Published by Harper Design
Publication date: October 23rd 2012
“For me fashion is fun, and it’s supposed to help you feel good about yourself. I think that’s what all women should focus on: what makes them happy and feel comfortable and beautiful. I wear what I love. Sometimes people like it, sometimes they don’t. I’m fine with that.” -Michelle Obama
For anyone with an interest in fashion, this fall has proven to be disappointing, which makes Elyssa Dimant’s new book, The Style Mentors, that much more of a pleasant surprise. Why look to the designers for fashion advice when there are so many marvelous women out there with style to spare? And in an economy that is still only sputtering along, wouldn’t it be nice to find inspiration amongst other women and, in your own closet, rather than choosing from the tepid options in the stores right now?
The Style Mentors is broken into eight chapters defining specific style types such as Sirens, Mavericks, Gamines, and Minimalists. Each chapter discusses the style type, its genesis and background and then profiles the women who personify that style with over 85 women reviewed. Dimant goes into the detail of their lives, their relationship to fashion and how they came to define their own style. Also included in each chapter are “Must-Haves” and “Never-Evers”. For instance, an Icon never wears anything from last season and a Bohemian must have heaps of jewelry. Gamines must have ballet flats and Sirens never wear A-line dresses. Some of the women profiled are Minimalists Miuccia Prada, Donna Karan and Kelly Klein, all of whom have epitomized their fashion credo in their work; Classicists Carolina Herrera and the Duchess of Windsor; and Mavericks Diana Vreeland, Tilda Swinton and Daphne Guinness. To Dimant’s credit she includes women who are not fashionistas but who do have a very distinct style. It makes the book more compelling to see women like Ellen DeGeneres, Patti Smith, and Ali McGraw; women who by and large care little for clothes but know what they like and have stuck with it.
The Style Mentors has a wealth of background, interviews, and anecdotes and Dimant does a thorough job researching the history of each style and the women who embody it. The blend of glossy paper, informative text and beautiful photos is engaging although there are some instances where the formatting of the text can be confusing to follow from page to page. That aside, The Style Mentors entertains, educates and encourages women with ideas on defining their own style.