Style Clinic: How to Look Fabulous All the Time, at Any Age, for Any Occasion

Style Clinic: How to Look Fabulous All the Time, at Any Age, for Any Occasion

by Paula Reed


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060793548
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/03/2009
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.60(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Paula Reed is the style director at Grazia, the UK's highly influential glossy fashion weekly. She is a regular on Project Catwalk in the UK and is cohost on Twiggy's Frock Exchange with the original supermodel. She is a former columnist for InStyle in the United States and has held the position of fashion or style director for several fashion magazines and British newspapers for the past twelve years, including the Sunday Times, InStyle UK, Harpers & Queen, and Condé Nast Traveler. Her writing has appeared in the Times (London), The Financial Times, Elle, and Town & Country. She lives in London with her family.

Read an Excerpt

Style Clinic
How to Look Fabulous All the Time, at Any Age, for Any Occasion

Chapter One



Let me Guess. If you've come this far, chances are your closet is too full of stuff you never wear: all-time favorites, one-season wonders, and bargains you always thought you could slim down and fit into. Filleting out fashion mistakes is tough. But it is time for action if:

  • What's in your wardrobe has become a mystery to you. You have no idea what you own because everything is stuffed in together.
  • At the end of a season your wardrobe is full of unworn clothes and things that don't work with more than one outfit.
  • Getting dressed has become a chore and looking good is a grind. What stands between you and looking fabulous is some tough decisions. But the results are so worth it. "Effortless chic" is fashion's biggest lie. Great wardrobes don't just happen.

What to keep and what to ditch

Let's be clear about one thing: Getting a great wardrobe is not about being spoiled or self-obsessed. Knowing what you have and how it works for you saves you time and will give you peace of mind when you need to know you look good. You can look great, every day, with minimal fuss.

You may never be satisfied that the job is done. This doesn't matter. It may never be done. But knowing what you need makes you a better shopper, less likely to be tempted by impulse buys. And being able to see just what you have can inspire outfits you didn't even know you had. Old favorites become new looks when you spot combinations you neverconsidered.

If, throughout this process, you can be as honest and ruthless as possible (or, failing that, find a friend who will be), you'll quickly begin to find out what works and what doesn't. The things that work are the elements of your personal style, the basis of your own personal fashion rule book. With time and confidence, your rules may be bent, but never, ever broken.

If the job seems enormous, don't worry. Getting started is the hardest part.

Know your style


You can't do this in an hour, so make sure you set aside enough time. A day should be enough to reorganize shelving and hanging space, but if there is any DIY involved (repainting, shelf hanging), you'll need two days. Have all the things you need at hand: a full-length mirror, garbage bags, hangers (see page 24 for the essential wardrobe kit).


Empty your wardrobe completely. Immediately cut your task in half by setting aside out-of-season clothes. This is only a temporary measure, but it feels so good to get fast results. That set-aside stuff will eventually need to be sorted, but at least you can tackle it later.


Try everything on. If it no longer fits (your look, your shape, your taste), get rid of it. Make five separate piles of clothes for the dry cleaner, the tailor, the charity shop, the trash, and eveningwear. You may end up with an "iffy" pile, but don't let it get too big. The trash and charity piles should not be left lying around or they'll creep back into your wardrobe. Some charities and recycling companies will collect old clothes. Call them immediately.

Failing that, turn your trash into cash by having a yard sale or taking a stand at a flea market. Gently worn or collectible labels can go on eBay. Or, even better, plan a swap party: Your fashion mistake could easily be your girlfriend's dream dress. What remains can, collectively, be dispatched to the charity shop.


  • All clothes that have shiny, worn patches on the seat or the knees.
  • All clothes that show the shape of your butt or knees when you are not in them.
  • All clothes that are beyond the help of the best tailor you can find. The telephone numbers of experts like these are often one of a stylish woman's best-kept secrets. Failing that, good stores generally have a direct line to the best alterations -people. Be brazen. If you don't ask, you don't get.
  • All clothes that are too small or too large.
  • Anything that's not clothing (wrapping paper, photos, and books belong somewhere else).

If you're still having trouble working out what to ditch, put it in the iffy pile and apply the two-year rule: If you haven't worn something in that long, it has to go; there is no excuse. Once that's done, only the best of what you have remains in the cupboard.

The Only Exceptions

  • Eveningwear. It gets worn less and so, if it's stored correctly, stays in good condition for longer. And classic trends always come back.
  • Stuff you think is collectible (don't you envy your friends whose moms kept their Halstons?). By all means keep your favorite fashion moments for posterity, but that doesn't mean those harem pants should get another airing in your lifetime.
  • Anything that has made it through all these filters because of its fantastic quality. Keep these in a box with all the other iffy items for annual reassessment.

