Monday, 24 December 2012

Who Do You Want To Be Today?: A Review

When I was first starting to explore the world outside of Goth fashion, it's fairly safe to say I was a little confused. I felt like I didn't know who I was; my identity had been wrapped up in fashion and blogging for so long that I didn't know how to figure out what I liked. The upshot of this was that I ended up buying a whole bunch of those really cheesy style guides from such luminaries as Gok Wan (yes, yes I went there).

From most of these I learned very little, other than that your average style guru's idea of unique and quirky was very different than my idea of unique and quirky, and that the supposedly classic and stylish things I 'should' be wearing were not at all what I was interested in. Nevertheless I persevered, and continued to flick through the most appallingly boring celebrity style guides whenever I came across them.

I did, eventually, find one style guide that I thoroughly enjoyed, which remains on my bookshelf to this day. I like to flick through it for inspiration when I don't have any ideas for what I'd like to wear, and whilst it's definitely best taken with a pinch of salt, I really like that unlike others of its ilk, it actually encourages readers to break the mould and try something new, fun, and different.

Believe it or not, this book is by Trinny and Susannah. I had flicked through some of their incredibly tedious passages in their other books on colour coordination and dressing for your shape and decided that they were taking all the fun out of building a wardrobe and getting dressed in the morning. (Not that colour coordination or dressing for your shape is a bad thing in itself. I just don't need four books on how to do so, thanks.) And, What Not To Wear? Don't tell me what to wear, bitches, I am capable of deciding that for myself (and if sometimes it's a disaster, at least it's my disaster).

I picked up the book because of its title and tagline: Who Do You Want To Be Today? (Be Inspired To Dress Differently). Whilst generally I want to be myself today, I liked the tagline, and the essence of this book is literally that - it presents a variety of looks and styles, with a description, moodboard, examples and a how-to for each, ranging from the Audrey Hepburn-esque Gamine to the Isabella Blow-inspired Avante-Garde Eccentric (also including Diva, Rock Chick, Androgyne, Sophisticate and many more).
Source: Google
Personally I fell in love with the description of a Boho girl - 'those carefree girls with the wind in their hair and daisies between their toes. They don't stick to decaf coffee. They don't worry about matching their shoes to their handbag... they just go where the music takes them. A boho chick [...] mixes her clothes into a delicious concoction of alter egos, eras and styles. Her socks and earrings will be odd and she will have reminders written all over her hand. A boho's life is one big Glastonbury... music, mud and freedom.' - with a dash of Avante-Garde Eccentric - 'a little madness is required, backed up by a fierce individualism that wages war against a congealed high street' - and perhaps a sprinkle of Diva for date nights and special occasions.

It's not a serious book or a lifestyle guide (in fact some of the outfits featured border on fancy dress), but it is a bit of fun and it certainly helped to bump-start me out of a creative rut. I would recommend it to those looking to feel a bit less 'samey' or who are as confused as I was; I like to have a signature look rather than change my style from day to day, but it helped me pinpoint what sort of styles I was drawn to and what felt like 'me', which of course is the first step in creating a wardrobe.

What books help you feel inspired?


  1. Urgh, I hate What Not To Wear. They embarrass those poor people and then mold them into outfits that are "acceptable." There are some style blunders out there that are very...unfortunate, but come on! Everyone should make mistakes and have fun with their clothes. Otherwise, what's the point?

  2. I don't think I've actually read one of these books, although I've picked up a few on occasion and flipped throiugh them. I just follow my instincts, and go from there. I will, however, read a fashion magazine, just to see what the latest "trends" are. Of course, even then, I don't follow them 100%; I just use those as a guide to let me know what may be available in the mainstream shops.

    I, too, prefer a more "Boho" style, and would actually "label" my style as "Boho-goth". Whenever the Boho-chic trend rears its head, I find myself doing the most shopping (this seems to happen every few Seasons). This isn't something I do on a conscious level, rather it's just what grabs my attention.

