From the Publisher
“Can a girl be absolutely fabulous and a pillar of civility at the same time? Ceri Marsh and Kim Izzo think so, and their smart, authoritative guide to modern urban manners gives life to the girl of our dreams: sexy, sophisticated and well dressed, yet never less than perfectly considerate. She’s a gem, and so is the book.” — Mark Kingwell
“’She’s smart, fun, stylish and, of course, beautifully well-mannered. She’s the girl you admire, the girl you want to be.’ And ‘she’ can be ‘you’ — with the proper amounts of aforethought and home study. Such encouraging notions come by way of Toronto fashionistas Kimm Izzo and Ceri Marsh in their updated book of etiquette for the modern girl. The chic duo tackle these life complications and more, all with a view to arm readers with a ready sense of what the savvy, confident career gal would do to save the hour.” —Toronto Star, Arrivals
“…it’s a fun, quick read because of its elegant prose and cheeky voice…there is something truly admirable about The Fabulous Girl’s Guide…I liked the book’s honesty and non-judgmental tone…it assumes the voice of a truly excellent girlfriend, who gently advises but never reprimands, no matter how shocking the situation.” —Daphne Gordon, Toronto Star
“In a world filled with rudeness, it is refreshing to read a book that dares a young woman to be ‘grand’ — in the same way that Jackie Onassis, Holly Golightly and Coco Chanel were models of taste and diplomacy…Izzo and Marsh…give advice that seems ‘retro’ but is actually as solid as the pillars of civilization itself…This timely, self-help guide also functions as a crash course in survival for those sweet young things who have been dazed into dysfunction by watching Melrose Place, Jerry Springer and Limp Bizkit videos. Absolutely everything is covered in this book, from what to wear to a job interview, to how to leave your lover, to what kind of utensils should be stocked in your kitchen.” —Donna Lypchuck, Globe & Mail
“I graciously admit after reading this Carrie Bradshaw-meets-Peggy Post handbook that I had a thing or two to learn about being fabulous…These tips we should know (but don’t always) are cleverly dispersed between clips of fictional tales of girls with decorum getting by in the real world — fabulously.” —Flare Magazine
“The Fabulous Girl’s Guide to Decorum by Kim Izzo and Ceri Marsh hauls Ms. Manners into the new millennium…In bright, snappy prose, they offer solutions to such dilemmas as sex with your boss (not always a no-no for ambitious FGs), the classic how to meet his/her parents (courteously, of course), and what to do when the condom breaks (a fast call for the morning-after pill). A fair bit of tongue-in-cheekery makes the book witty as well as wise.” —Elle Canada
Read an Excerpt
Manners will make you fabulous. Manners are sexy. The well-mannered get invited to more dinner parties and have a wider array of friends and colleagues who admire them. These are the basic tenets of The Fabulous Girl's Guide to Decorum.
The idea for this book came to us gradually over the course of one too many encounters with the socially inept, suffering through bad dinner parties and enduring thoughtless comments. Nearly once a week we would find ourselves on the phone or over tea, railing, "They didn't even put food out until11 p.m.! There was no music at all!" or "She showed up to the cocktail party in jeans and a charity fun run T-shirt" or "We ran into his ex and he didn't even introduce me."
It began to add up. People are rude and inconsiderate to each other every day and in every circumstance, and what's worse, they don't seem to realize it. Perhaps they just didn't know any better. In addition to being vexed by the inadequacies of others, we were crippled by an inability to correct the offenders. As every well-mannered person knows, to correct someone else's breach in etiquette is itself an infraction.
Unless, it finally struck us, we were experts.
And after a lifetime of passionate interest in the subject and experience in a great many milieux, surely we had become experts in etiquette. Having lived as single girls, party girls, married women, out-of-workniks, professionals, world travellers and fashion addicts, we knew the world and, frankly, the way it ought to work.
The essential equation of etiquette is simple: Be nice and assume niceness in others — just like your mother said. Beyond this basic belief, of course, there are specific details for situations, but the foundation is always the same.
Manners are an integral part of good citizenship. Consideration for others and not only for one's own wants and needs is necessary if a person is to be a valuable member of her world. When people of varying cultures and economic brackets must, increasingly, live side by side, etiquette becomes a modern requisite. Pleasant manners are just plain more appealing than bad manners. Behaving in a thoughtful way helps both morally and aesthetically to make the world a better place.
There is a kind of woman who understands this implicitly: We've named her the Fabulous Girl. You know the Fabulous Girl, don't you? She's Holly Golightly, the girl you must have at your cocktail party. She's smart, fun, stylish and, of course, beautifully well-mannered. She's the friend who always knows when you need a shoe-shopping expedition to lift your spirits. She's the one who calls you after your disastrous dinner party and insists that she had a marvellous time. She's the girl you admire, the girl you want to be.
No one is born perfect, and we all have a learning curve toward good manners. And so this book is both a celebration of the fully formed Fabulous Girl and a primer for the Fabulous Girl in training. The life of the modern woman is wonderfully full — work, friendship, romance and sex (we know they aren't always the same thing) are all vital to her happiness. In The Fabulous Girl's Guide to Decorum we will set down modern rules for every circumstance — from bedroom to boardroom — so that we're all armed with the appropriate arsenal of etiquette. Because you need to know how to handle a one-night stand just as much as you need to know how to set the table.
To illustrate this learning curve we've included the FG as fictional heroine throughout the book. Consider her a guide to ease the journey to good manners.
Contrary to popular belief, manners will not make you a bore or a snob. Quite the opposite: Individuals who possess skill with etiquette are admired and desired for it. If you are well-mannered, people will want to come to your dinner parties and will want you at theirs. Manners can make you fabulous, girl — a Fabulous Girl.
Language is a tool, and the Fabulous Girl must learn to use it. Of course the FG moves through life with an uncanny ability to converse with them and charm others from all walks of life, be they neurosurgeons or gardeners. That's right: an FG is skilled at making anyone feel comfortable and worthy. (p. 64)
The Fabulous Girl will have a long list of male friends — be they ex-boyfriends, platonic pals or men who wish they were the boyfriend. Male friends are an important part of a well-balanced social diet. (p. 125)
The Fabulous Girl's Perfect Day Shopping with her best FG
Rise after an extra-long beauty rest. A light buy energy-boosting breakfast.
Wardrobe: White or flesh-tone thong, button-up shirt, skirt and slip-on flats.
Grooming: Shower, full hair and makeup.
Fabulous Girl Tip: A watch is your only accessory.
Meet best friend at the nicest shopping district in town.
Try on lots of clothes whether or not you intend or can afford to buy anything.
Fabulous Girl Tip: Try on clothes only pre-lunch to ensure a flat stomach.
Ladies Who Lunch: Tablecloths, and table service.
Table Talk: gossip, fashion, men, goals.
Fabulous Girl Tip: No fast food.
2:30 — 4:00 P.M.
Après Lunch: Giving the "maybes" a second look.
Manicures, pedicures, magazines, shoe shopping.
Fabulous Girl Tip: Swollen feet guarantee fit.
4:00 — 5:00 P.M.
Tea, read, nap.
Private fashion show.
Remove tags and put away new threads.
Fabulous Girl Tip: Revel in your good taste.
Like a notch in a belt, some women choose to collect items from lovers as tokens of their night together. Whether it's sweatshirts or lighters, this is not a practice of an FG — at least not one out of high school. (p. 156)
Aside from overnight house guests, an FG will receive company into her home frequently and will visit her own friends too. There are a few details of which all should be aware. Never answer someone else's telephone unless you are expressly asked to. Don't open the fridge or help yourself to food and coffee unless invited to. (p. 261)