Say No to Ho


  That advice is worth the money you’ll pay for "Eccentric Glamour: Creating an Insanely More Fabulous You" (2008, Simon & Schuster). Simon Doonan, creative director for Barneys New York, wants us women to clean up our act. He wants us to quit dressing like hookers — or like most everybody else. He wants each of us to develop our own memorable style — one that  will last when we’ve stuffed the current fads in the donation bag for Goodwill.
   Have you ever noticed that the makeover targets on the TV show "What Not to Wear" usually end up wearing more or less the same thing? When Stacy London and Clinton Kelly get done with them, they’re likely to be wearing fitted pants, some sort of v-neck, empire waist top and a cropped little jacket. True, they look a lot better than they did at the start of the show. But I think Simon Doonan would say they still don’t have style. At least, not their own style.
   Doonan says there’s a big difference between being in fashion — dressing like your favorite actress or other current celebrity — and having your own unique way of dressing that will make you memorable, set you apart, make you a legend, at least in your own mind.
   Doonan especially doesn’t want us to look like  the botoxed, implanted-bosom-exposing, lip-injected half-naked beauties that Hollywood favors these days. That’s where the ‘‘ho’’ comes in. But Doonan also wants us to say no to boring, carbon copy, timid, dress-like-everybody else fashion.
   He presents three style types, asks us to choose one and run it into the ground. Are you a secret bohemian? Is your core persona that of a socialite? Or do you harbor thoughts of being an existentialist, sartorially speaking? Pick one, magnify it, twist it, make it your own.
   This is a chatty, irreverent book that will have you laughing out loud, even as you nod your head in agreement. It’s a reminder that expressing ourselves through dress is meant to be one of the joys of life.