Man Repeller

Seeking Love. Finding Overalls.

by Leandra Medine

The Man Repeller was probably the first hugely popular fashion blog. I was an intermittent reader at best because, even though her aesthetic didn’t appeal to me, the concept of embracing your personal style even if it repels men was kind of funny. This is not a style guide, but rather a fashion biography of sorts where Medine uses articles of clothing as chapter titles and jumping off points to tell the high points (mainly surrounding love) of her life thus far. 
Her sometimes wacky “I Love Lucy” style anecdotes that take her from her first crush in elementary school to joining the adult job market are at once endearing and annoying in a Carrie Bradshaw kind of way. Medine’s clear devotion to fashion are what kept me reading long after I decided that I couldn’t relate to her at all.


♥♥♥



Disclaimer: I received a complimentary e-book of this title in exchange for my honest review

Begging Forgiveness

Please forgive the lack of posting here. I started a new job in February and after  almost 8 months of unemployment (where I settled into a very nice groove), I am still getting used to actually having to be somewhere everyday along with the non-traditional hours of the retail industry.


But this hasn’t affected my reading schedule and I have several books to review and hope to do so soon. Also, I now work in fashion retail and my current wardrobe is far from adequate for this situation, so I may live up to the name of this blog and post some sewing as well.

Thank you, readers, for your patience!

Handmade Chic

Fashionable Projects That Look High End, Not Homespun
by Laura Bennett


There has been an explosion of books and blogs lately as a part of a DIY (do-it-yourself) movement. Now, with just a little money and time, you can recreate designer looks at home without mortgaging it in the process. Sometimes, though, even at the hands of highly skilled artisans, the resulting items look a little too “homespun” and not like the things you see on current runways. And that’s fine for people who want that look, but there is a void in the market for chic diy books.


Laura Bennett’s latest book fills that void. Best known for her sleek, elegant designs on season 3 of Project Runway, Bennett has compiled a collection of accessories that are easy to make and incredibly stylish. What I loved most about it is the inclusion of materials that many shy away from: leather, fur (faux or real), feathers, and beads. Her instructions for buying and using them definitely take the intimidation factor away. The 40 projects include covers for electronics (e-readers, iPads, etc.), wallets, purses, and much more, including embellishing ready-to-wear garments.


This book is a valuable addition to any sewing and craft book library, especially my extensive one!

My Top 20 Books of 2011

As of this writing, according to Goodreads, I have read 266 books this year. That’s a lot. A good number of them are romance novels that only take a few hours to consume and since losing my full-time job in May, I have lots of extra hours in the day. None of those appear on my “best of” list, however, so those of you who don’t read that genre don’t have to worry.


This list is in no particular order and consists of the books that I gave 4 and 5 stars this year on Goodreads. I have included links to the full reviews on my blog. Here goes:

Zone One by Colson Whitehead





My Soul to Take by Tananarive Due





Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones










Hurricane by Jewell Parker Rhodes





Pym by Mat Johnson





Surrender the Dark by L.A. Banks





Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman
A very clever novel about an man who aspires to leave the corporate world and be a great American novelist. Unfortunately, his father has already achieved great notoriety as just that. Lots of funny anecdotes about the workplace.

The New Kids: Big Dreams and Brave Journeys at a High School for Immigrant Teens by Brooke Hauser
Exactly what the subtitle says. Interesting stories about teens who have emigrated from all over the world and the lengths they have to go through to get an education in this country.

Class Warfare: Inside the Fight to Fix America’s Schools by Steven Brill
Outlines the real problems in our schools today and gives a great history lesson on how they got that way. Especially eye-opening was the information about teacher’s unions and the power they wield.



The Gift by Elle










The GQ Candidate by Kelli Goff





The Shopping Diet by Phillip Bloch




Voice of America by E.C. Osondu





The Taste of Salt by Martha Southgate





Peace From Broken Pieces by Iyanla Vanzant





 If Sons, Then Heirs by Lorene Cary





Veganist: Lose Weight, Get Healthy, Change the World by Kathy Freston
An easy way to ease into the vegan lifestyle.













So, there you have it. Sorry it was so long, but I just couldn’t limit it to just 10. 


The Shopping Diet

by Phillip Bloch


Because of my chronic underemployment, I’ve never had a shopping problem. I am definitely not a shopaholic and upon initially reading this I thought this book wasn’t for me. But I think that this book can be helpful for anyone.


Phillip Bloch is a fashion stylist to the stars and regular people who can afford him. As a professional shopper he is more than qualified to offer advice on curbing your overspending and cultivating a closet that works best for you. Written like a diet book including sections called “Digest This” and “Battle of the Bulge”, Bloch even has a clothing pyramid based on the FDA’s old food pyramid.


Unlike other books on shopping and fashion, Bloch doesn’t bog you down with a lot of glossy photos of clothing that may be out of style in a season or two. Instead he packs real world advice on being stylish without landing in debtor’s prison.

Nina Garcia’s Look Book

What to Wear for Every Occasion
by Nina Garcia


The bookstore where I worked for the past 11 years recently closed. So I am embarking on a new job search. The other day while fretting over having to update my resume, it occurred to me that not only do I not have an outfit to interview in, my current wardrobe is only appropriate for a Starbucks employee. Because of the dress code at my former job, my closet is full of black polo style shirts and khakis. Right now the only social invitation I can accept from you is one where I’ll be making lattes at your dinner party. (And I can, because I am Starbucks/Seattle’s Best trained).


It’s hard to know where to start when your wardrobe has so many holes in it, so I’m turning to my library of fashion books to help me out. I chose this one for no other reason than it was the first that I laid my eyes on. While it really does cover what’s appropriate for certain occasions (job interview, a Netflix night, volunteering, etc.), it also gives some pointers on the appropriate etiquette in those situations. 


It wasn’t very helpful in setting up a core wardrobe, but once I have that in place, I will refer back to this on how to put it together. And as always, the illustrations by Ruben Toledo are divine!

73. Oh No She Didn’t

The Top 100 Style Mistakes Women Make and How to Avoid Them
by Clinton Kelly


I’m a huge fan of the television show What Not to Wear and watch it since the very first season with Stacy London and Wayne Scot Lukas.  For some reason (probably because of his unkempt appearance – purely my opinion) Lukas was replaced in Season Two with Clinton Kelly.  Good decision, I think. Clinton is way more put together, fashion-wise, and his rapport with Stacy is engaging.

Clinton has written two other books: Freakin’ Fabulous (I reviewed it here), and Dress Your Best, co-authored with Stacy. This new book, like the others, focuses on style, but it is more in keeping with the show and what not do do.  It hilariously countdowns 100 things that women do wrong in fashion with accompanying photos (please don’t miss the camel toe picture).  


While it’s not a book that I will go back and refer to for fashion advice, it made me laugh out loud often and I’m glad I read it.