Book Review: LOVE X STYLE X LIFE by Garance Doré
A great book to learn about Garance Doré. This is more of an autobiography, than a style book. It’s somewhat personal. She talks about her life and describes philosophies that have worked for. You will learn more about Garance than you will about style.
It’s interesting reading about her. I had heard of her around 2008 / 2009, when she started dating Scott Schuman, creator of The Sartorialist fashion photography blog. I honestly never was a reader of her blog, and didn’t know much about her until I read this book. Noted by other reviewers of this bok, if you have been an avid reader of her blog, a lot of the information in this book has been previously written in the blog. So you might not find a lot of new information.
This book is made up of a lot of personal experiences and life lessons, which makes sense, as that style is synonymous with blog writing, which is her area of expertise.
Some things I liked about the book:
SHE WAS A TOMBOY
and tends to dress in a gender-neutral style, like me. There is even a section on how to wear a tuxedo, for women.
She loosely defines what a tuxedo is, and advocates wearing it in lieu of a gown. I thought this was creative, and definitely a look that is not usually brought up in women’s style books. She explains that even ‘Black Tie’ events these days have attendants with very loose interpretations of the dress code.
“So if you want to look too cool for the party, while still being polite to your hosts, the tux is your best friend.”
I like this concept, and it inspires me to start my search for a well-fitting suit. I’ve always been drawn toward suiting and tailoring on women, and for myself. It’s sharp and powerful.
EMMANUELLE ALT'S IDEA OF FEMININITY.
Garance says to Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Paris, Emmanuelle Alt:
“You don’t really wear evening gowns. And I’m similar - I don’t like dresses either.”
“For me, femininity is in no way tied to wearing a dress or a skirt. I think you can be incredibly feminine in pants.”
I love this quote, because, even though I’ve gone through phases of wearing skirts and dresses, I have always preferred pants. I feel most myself in pants.
Emmanuelle, thank you for confirming what I already knew. Femininity isn't reliant on the article of clothing that you wear.
Femininity is a feeling that can be channeled from anything. It's personal.
And if you don't want to feel feminine, that works too. These days, gender expectations are meant to be broken. Do it.
ON SHORT HAIR.
“Well, after years of studying photos of Andie MacDowell and trying to rock the curl, I’ve realized that when I set my hair free, it takes over.
My features get eaten up by the volume, and, also, hair gets in my face. It tickles my skin like a bad mohair sweater, and as a result it always ends up in a bun.”
“Going short is a pretty cathartic experience. I hadn’t really thought about it, but I found myself close to tears.”
I had a really similar experience to hers when I cut my hair from long to short 1.5 years ago. I was nervous, and had a mini panic attach during the cut. I captured some of the experience on video, but for most of it, my nerves were much calmer when I didn’t watch.
It’s a high risk, high reward situation.
It drastically changed my style.
Before I got it cut, I knew I would need to improve my earring situation since my ears would be more exposed than ever, and I don’t always wear makeup. So I knew I would want to utilize my gauges and piercings to add to my short hair.
Something I didn’t realize would happen. Short hair made me a little more daring with my style. I could dress in more form-fitting, and sexier clothes. The sharpness of short hair is a great contrast to the soft curves of the female form.
In a way, short hair liberated my style.
I do follow a few rules I set for myself.
I don’t go out without styling my hair. Something I did regularly with long hair. My short hair needs more guidance and structure. It’s absolutely crazy when not styled.
I wear earrings. This allows me to feel balanced and put together without having to wear makeup every day.
Garance and I both set rules to follow with short hair, but the rules we follow are different:
In the book she says: “I did have to change a few things in the way I dress (that’s called a shopping opportunity), and I cannot go out without makeup (that’s called politeness).”
I was unknowingly admitted into the women’s short hair club. You start noticing other women’s short hair, and they notice yours. Sometimes you give each other a smile or nod of respect, to acknowledge that your’e both members of the women’s short hair club.
Seriously, it changed my whole world. It changed how people perceived me, and how I viewed myself.
Before the cut, my hair defined a big portion of my appearance. Just like Garance, my long hair is thick and unruly. Now, my facial features, neck and body shape take more of the focus, and it has been a wonderful change.
ON STYLE ESSENTIALS.
Like most style books, she does have a chapter on style essentials. There seems to be a similar list in almost every style book. I've seen so many of these lists, I usually skim over these, and don't pay much mind to them. Garance's consists of items like:
The Pencil Skirt
The White Jeans
The Biker Jacket
Etc. The list goes on.
Garance compares New York to Paris, and there’s a section called Things New Yorkers Do.
My initial thought was: 'Watch where you step. You might upset New Yorkers, including me.'
I find these sections a little weird. It’s tough making generalizations about whole communities of people. As I read through it, I tried to remember this is one person’s point of view, and definitely doesn’t apply to all New Yorkers. And nothing was terribly offensive, so good job Garance.
THINGS I COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT.
She writes a good bit about her personal insecurities and her love life. Two subjects that are probably highly relatable to some readers. These were two subjects I wasn’t terribly interested in reading about.
This book would appeal to a younger audience, maybe late teens through twenties.. Especially when she talks about love, and her insecurities.
I was expecting this book to be centered on style, and therefore was slightly disappointed in the subject matter. Perhaps a better title would have been Love X Life X Style, in the order that I felt each subject was represented.
“Style is a fascinating way to tune in to who we are, understand who we are not, be creative, and express our inner selves.”
“Most people don’t like to be blinded by a crazy fashion item - you are the one who needs to shine.”
“Knowing your style goes a long way. It gives you the power to communicate without saying a word…”
“Knowing yourself is knowing the distance between your dream self and your real self.”
AN UNCONVENTIONAL APPROACH TO FASHION.
I like that this book shows an unconventional approach to getting involved in the fashion industry.
One question I get all the time is, How do I get into fashion later in life, or as a second career?
This is a great example of someone who didn’t intentionally go into fashion, and even did so later in life, at a slightly older age. She studied communications in school. She didn’t study fashion. And her first job was in the cinema department of a museum, again, not in fashion. Her first stint in fashion was as an illustrator. She started blogging in 2006, at around 31 years old.
So if there is one thing you take away from this book, it should be this. There are many ways to approach the fashion industry, and here is one creative way to inspire you to start your fashion journey.
As Scott Schuman once said to Garance: “You have to create your own definition of success.”
Comment below and tell me how you got involved in the fashion industry, or how you plan on getting involved in the fashion industry. Extra points for unconventional journeys!
Get the book, Kindle, or mobile version at Amazon. Or check with your local library to check out a copy.
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All opinions in this article are solely my own.