Sunday, September 23, 2012

Non-fiction Book Review: 'A Life in Frocks: A Memoir' by Kelly Doust

A Life in Frocks: A Memoir

Pages: 246
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir/Fashion
Release Date: November 2010
Publisher: Pier 9, Murdoch Books

I purchased this book online.

A Life in Frocks is about the ‘divine obsession’, a woman’s love for clothes. In particular, it is a personal, entertaining, joyous – and seductive – exploration of the significance of clothes, filtered through one woman’s lifelong sartorial infatuation.

I've been in a bit of a fashion-y mood lately. I've been on ebay purchasing cheap clothes I probably don't need and on a few book sites drooling over DIY sewing guides and Volumes about vintage couture. I've been regretting not reading as much as I should be (I haven't looked at my Goodreads challenge in ages) and looking at my gigantic TBR pile, knowing that more books will be headed my way I decided that I have to read something. Already part way through more than three books I decided to start this one...

This book was exactly what I needed. 'A Life in Frocks' is a very cosy book with a writing style much like that of Brigid Lowry's 'Tommorrow Everything Will Be Beautiful'. The airy-fairy thought processes and unusual life story of Kelly Doust also reminded me of some of the articles I like to read in 'Frankie Magazine' (warm and cozy, inspiring, addictive). This was the most fun I think a memoir could offer and what a cool way to tell the story of your life, through clothes!

'A Life in Frocks' was a quick read (for someone who hasn't been reading much more than a chapter in her lunch break, reading 246 pages in three days [with breaks for 'Charmed' episodes] is an achievement) that had me captivated from the first page. Okay, maybe the cover... The illustrations on the cover and throughout the book (by Zoe Sadorierski) are very cute. Along with the writing, the illustrations ensure that this is a book to learn from and to treasure.

Doust tells us about how she discovered that fashion (or rather crafting fashion) was her calling. We learn of her mishaps, her inspiration and that sometimes an outfit can make a huge difference to your day. We learn about those dream outfits, the ones she missed out on, the ones that she wore during tragedies, the clothes that were worn until they were worn-out and the clothes she considers to be staples. The most important things Doust taught me during this book was that advertisements can be misleading, some outfits aren't practical for certain situations, don't hang on to something you don't wear and that with a bit of effort a $5 dress can look like a $50 dress. What I didn't quite agree with though was the ruling that every woman should wear heels (even if they are tall). I don't agree. I like to feel a bit shorter standing next to people (a nice change) and I can't walk in heels. Unless high heels are chunky heels, I won't wear them.

The Book features a glossary at the end of a few designers and clothing items that were mentioned during the book incase readers aren't schooled up on who/what they are already. The only thing I really wish this book had, is a glossary of french terms used throughout the duration (at least I think it was french). While it is super classy and chic to be able to speak french (whether talking about fashion or not) it's not fair to the people (like me) who were schooled in a time where french was not the preferred language to be taught in schools.

This book was so cute I thought I'd share some pictures:
 ^Underneath the dust jacket (which has pictures of clothes on it) there are pictures of pretty underwear. So when you take the jacket off you are literally "undressing" the book!
^One of the lovely illustrations.

Overall, I gave this book 5/5 Stars and a favourite, aside from a few (minor) differences I really enjoyed 'A Life in Frocks'. The luxurious descriptions and little connections the author made between her life and the clothes she wore was very original; very inviting. This is a book I'd recommend to anyone with a polyvore account (that they use frequently), anyone who spends just a little too much time staring at the pictures of glamorous models in magazines, Or, anyone who likes op-shopping not only because it's cheap, but because they like the idea of finding "treasure" (or something they can create "treasure" out of). After you've read it this book will make you want to: buy a sewing machine, travel, go op-shopping, read every issue of vogue you have (twice) and go through your current wardrobe organising and ditching things that no-longer have any appeal to you.

Kelly Doust has written a few other books (which I can't wait to purchase) and also has her own blog 'The Crafty Minx'

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