Nina Garcia’s Look Book: What to Wear for Every Occasion is one of four books written by Garcia, of which I have read just two. It is organized into chapters offering suggestions for what to wear on common occasions like job interviews, the first week at a new job, Christmas dinner, and so forth.
There are a lot of books similar to this one on the market, so I thought I’d share a few reasons I liked this one.
Nina Garcia writes very well. Good writing isn’t a given in this genre. Garcia is an exception. Her style is direct and engaging, and she doesn’t adopt the frivolous, chatty girlfriend tone that some writers seem to think is how women talk and what we want to read.
This is a book, not a “style manual” (i.e., a checklist for looking like everyone else). I don’t think getting dressed should be akin to using a formula to solve a chemistry problem, and I appreciate that this book doesn’t treat it that way. Garcia offers overall thoughts on what is appropriate for each occasion (more on that in a moment), some pitfalls to avoid, and descriptions of example outfits. The accompanying images are illustrations by Ruben Toledo.
The result is that you can actually read this book like a book—it has a message that merits the number of words on the page, and it doesn’t limit one’s creativity (or tempt the pocketbook) by showing real clothes, focusing a lot on brands, or breaking everything down to a formula or checklist. I think I would be more inclined to get creative with my own wardrobe after reading this, rather than go shopping for something new.
It focuses on what is appropriate, for you and for the occasion. As much as I like freedom in fashion, and breaking or bending outdated or silly rules, the idea of appropriate clothing as a matter of courtesy and consideration for others is really important to me. I also believe that Americans often resist the idea of “appropriate” clothing too much, because it feels too restrictive, and so we can’t find a good balance. Garcia gives each occasion its fair due without being stuff or overly conservative. Sometimes she goes on little side discussions of good manners, but since I’m in sympathy with her points, those don’t bother me!
There’s perfume! Yes, Nina Garcia might be a bit of a perfumista. She mentions fragrance options throughout the book. Very fun for me (and probably for you), but I bet that even people who are less fragrance-obsessed would enjoy this extra dimension to the discussion. And as with the clothing, she doesn’t mention fragrances by name, so it leaves one free to imagine any fragrance that would fit the mood.
It’s personal. The book reminds and demonstrates that the foundations of personal style are being yourself and knowing what suits you. Those are reassuring messages when faced with a nerve wracking situation like a job interview, and that’s one of the reasons I can see myself looking back at this book when I’m stumped about what to wear.
The bottom line: I definitely recommend this if you need a little inspiration or some guidance for a specific occasion.
I checked out Nina Garcia’s Look Book from my local library. As always, posts are not compensated or sponsored, and my opinions are honest and my own. Information on my review policies is on the Media & Disclosure page. The image above is courtesy Everyday Treats.