, REALLY dislike shopping. It's a dilemma and one I've decided to take on. Hence my reading this book. Now, this book didn't tell me that. ( I know, I know - duh). But it has some really super suggestions on how to figure out how to figure out your style and ultimately how to go about starting. Alison Freer debunks a whole bunch of age-old dressing rules and gives you the freedom to figure it out and then give very sound advice and suggestions on keeping your clothes clean and proper so that they will last. There's even a chapter for men! (If you're so inclined to help along your male counterpart) and there is endless information in glossaries and in specific chapters on how to fit a bra properly and what all the cup sizes mean. The book has endless information and is well worth having a copy on your shelf. My favorite section was becoming your own costume designer. Ultimately it's all about figuring out your signature style by identifying keywords that sum you up as a person. So later today, I'm sitting down with a paper and pen and I'm doing a self analysis - the things I like, my favorite colour(s), what do I gravitate to .... all the things that draw me in, whether it's books or art or decoration. Once I've got a handle on it, I'm hoping I'll enjoy the shopping experience more. I want to take this from half-assed shop glam to .... well ... the skies the limits! Lets see ........ bohemian princess? No, no. Hmmmmm ....... gypsy glam? No, no ... ...no. Uhhhhhh ...........classic bohemian? Maybe. This is going to be harder than it looks!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Susanna Boney

    i am loving this book so much!!! I bought it this morning expecting to eventually get around to reading it, BUT I CAN'T PUT IT DOWN! The author is so funny and identifiable, that she even makes me want to change out of my sweatpants. I am absolutely the last person on earth who has any interest in fashion and find whatever someone else is wearing to be none of my concern, but this book makes me want to stuff my IDAGF about clothes attitude and go accessory shopping for bangles. I have always tho i am loving this book so much!!! I bought it this morning expecting to eventually get around to reading it, BUT I CAN'T PUT IT DOWN! The author is so funny and identifiable, that she even makes me want to change out of my sweatpants. I am absolutely the last person on earth who has any interest in fashion and find whatever someone else is wearing to be none of my concern, but this book makes me want to stuff my IDAGF about clothes attitude and go accessory shopping for bangles. I have always thought of clothes as boring and something that we HAVE to wear because society deems it necessary, so i did not think that How To Get Dressed was going to be for me, but I was so wrong! This book is great- it should be read more as an Urban Survival Guide than a Fashion How to, because of great advice like how to fix a zipper that breaks on you while you're out and about, and the brand new, revolutionary blood stain remover: spit! I really wish I had this book when I was figuring out how to dress myself 10 years ago. My mother and aunts were always conservative in their garb and attitude towards fashion, and I always had uniformed jobs and schooling, so the idea of dressing myself to look GOOD was a foreign concept. If only I had a time machine, I would go back and visit myself the day before my first job interview post-college and give past-me this book. And I'd say: Hey...That too tight pantsuit covered in cat hair, with the faded red camisole stained under the armpits with deodorant & sweat, and that barely exposed push up bra, MIGHT not be the best thing for this medical receptionist job interview. Read this, and try again.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tammy G

    "How To Get Dressed" is an immensely fun read and an immediate confidence booster. It offers fixes for style problems I always attributed to my non-traditionally-shaped body. Turns out it's not my body's fault -- it was my misconception of how to determine clothing fit for my own body. The book is non-judgmental, funny, real, and packed with real-life tales of what it's like to work in the seat-of-your-pants, decidedly unglam world of TV wardrobe. She answers questions you didn't realize you didn "How To Get Dressed" is an immensely fun read and an immediate confidence booster. It offers fixes for style problems I always attributed to my non-traditionally-shaped body. Turns out it's not my body's fault -- it was my misconception of how to determine clothing fit for my own body. The book is non-judgmental, funny, real, and packed with real-life tales of what it's like to work in the seat-of-your-pants, decidedly unglam world of TV wardrobe. She answers questions you didn't realize you didn't know the answers to. She defines types of fit and the inherent problems with certain materials and styles. Instead of saying "YOU can't wear that" like snarky stylists might tell you, she offers actual solutions and real-world fashion fixes for all that ails you. Throw fashion rules out the window. Don't fear the tailor. How to be your own costume stylist (define your own signature look). And know when alterations just aren't worth it. And SO many quick-and-dirty fixes for wardrobe malfunctions on the go. Undiluted vodka spritz to deodorize leather shoes? Did you know about that? I sure didn't. Tons of fashion-hacks for cleaning and maintenance, tools to carry around with you "just in case" -- invaluable stuff and great to keep nearby for quick reference. Even if you're not an aspiring stylist, there’s enough behind-the-scenes tales and bits of bona-fide history to keep you enthralled. You'll get at least a few absolutely life-altering, "why-didn't-I-think-of-that?" tips from this book, no matter what your personal style or tax bracket. She's done the legwork for you.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kes

