I always wear white after Labour Day, my shoes rarely match my bag, and I’ll throw on some “plastic shizzz” whenever the mood strikes. Fashion rules are boring. What gives someone the authority to tell a girl what should or shouldn’t be in her closet? Winona Dimeo-Ediger understands this. In Closet Confidential, she gives practical, down-to-earth fashion advice but never deigns to tell readers what they should or shouldn’t be wearing. She discusses general rules and shares her personal likes and dislikes, but throughout, she encourages readers to break these rules and forge a style of their own.
Closet Confidential is essentially my friend Kristen in book form. In high school, I would never shop without her. She had an eclectic yet classy style, and a knack for seeing what would look good on others. Whether we were at Value Village or the mall, Kristen would shove me into change rooms with piles of clothes I wouldn’t even consider on my own.
To this day, if I’m torn about dropping the cash on a piece of clothing, I’ll snap a picture and send it to Kristen for her opinion. We don’t always agree, and I would never decide not to buy something just because she didn’t like it, but I trust her taste, and know I can always count on her for an honest opinion. Dimeo-Ediger writes in the same way: this is what I like, but it doesn’t mean you have to like it too. As she says in the introduction, “learn from my fashion mistakes, but don’t be afraid to make your own.”
Dimeo-Ediger writes the blog Daddy Likey, and her book is written in a similar tongue-in-cheek, funny style. You might not be interested in her “style lessons,” but anyone can appreciate her self-deprecating personal stories, cute illustrations, charts (“Maslow’s Hierarchy of Jeans,” anyone?) and healthy advice we can all use (like “Just Say No to $1000 shoes” or “If you don’t wear your leopard-print trench coat here, you will not wear it in Europe.”)
If someone were looking for fashion advice, I’d recommend Closet Confidential over the clichéd advice offered in most mainstream fashion magazines. We should all gift it to our little sisters and cousins.
Closet Confidential (Style Secrets Learned the Hard Way) by Winona Dimeo-Ediger, Sasquatch Books, 2009.
reviewed by Jaclyn Irvine.