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How to get Dressed - A Costume Designer's Secrets for Making Your Clothes Look, Fit, and Feel Amazing

Written by Dianna Drahanchuk

The last words in Alison Freer’s book are that “she doesn’t believe in any ‘rules’ for fashion and neither should you”. My thoughts exactly.

In this easy to read book, Alison starts by stressing the importance of fit to make your clothes look and feel amazing. Next she outlines ideas on how to create a signature style without paying attention to 10 fashion rules like “don’t wear white after labour day” and “don’t wear boots in summer” with solid reasons why the rules can be broken.

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After 15 years of shopping every day to dress actors and other celebrities for the movies, stage, commercials and the red carpet, Alison knows how to be prepared for any clothing malfunction. She shares her toolkit and gives examples of how simple tools like a safety pin can be used to fix such problems as static cling (pin one on the bottom of the clothing item) and how to relieve scratchy seams with moleskin.

Since there are no rules, Alison claims that “dressing for success is dead”, but keeping your clothes in top condition is a must. To organize your wardrobe, she advocates hanging everything up, and includes illustrations on how to hang sweaters, so that pieces will be ready to go in a flash. Additionally, she observes that if you don’t hang it, you won’t see it and you won’t wear it.

I loved the first thing she notes in her chapter on underthings and that is to “throw your shapewear in the trash”. She suggests alternatives and goes on to discuss topics such as panty line and bra fit.

Alison prefers to machine or hand launder clothing, even most pieces labeled to dry clean only. She offers pointers on maintaining, cleaning and bringing footwear “back from the dead”. My favourite trick, that I will probably never use, is one for curing stinky leather that she learned while travelling with a rock band: spray the insides of the offending items with cheap vodka. A stain glossary with instructions on how to get rid of most stains is found at the back of the book.

Her advice for shopping vintage and thrift is to start by knowing your measurements and to go with a tape measure so you don’t have to try on so many pieces. There is a précis of 20th century century style to help identify the decade pieces originated from or were influenced by.

She devotes a chapter to menswear with pointers on how to measure for clothing, how to wear pants, shirts, ties and formal wear. Ironically, after claiming that there are no rules, she stipulates one rule for men on how to wear blazers (spoiler alert - never do up the bottom button).

This is an easy to follow “every person’s” guide to dressing comfortably and well. Brava Alison!

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This post first appeared on Clothes Line Finds - Vintage Clothing, Fashion Eve, please read the originial post: here

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How to get Dressed - A Costume Designer's Secrets for Making Your Clothes Look, Fit, and Feel Amazing


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