    I also make sure I keep the "basics" in my wardrobe at all times, just in case I come across that one piece that doesn't seem to "fit" with anything I have already. My wardrobe used to be an eclectic mess of random pieces & many styles, but as I've been getting rid of things, I'm finding what I keep and what I add are becoming alot more cohesive. I love certain things. Actual physical comfort are top priorities with me, and I love lace, velvet, flowy fabrics, & frills, so it only makes sense my "everyday" wardrobe would have a Boho edge to it; I also prefer dark colors & black, which is just my inner goth reaching out, LOL. Even through all of my I-don't-want-to-be-goth-anymore phases (which were numerous), my wardrobe always maintained a gothy edge (even in the corporate world).

    At the end of the day, we know what we like, so just let your instincts take over. Even if you find an insanely complex top, that you think you can't buy because it doesn't fit into your wardrobe, you can always pair it with a plain pair of leggings, jeans, or skirt (eventually you may find the perfect thing to pair it with, even when you least expect).

  3. I still have a book on my shelf published by Vogue magazine from 30-35? years ago called More Dash than Cash. That was a treasure trove of brilliant ideas on how to dress for less, depending on whether you were drawn to classic, boho or whatever style you happened to embrace. If you can ever find it second-hand, I highly recommend it! :o)

  4. More often than not, if I can't decide, I think to myself, "What would Victor Frankenstein or Van Helsing wear?" Shirt, vest, pants, probably rumbled. If I'm feeling fancy I'll even iron.

  5. I watched an episode of one of their shows and started laughing when they made the woman wear a really badly clashing top and pants! I could have dressed her way better! It was like they were colour blind!

    That being said I LOVE LOVE LOVE themed outfit books! They are such fun! My boyfriend's sister recently passed an 80s one on to me. Most of the outfits are things I would never wear, but there are a few ones I love, and it talks about accessories, etc. And it's just really fun to see the things put together! I will have to scan a couple of the pics and put them up sometime! It is so 80s!

    And, of course, for me, fancy dress is everyday I go out :P

  6. Actually, do you sew? My boyfriend's grandma gets Burdastyle magazine, which has great outfits, all with patterns included. I am learning to sew one of the outfits with her now. There are some Boho things in the issue I was looking at today. Also if you live in Europe it's easier to find the gorgeous fabrics they use. Also the store Marimekko (I think it's Finnish) makes really bold, interesting prints. Not sure if that's Boho,I don't know that much about the style.

  7. This might be interesting to you. 1 dress accessorised in 365 ways! Most aren't my style, but it really is fascinating!

  8. Hi I am someone who is thinking on wirghting my one fashion stylist book and one of the things that the book will be centers around is avoiding the concepts of the color seasons and shapes and whearing what you feel right in and exploring alternate styles cultures such as goth hiphop punk boho and I was wondering if I could use you as a source you made it obvious that whale it was a strong influence on you the goth part of your life is largely over and your still exploring yourself but your goth guide is the most accurate and extensive one I have ever read and I Wood like if I ever Wright it to put you down as a source work cited or website others could go to it is still in the idea and note stage I am trying Wright now to get a degree in fashion merindising I also took Side class in high school if you don't want to be a source then I understand and I will abandon the project or start over from scratch if I Could get your approval that wood really be grate like I side I still haven't published yet I don't have a website so it's not online I am not really done with it so if you disagree or our offended I can I scrap it now before it's too late I am sorry if I made you angery

  9. PS sorry if I offended or sound like a jerk I am asking cuse I wood feel Terrible if I unknowingly ripped you off or copyright infringed

  10. I'm going to say the absolute truth:
    In the past I bought the 'Glamour' Magazines for ideas. (only three issues) Mostly Make Up reasons but also to look at the style and find ways I could try it out with a Gothic Twist.
    Now a days I just follow my crazy mind