Working as a music publicist in the US, author Jordan Christy has probably witnessed an endless parade of floozy fashion built into the mega marketing machine of music video. Indeed, she could well have had a gut full of tizz, spangles, bling, pimped ensembles and rock chick glam, and if this is sole the reason behind her newly released and stylish little LBD tome, then I, for one, will not be raising my pierced eyebrow in surprise.
Chic, neat and very pretty, this book foists a promising subtitle unto the mascara-ed eyeballs of many a dedicated fashionista – The Art of Living with Style, Class and Grace. But in a world driven by appalling starlets unable to keep their miniskirts below the bikini line, is it possible to reignite the era of the self-contained, graceful and supremely stylish woman?
As the author herself admits, when it comes down to it, men still want to take home Audrey not Paris. They want women of substance and self-respect – someone who knows herself and strives for a meaningful life, not a be-thonged plastic toss-away who can’t string two words together unless her esophagus has been well oiled with a bucket of pink cocktails.
That’s right, this books is not a how-to on pearl placement and the perfect LBD silhouette. It’s about more than that. It’s about rediscovering enigma, intellect, grace, purpose and self-effacement. It’s about knowing who we are and where we are in the world, and what extraneous objects we wish to place in our orbit (or flick out with a manicured fingernail).
Opening with an introduction entitled ‘Stupid Girls’, Christy goes on to explain how the current flock of It Girl representatives are really letting the sisterhood down. ‘Embarrassing, flippant and shallow’ are words she conjures before sending out the call to start representing a new type of It Girl. A successful, stylish, smart girl with sophistication, talent, style, smarts and classic ideals and values.
Think it can’t be done? The author believes it can and she’ll show you how.
In Keep Your Chin Up and Your Skirt Down, we learn about self-respect. Yes, this includes what party pictures you post on Facebook. Image is everything and, according to the author, is your calling card for self-respect. Advice here includes how to find your niche, educating yourself and helping others.
Want to be taken seriously? Watch what you say. Words Words Words helps us hone the way we speak and how we calibrate an effective and interesting vocabulary. In other words, if we aren’t experienced newscasters or packing PhDs, it’s vital we sharpen our minds like an HB pencil and actually listen to the way we speak and what we say. The author even suggests taping ourselves speaking so we can hear our inflection, tone and grammatical use.
Mindful of the current Gen X/Y mantra that the world truly owes us something, Christy presents her third chapter, Use Some Elbow Grease, in a no-nonsense fashion. The fact that work ethics and the desire to strive seem to have evaporated with the onset of the ability to SMS is not lost on the author, as she goes about reclarifying the need to find purpose and work hard towards life goals. She offers advice on the top ten ways to get hired and reminds us that even Julia Roberts worked in swimming pool sales before grinning her way to the A-List. As Ann Landers said – “Nobody ever drowned in their own sweat”.
One of my favourite parts of this book would have to be advice on choosing friends wisely. Not only in terms of the influence others can have on our lives, but in terms of the support and connections they may or may not be able to offer. Ditto in reverse. Christy reminds us how we can also be a good friend. Consideration, a sense of humour and the ability to tear oneself away from answering the BlackBerry when lunching with someone are friend-requirements with me – and probably with most other women, too.
Those on the hunt will appreciate the chapter Let Him Come Calling. Far from reverting to Victorian times, the author nonetheless reminds us that old-fashioned relationship virtues still ring true in modern times. Don’t make the first move. Don’t be too revealing. Hold back on the PDAs (and/or obsessing/stalking). Never need him.
Fashionistas will love the chapters Dress to Impress and Less is More. Find out what your true style is and how to express it. Learn to scale back, refine, tailor and hone your wardrobe. Stop piling on the war paint and learn how to make the most of your assets. And best of all, Have Your Cake and Eat It Too; curves used to be desirable, after all, and who’s to say we can’t make them totally delectable once again? Yes, we have the power.
The occasional quiz dotted through the book and the ‘hip’ way the author speaks in How to be a Hepburn probably pins this book into the under-30 category but it nonetheless provides a fun slant on how to get glam and feel it from your core. The author provides interesting quotes and references, even the odd recipe, and lots of warm and wonderful girlfriend support.
So, it’s all up to us. We have the power to define what is beautiful in this world of wayward women. As the author says: “We can be the ones to bring back virtue, discretion and elegance, and permanently reintroduce the art of living with style, class and grace.”
What are we waiting for? I’ll meet you at Tiffany’s for a powwow.
Footnote: I do not have a pierced eyebrow. And I’m definitely a Hepburn wannabe in this Hilton world.