When famed and revered costume designer Edith Head’s book How to Dress for Success was originally released in 1967 it became a classic resource for women of all ages as they navigated the professional world whose doors were beginning to open ever wider for females who wished to partake in creating their own independence.
Re-released just recently on April 1, 2011, in its iconic lavender clothbound cover, readers will discover her advice to be timeless:
*Ignore “faddy” here-today-gone-tomorrow styles for things that reflect quality and taste
*Building a proper wardrobe is somewhat like building a home
*Wear accessories to “spice up” your wardrobe, but don’t overdo it
*Wear colors that are complementary to your skin tone and flatter your figure
*Choose clothes that serve you
With specific and detailed guidance for all body types and lifestyle activities, Head expertly takes the reader through each chapter with details, specific direction and examples and concludes each chapter with a check-off list of principles to follow.
One of the greatest take-aways that is practical and effective for building a successful wardrobe is her suggestion to create a “blueprint plan”. Beginning with a list that charts the activities you are involved in on any given day or special occasion (doing business, grocery shopping, formal affairs, sporting events, dinner at restaurants, trips, etc), she asks each woman to write the degree (everyday, frequently, quite often, rarely, hardly ever) in which each activity takes place.
By going through this process, the correct types of outfits are blatantly clear and the unnecessary shopping of items that tend to only see daylight when the closet door is open is eliminated.
While there are noticeable references that are outdated (viewing middle age at 35), I found it a history lesson in how far women have come. In fact, as it was just released in the 2010 US Census that 37% to 33% of women to men have a higher education degree, this is but one example of how far women have come in taking a step forward toward living their best life and discovering success – the success Edith Head initially hoped to assist us all in achieving when she sat down more than 40 years ago and shared her sage advice garnered from years of of helping the stars (Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophie Loren, Audrey Hepburn) look their best. Head states repeatedly, that she has never worked with a woman who didn’t have something that needed camouflaging which is evidence to the fact that we all have potential if we know how to play up our strengths and reduce the appearance of our not-so-beloved areas.
From the first line, Edith Head states very candidly, “This book is addressed to women who want Success. And that means all the women . . . who are both old enough to know what they want and energetic enough to go after it.”
Direct and confident, Edith Head’s passion for the world of design is electric, yet grounded in femininity and determined to help us all acquire success starting with one of the things we have complete control over – our wardrobes.
Click here to purchase.
Publisher: Abrams; Reprint edition
4 thoughts on “How To Dress for Success – Book Review”
Edith Head vs Coco Chanel
In my book Edith Head wins by a mile.
One of my favorite people in the world is Susan Claassen who has played Edith Head in theaters all over the country! She’s owns the Invisible Theater across the street from my house…you should google her…people actually think she is Edith Head!
Hollywood’s smartest, savviest designer! Thanks, Shannon, for spotlighting my favorite costumer. Edith knew how to maintain her “reign” and wasn’t afraid to do what it took to make the Hollywood “old boy’s club” to grant her virtual carte blanche. Hooray for Edith (who was formerly a French teacher)!
Excellent! Thanks for taking the time to post this review.