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'Who, What, Wear': A fashionista's bible

By Gennifer Delman, Staff Writer

For the high-end fashion devotee, there is Vogue, Elle, and Harper's Bazaar. For the creative trendsetter, there's Nylon. For the lady wise in love and lust, there's Cosmopolitan. Now, for the wanna-be fashionista seeking professional advice on how to develop her own personal style, there's "Who What Wear" the book.

These 155 glossy pages are a true necessity for anyone looking to update, improve, or discover their own personal fashion sense. Written by expert fashion journalists and founders Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power, the book covers everything from channeling your own style inspiration, to dissecting trendy versus classic, and even recommends which items are meant for splurging and which aren't.

The first chapter is a personal favorite. Before diving into basic beauty guidelines or the high influence celebrities have on fashion, the authors explain that the crux of every excellent outfit or admirable look is inspiration. They recommend readers to create their own inspiration board, a compilation of magazine cutouts, fabric swatches, photographs, or anything of your choice on a board. They make sure to point out that this isn't a "junior-high scrapbook assemblage," but rather a technique that helps to better visualize what inspires your style. Once one has a complete board, it's easier to find a pattern among the items on the board that will narrow down one's general sense of style. For example, one who notices a common trend of earthy tones with sandals or light gray denim likely fits under the general category of bohemian.

Another chapter deals with decoding high-end fashion shows. The authors quote supermodel Erin Wasson, "The key to wearing a runway piece is to take it out of context…make it your own." Interpreting runway shows involves understanding the main concept of the show and reading between the lines – what is the main theme of the show? How can I take a piece from the runway and incorporate it into my daily wardrobe?

The writers go through the key things to look for in a show: color, fabrics, prints and patterns, accessories, and themes. Analyzing these patterns will make it much easier to figure out what the designer's message is behind the extravagant ensembles. They provide two examples, analyzing pieces from Marc Jacobs and Vivienne Westwood.
The longest chapter is arguably the most enticing. With helpful recommendations and hints, the authors devote a section on "What to Wear Where": a collection of possible looks for certain occasions. For instance, they suggest outfits for black-tie weddings, music festivals, and even plane rides. For the avid job-searcher, they differentiate looks for corporate interviews versus creative company interviews. They advocate well-tailored pants, a blouse, pumps, and long necklaces with unique details for corporate job interviews, and graphic print blouses with cropped slacks or high-waisted skirts with peep-toe pumps for creative job interviews. While they're not asking readers to only wear these looks, it is most certainly a helpful guide to base future choices off of.

The book also compiles a list of essential fashion news/retailer websites, magazines, and even a glossary of fashion terminology. While the hefty price of $18.95 may deter readers, it has definitely proven to be a worthy investment that can be referred to beyond the current state of fashion.

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