Book Review: StyleWord

StyleWord:  Fashion Quotes For Real Style, by Sharon Haver

[Note:  This book was provided free of charge by Books Go Social.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

It should go without saying that the ideal audience for this book, and indeed the author’s work in general as far as I can tell, is female.  As one might imagine, I am not a female, and so I review this book as an outsider with a slight interest in fashion [1] but with a great deal of sympathy for the struggles women face in this regard.  A reader coming into this book should not expect a great deal of depth, but rather should look at this book as a source for mantras as well as short and targeted information that could help with encouragement about some broad and general principles related to fashion.  There is a lot of repetition to be found here and this is a book that was not written with a great deal of overarching structure, although there are some definite patterns to be found and certain advice that is reasonably consistent, although there is also some advice that is somewhat in contradiction or tension as might be expected from such a potpourri as this book is.

Although this book is 160 pages, it is by no means as long or as challenging a read as even that modest length would indicate.  The author notes that she chose the quotes in the book from over a thousand posts and older articles that she had written before the days of her blog.  The quotes are themselves divided into several chapters with titles like:  Beauty Inside & Out, Style Motivation, Forever Chic, Fabulous Fit, Living In Your Elegance, Brand You, and Business Style & Success.  The author appears to be fond of the color black as well as neutral colors in general as a base, encourages women to dress age-appropriately but not in a dowdy fashion, and encourages casual elegance over fussiness.  Over and over again the author preaches that confidence is sexy and that one should be open to influence from trends that fit and flatter but not be a slave to trends or to mimic what looks good on other people.  This point is repeated often enough that one feels as if the author is almost hitting the reader over the head with the advisability of having a tailor and being alert to fashion but with the absolute need of taking responsibility and ownership of one’s sense of style.  If style is more important for women than men, this is certainly good advice for men as well.

Besides these obvious points, there are at least a few more serious matters that this book deals with.  The author, like many authors of subjects relating to women, seems to be under the assumption that her audience is strictly female.  Perhaps it is uncomfortable for a woman to write about subjects relating to women and to account for the reality of being under the male gaze, but the author does not even seem to assume that the reader will have her fashion sense scrutinized or appreciated by men.  It is unclear whether the author simply wishes to deal with the obvious interest of men in the clothing women wear by talking about sexiness without pointing out who it should be sexy to, or whether the author simply has no interest in discussing the role or place of men in women’s fashion at all, whether as the audience of it, or as arbiters of style, or as interpreters of what particular fashion choices might mean concerning the character or availability of a woman.  Rather, this book is written by a woman about women’s fashion and for women to encourage and instruct them, and if men are reading this book it is simply by accident, or sheer perverseness.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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