Thursday, September 3, 2015

Look! It's a Book Review! Rebecca Moses, Author and Illustrator: "A Life of Style"

Title: A Life of Style
Author and Illustrator: Rebecca Moses
Publishing Date: 2010
208 Pages
Publisher: The Monacelli Press, a Division of Random House

Rebecca Moses is a designer who has worked in the fashion industry since the early 1980's.  She has her own design label, and she designs the Rebecca Moses Heart Soul Style fashion and home collections.  

I had to rate this book with three stars, because after reading it ... I still came away feeling like I did not understand the intangible quality called "style."

I read this book in one sitting (last night, as a matter of fact).  It was an easy read, since the book has plenty of illustrations and large print.  Rebecca Moses, the author, was also the illustrator, and her illustrations were lush, detailed, colorful and whimsical.  Her prose was engaging.  

What I didn't like about this book was that, while the author said you don't need to have a lot of money or look a certain way to have great style, her illustrations left the opposite impression.  Almost all the women in her drawings (and there were only women, this is not a book for men to read if they want to know about style!) were white.  They were all thin, with no curves in sight.  In short, they all resembled the author.  I would've preferred more diversity.  The other thing I didn't like was that the drawings were packed with stuff.  Jewelry, accessories, shoes, furnishings, clothes, chandeliers (she really likes chandeliers), makeup ... just everything.  If you don't need a lot of money to have great style, do you really need so much stuff?  So it's not a style book for the minimalist. 

The author talks about the qualities that define your personal style: your manners (or lack thereof), speech, the way you carry yourself, the colors you choose, the objects you choose for your home, the company you keep ... all those details that define you as a unique individual.  This extends from your personal code of dressing, to the way you decorate your home, to how you entertain.  Moses has some nice ideas about home decorating and entertaining, but it's nothing earth-shattering.  Personally I'm still working on getting rid of the clutter in my home.  To me, having a place for everything and everything in its place is the pinnacle of style. 

I came away feeling slightly defeated.  As Moses says in the first few pages of her book, some people are born with innate style.  The rest of us just have to work at it, if we choose, and that's why books like this sell.  In summary, it was a short and enjoyable read, but it left me underwhelmed.