    I loved the author's narrative / way of writing, but it's a book hampered by the lack of illustrations. She goes into a quick description of different clothes, including skirts and bra types - but there's no picture? I might as well google what they look like. Topics like how clothes fit could also have been a lot easier to read if illustrations / photographs were provided. Unfortunately, there weren't many photographs. The good points were about her clothing tips - the use of adhesive tape to ke I loved the author's narrative / way of writing, but it's a book hampered by the lack of illustrations. She goes into a quick description of different clothes, including skirts and bra types - but there's no picture? I might as well google what they look like. Topics like how clothes fit could also have been a lot easier to read if illustrations / photographs were provided. Unfortunately, there weren't many photographs. The good points were about her clothing tips - the use of adhesive tape to keep clothes sticking to you / preventing skirt rotation as well as suggestions on using darts to make clothes fit better. But then we go back to the issue: she suggests using darts. How do you dart clothing? Where on the shirt should you dart? That's not covered. The book doesn't really go into the mechanics of getting dressed, and that's a big flaw. I did like the section on how to remove stains, but it ended up feeling rather peremptory. There's a short chapter on how to dress a guy (women dressing as a guy isn't something considered) but without photographs on the difference between lapels, or an instruction on what a Windsor knot is, how is this book any use? At best, it's a primer on getting dressed. Ultimately, 2 stars - this was ok but could have been helped by being (a) a little bit more in depth on the tips / tricks she mentions and (b) illustrations.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jenelle

    I've been looking for a book like this for years! How do some people always look so put together, making looking good appear effortless, while others try their hardest and can't manage to get past awkward and frumpy? Belonging to the second group, I've always wanted to know what the secret was-- is it an innate sense? is there a scientific formula? do you have to be obsessed with fashion, buy only the most expensive clothes, and have a stylist at your disposal? That's one way. The other is way i I've been looking for a book like this for years! How do some people always look so put together, making looking good appear effortless, while others try their hardest and can't manage to get past awkward and frumpy? Belonging to the second group, I've always wanted to know what the secret was-- is it an innate sense? is there a scientific formula? do you have to be obsessed with fashion, buy only the most expensive clothes, and have a stylist at your disposal? That's one way. The other is way is what this book is about: the simple tricks, easy tips, and manageable guidelines that streamline looking good into more than just random chance. Truly, it's nothing you probably haven't heard, but what makes this particular book work is the backdrop she sets it against- her rise as a Hollywood costume designer. From the start it is engaging and entertaining, mixing her gutsy career gambles with lots of on-the-job disasters, and the back stage workings of major productions with a side of celebrities that is rarely seen. I got so caught up in it, I read half-way through in one sitting! And if that isn't recommendation for a non-fiction book, then I don't know what is.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alexandria Blaelock

    This is an excellent resource, principally for taking care of your clothes and shoes. There's a short chapter about developing your signature stype, interestingly from the point of view of developing a character wardrobe that explains everything a viewer needs to know. Some will be disappointed that the book doesn't deal with specific body types or shapes. That's because as far as Freer is concerned, these issues are "corrected" by alterations to ensure good proportional fit, not tricks or disguis This is an excellent resource, principally for taking care of your clothes and shoes. There's a short chapter about developing your signature stype, interestingly from the point of view of developing a character wardrobe that explains everything a viewer needs to know. Some will be disappointed that the book doesn't deal with specific body types or shapes. That's because as far as Freer is concerned, these issues are "corrected" by alterations to ensure good proportional fit, not tricks or disguises - here here! If you don't want your clothes to look good or live a long and useful life, you won't find much to like in this book. But if you want to develop a more sustainable wardrobe, this is an excellent place to start.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    Bought this intending to keep it on my shelf as a reference, but I ended up reading it cover-to-cover. I love Allison's internet writing, and I wish her publisher had done her the service of laying her book out with accompanying graphics, photos, or anything other than blocks on blocks of text (to the dullest of dull effect). Some TLC from a graphic designer could have really made the writing shine. (I also secretly wished for some insider costume-design name dropping, but that's just because I' Bought this intending to keep it on my shelf as a reference, but I ended up reading it cover-to-cover. I love Allison's internet writing, and I wish her publisher had done her the service of laying her book out with accompanying graphics, photos, or anything other than blocks on blocks of text (to the dullest of dull effect). Some TLC from a graphic designer could have really made the writing shine. (I also secretly wished for some insider costume-design name dropping, but that's just because I'm a nosy shrew). I learned a lot from this book and I hope it gets a new, more thoughtfully illustrated edition sometime.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Arianna M

    This book completely breaks my rating system. On one hand, it did take me several months and renewing the book to even get through it. On the other hand, it is kind of a helpful guide and gleaning information is a different kind of reading. I really enjoy the author's voice and I think some of the helpful hints she gives is really interesting, but I need to bemoan the utter lack of illustrative images. I do love the body positivity and the idea that anyone of any body type can be fashionable! The This book completely breaks my rating system. On one hand, it did take me several months and renewing the book to even get through it. On the other hand, it is kind of a helpful guide and gleaning information is a different kind of reading. I really enjoy the author's voice and I think some of the helpful hints she gives is really interesting, but I need to bemoan the utter lack of illustrative images. I do love the body positivity and the idea that anyone of any body type can be fashionable! The bra chapter was especially helpful. A pretty decent primer, if nothing else. A good jumping off point into stress free consideration of a well dressed life.

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