Janet Behmer's extensive training and experience as an on-camera host and buyer led her to over 13 years in television retailing for home shopping channels. During a long stint at the Fashion Channel, she was able to pick the brains behind major designer-labels and learn all about fabrics, cut and style. Working with buyers and designers to choose the right fashions for their customers, she has seen the good, the bad and the ugly of the fashion world. Today Janet is an e-commerce consultant and her client list includes fashion companies that are bringing their products to the Internet. Shirley Pierce started her career in fashion as a sales associate and then as a showroom model on Seventh Avenue, the fashion capital of the world. She went onto twelve successful years on Madison Avenue behind and in front of the camera, including hosting the video "Fashion Today". She learned the tricks of image-making in over one hundred commercials and taught those skills to professional actors for the Screen Actor's Guild. Shirley now works in the style capital: Hollywood. Today, she is a successful writer in Hollywood where her fashion and image-making talents have been one of the keys to her personal and professional success.
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Read an Excerpt
A model's just an imitation of the real thing. -- Mae West
THE PEOPLE'S CASE - BODY IMAGE
Ladies of the jury, we stand before you to defend women everywhere, especially those bombarded by the cornucopia of fruit used to define their body shapes. Women do not fall afoul of the fashion police with malice in their heart. It was bad advice and confusion that made them do it.
It has been our experience that women come in an assortment of mis-diagnosed weights, shapes and sizes. We will prove that women have been duped into dressing badly ever since Eve was forced into that politically correct fig leaf.
We will also seek, in the following pages, to lay the groundwork to free women's ideas of who they are and what works for those blessed and beautiful bodies they were born with.
Body phobia is a fairly recent phenomenon in human development. Childhood memories recall a time when many women's personal power increased with the amount of meat on their bones. Think Bella Abzug, Margaret Thatcher, our mothers. Today, the media tells us just to "think thin".
For the defense of those of us living in the body conscious "now", we submit the following three exhibits into evidence: a woman's weight, her shape and her height.
Right here and now, let's get weight into perspective. The average woman wears a size 12 or 14. There are natural exceptions of course - Nancy Reagan wears a size 2 soaking wet.
What does that mean to our case? It means that if our doctors tell us we're healthy, we should accept our bodies and embrace them. Diet and exercise should not be some masochistic quest to wedge ourselves into society's infantile view of women. They are tools that we use, like Pap Smears and Mammograms, to be the best that we can be and stay that way.
Women who are overweight are nagged at every turn. In this book, you'll get nothing but support from us. If you're overweight, you know you need help. Our advice is listen to your doctor. You'll get healthier results and it's cheaper than the billion dollar diet industry that is waiting for you.
However, when it comes to weight problems, it's our sisters at the other end of the scale, those who choose to be painfully thin, that need just as much support. There is no billion dollar industry waiting to fulfill the needs of the underweight. They do not suffer the kind of ridicule and discrimination that would force them to get help. On the contrary, the thinner they are the sexier they are considered to be. But, in fact, many of the women who choose to be underweight are either mentally or physically ill. Women who choose to weigh too little grow hair in unwanted places, develop heart problems and lose important bodily functions. This is sexy?
Grown women swallow tapeworms and our daughters dance with anorexia because their only role models are women who have starved and/or surgically altered themselves to maintain an inhuman body shape. The shape? Fleshless bones with big breasts. If you doubt the oddity of this form, when was the last time you saw the victim of a famine with a double "D" cup?
It is time to let reality shine into our lives and our sense of ourselves and see that to be too thin is not normal. And it doesn't help a woman be her best. Your body shape does not make you who you are. Any questions? Ask Maya Angelou or Indira Ghandi. Our final words for the unnaturally thin amongst us, "Get a meal." If not, please reach out and get help.
For the rest of us, here's how our weight compares to the real world. We've devised the following chart based on averages.
ABOVE AVERAGE --- Over 175 pounds
HIGH AVERAGE --- 150-175 pounds
AVERAGE --- 125-150 pounds
LOW AVERAGE --- 100-125 pounds
BELOW AVERAGE --- Under100 pounds
Most women in America fit into the Average to Above Average range. In this range, we are rounder from head-to-toe and the differences between some body shapes become blurred. For example, there might not be that much difference between a woman who is described as "oval" and a woman who is a "rectangle".
Thanks to women's growing sense of self-determination and awareness, there are clothing lines designed for women of all shapes and sizes. Now, we just have to decide how to define that shape and size for you. Our next exhibit is the most important, so take notes. There will be questions.
We have seen women's bodies diagramed, dissected and charted into dozens of different shapes and we are left with these burning questions. What does "upside down pineapple" really mean? And if you're described as a "banana" is that a good thing? You can puzzle over this question for the time it takes to eat a pint of Chunky Monkey and still not figure it out.
Let's see if we can squeeze the fruit in another way.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I'd heard of this book on the grapevine but couldn't find it in any bookstore where I could flick through it. I found it here and took the plunge. I am so glad I did. It delivered and delivered. And the best thing is that when I needed more help I just went to their website and asked the questions and got sensible answers.
I found that this book had useful ideas for more than just what to wear, when. It dealt with being a mother, having a limited budget as well as what I should wear when I get pregnant (again!). Best thing was that it recognized that we are all different body shapes and need to dress them to highlight our best features.
Believe me, I've read everything about trying to dress this awkward body shape of mine and none of it made sense until I stumbled upon this wonderful book. In simple and often amusing terms, these women answered all my questions about dressing my body shape and they made me feel good about myself.