|Wear It Well / Allison Bornstein
San Francisco, CA: Chronicle, c2023.
After last week's great 80s wardrobe guide, I thought I'd try a brand new book on a similar theme. This one was from my library, so no risk! This was written by a young personal stylist, popular on Tiktok and other online locales. The book does feel a little like it is just a transcript of many videos, in a way. It's okay but nothing startling, especially if you've read anything else at all on the topic, or have looked into this kind of thing before. I imagine if you are a young person just starting out and addicted to fast fashion, it might be helpful.
The book is divided into various sections; from the first one, about closet edits and feeling good about your wardrobe, to "expressing your best self " (this section includes her famous 3 Word method), and on to building a wardrobe, dressing, and the effect of style. Each of them also comes with a focus on "wellness", in the very modern Instagram meaning of the word. A little vague, and I'm a little leery of the topic "shopping for wellness".
However, this book isn't about running out and getting a whole new wardrobe, rather it's about culling the wardrobe, styling the best pieces that are left, and coming to an understanding of one's style so that random unwanted pieces don't continue to be purchased. So far so good! But of course there is a section near the end on the "9 Universal Pieces" which I'm sure are meant to be found new. And like most Key Pieces, none of them applies to my style at all. Jeans, a white tee and a trench coat are not my jam. However, she does suggest a button-down (no specific colour) and blazers, so I'm with her there.
The most interesting part of this book for me was her 3 Word Method, which is apparently trademarked and was a viral hit on Tiktok. I wouldn't know. But what I do know is that this is a very, very similar method to many other stylists from the past, and to many wardrobe building processes found in the sewing world -- especially the Design Your Wardrobe process by Seamwork, which uses a three word process to drill down to your own style.
The particular strength of Bornstein's method lies in choosing three words with very specific parameters: the first is the Practical word (your regular style/outfits), the second is the Aspirational word, and the third is Emotional word (what you want to feel like in your clothes). Bornstein includes a word wheel on connected words to choose from to help a reader out, as well as lots and lots of examples. She's also made a youtube video on this process as part of her book promo.
Anyhow, I found this part the most interesting element of the book. Otherwise, this one didn't quite do it for me -- it would be much more relevant to the young and new to this world. There are some solid ideas about working your closet and determining your own style, and feeling good in your clothes. That's what I took from this one!