The Cheap Date Guide To Style — Book Review

A couple of months ago, when I was in Wellington, I picked up a copy of The Cheap Date Guide To Style by Kira Jolliffe & Bay Garnett. The cover was pink & silver with a quote from Sophie Dahl, so I had a flick through. I saw pictures of David Bowie, Diana Vreeland, Karl Lagerfeld & Jimi Hendrix, so decided to buy it.

I’m so glad I did! This book is great. It’s been perused by a great many people, all of whom then remark on what a good book it is. Kira & Bay are great, & they understand that individuality in fashion is important. The Cheap Date Guide To Style is all about that. Here are some quotes from the book which I liked. (Please don’t sue me.)

On what makes someone stylish…

“If a woman looks really stylish to me, not so much that I want to dress like her but that she just looks great, seems interesting & I want to talk to her. It’s not the same as being secretly intimidated by someone. I think style has to be easy-going or it becomes something else, a show…”
— Cecilia Dean (founder & creative director, V)

“I think thinking is stylish. Looking is stylish. Culture is stylish. I think you need to be inspired by something in order to look good. A poem, a picture of Wallis Simpson, tailoring… I have an obsession with Wallis Simpson. When people talk about ‘style’ & ‘stylish’, they’re talking about trends. She didn’t have a trend. She wore clothes that looked good on her. I think style is about a person recognising what their best features are. & if your best feature is a waist, wear a fucking waist. If you’ve got a good bust, go empire. I think it’s about finding a mood that you keep to. Then everyone can identify with that style. I think that’s unstylish is, as celebrities do nowadays, to borrow things from the PRs. They borrow, & it’s so clear that the dress has just been sent. You can feel the bike delivery.”
— Isabella Blow

Bay Garnett’s interview with Karl Lagerfeld.

Q: Is there such a thing as good taste nowadays?
A: Good taste only tastes good to the people who think they have good taste; a good taste can be very uncreative & boring. Good taste is something very bourgeois, very established, so it needs fresh air. People we consider to have bad taste as very happy with their bad taste. It’s not our problem. It’s pretentious to think one is an arbiter of taste. Who cares? What counts is how happy people are with their own garbage. They may think what we have is horrible, no?

Q: What do you think of Elvis Presley’s style?
A: A genius forever. There’s no one like him. The whole attitude.

As you can see, the whole thing is totally inspiring, full of pictures of style icons & pages of wonderful quotes from truly original dressers. Most fashion books are so generic, with tips on how to buy the right pair of pants for your bum, but so many of the women that write those books have no personal style whatsoever. Who would want to take their advice?! Kira & Bay have a very, very different take on things.

It’s a great book to have on the dresser, so if you’re feeling uninspired one morning, you can just pop it open & feast your eyes on something amazing & unique. If that doesn’t help you get dressed, I don’t know what will!