Your new order

When you put everything back in your wardrobe, try to work out a way of arranging things so you will know immediately where to look for things. Here's my running order, but feel free to adapt to whatever works for you:

  • Tops (shirts, shells, cardigans)
  • Bottoms (pants, jeans, khakis, skirts)
  • Tailored jackets (hanging with the skirts or pants they go with)
  • Dresses (progressing from casual to evening)
  • Eveningwear and coats (should have a little section of their own)

Don't forget: Put the out-of-season stuff away. No one wears flannel in July. And February is no time for a pretty peasant skirt.

Style Clinic
How to Look Fabulous All the Time, at Any Age, for Any Occasion
. Copyright © by Paula Reed. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Style Clinic: How to Look Fabulous All the Time, at Any Age, for Any Occasion 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Elena77 More than 1 year ago
The book starts out talking about a distinction between the concept of style and the concept of fashion. Style is different from fashion in the way that fashion trends come and go and style is timeless. It helps knowing exactly what works for your body type and your style personality. What pieces worth splurging and what to buy cheap. What needs to be renewed often and what will last. The book also talks about classics - the pieces that will never go out of style. I especially enjoy that part since I prefer timeless pieces over new trends. Trends come and go and there is no need to follow each one, especially considering the fact that not all trends will work well for a particular body type. As the book mentions, if one looks great in boot-cut jeans, there is no need to get into unknown territory of skinny jeans just because they are trendy at a particular time. there is no need to deviate from what has worked well for you in the past. The basic moral is - Fashion makes you desire things you should not. Shop your style, not the hottest fashion trends. Alos the book lists some timeless classics, such as trench coat, LBD, tuxedo suit, good jeans, classic knits such as twinsets, turtleneck and v-neck sweater. Personally I am a big fan of trench coats, cashmere, good jeans, twinsets, pearls and LBD. Then the book goes into what should be kept in your closet and what should be discarded. The more you buy, the less it seems you have to wear. Buying a lot does not mean that everything you buy will work for you, most of us buy impulsively on a whim and then end up with disfunctional wardrobe. And that's where the Style Clinic comes in. It helps you to decide what to purge from your wardrobe and what is worth keeping. Next subject is wardrobe basics - white shirt, cardigan in your favorite color, suit jacket that goes with your skirt, 3 pairs of pant: jeans, tailored work pants, and smart day-to-evening pants, classic LBD, couple of casual t-shirts and tank tops, dressy round-neck top as a dressy alternative to a t-shirt, day skirt, 3 pairs of shoes: boots, ballet flats and a pair of high heels. The list of basics is followed by details about each item, how to pick the right one and what to wear it with. Also there is plenty of advice on how to find the perfect fit for your body, on using colors and prints in order to emphasize or camouflage, dressing appropriate for your age, and some successful shopper tips. Such as CBS: coat, bag, and shoes formula and other useful rules. Second part of the book talks about each piece of clothing (jeans, skirt, dress etc.) more in depth, what to wear it with, what kind to choose for each body type, how to build a coat capsule, how to select a perfect pair of pants, a skirt, dress, accessories etc. Well illustrated with pictures of celebrities that fit a particular body type and/or wearing particular article of clothing.
Printique More than 1 year ago
This book by former InStyle columnist, Reed, is right at the top. Style Clinic allows you to analyze your style by body type and age--lots and lots of pictures of real people in their clothes help a lot. Paula Reed gives refreshing shopping advice--white shirts need to look fresh, buy new but cheap then, wear replace, vs tailored pieces, buy expensively and wear and wear and wear. Plus her shopping by body type has really clarified things for me. I know where to spend and where to save. Nina, Clinton and Kelly and just about every other book are more a laundry list of great pieces. Or they tell you what short, tall petite and big or small hipped people should wear. This book allows you to look at yourself individually and get inspired. This books helps you shop to add for the season and really let go of what isn't working. Thank you Paula Reed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love fashion books, and have referred to them throughout my life. I'm a grandma who knits and bakes, but I don't want to look like a granny. What the author does here is help you develop your look and stay true to that. It saves you time and money and you always look like your best self, enen when casually dressed.
akbj More than 1 year ago
Well, I'm a jeans & T shirts person, but this book makes me want to do better at presenting myself to the world. It's inspiring, uplifting, informative. The author has done a balanced job of mixing reasonableness with looks that are, shall we say, "more to aspire to". To be honest, I haven't actaully changed the way I dress due to this book, but I have ideas that I'd never had before. Her format is usable, very friendly & readable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked how easy reading it is. The approach is very light and real. Lots of very useful information. Including more photos for things such as type of tights, hats etc will make it better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book, well thought out style advice. While I don't agree with every single piece of advice I will say the majority of it rings true. Loved how she sectioned out parts of the book for different body types. For the ereader I do think some of the photos are difficult to umderstand/place. Wished the photos had clearer labels. Highly recommend.
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Michelle Kitzrow More than 1 year ago
while this book has some good tips, i found most of the book contrdictory and ill advised. save your money.