This book is literally a treasure trove of practical help for women of all ages, sizes, and walks of life. I want to begin by saying that I did not get this book free for a review. I bought it the old fashioned way—all by myself—because my child-bearing days are over, and I have been left with a wardrobe sadly lacking in clothes that actually fit me anymore or that are reflective of who I am and what I love.
Just a Good Girl Dressing Bad. How Did I Get Here?
I hate shopping. I hate, hate, hate, HATE it.
First, it’s super boring.
Second, I am overwhelmed as soon as I walk into the mall. There are 5489 kajillion shops and clothing racks and colors and people. It’s an assault on the senses.
Third, it costs money.
Fourth, it requires decisions that I almost always regret because I have no idea what I’m doing.
Fifth, it reveals my ignorance in fashion.
Sixth, it makes me feel like a gerbil on a wheel because I rarely find what I’m looking for anyway.
Enter Good Girls Don’t Have to Dress Bad, a book written just for me—and anyone who can relate to some or all of the above.
The author, Shari Braendel, strives to teach Christian women how to accept and enjoy the unique body God gave them and how to dress in a way that accentuates that beauty and reflects the creativity of the Creator. She starts by asking, “What’s so Christian about looking good?”
She makes the point that since God’s word addresses both inward and outward beauty, so we ought to consider addressing them as well. Most of the time we get our fashion cues from Hollywood or magazines. She proposes that we learn what is beautiful by looking at beauty from God’s perspective. Since He is beautiful, loves beauty, and created each of us as beautiful, we can move forward from there, accepting our bodies, our colors, our hair types, our shapes, etc. and accentuating them in a way that honors Him and best represents Him to the world around us.
1. Body Type
There are four body types to learn about, and she gives tips on how to (and how not to) dress for each type. I found out I have a “B” body type which means I gain weight primarily in my tummy area. Tucking things in is a huge “no-no” for me. If I wear a belt, it needs to be large and hang low at an angle. Accessorizing draws attention to the neckline and away from the belly area. Long scarves also do the trick, and full leg trousers with flat fronts (no pleats!) help minimize the full belly area. I love all the pictures too! It helps to see what she’s saying.
Here I learned that colors are critical! Spending money on clothes that make me look washed out or tired is, well, a waste of money. She gives a crash course on color analysis here and helps you figure out which category you fall into so you can invest your money in clothing that makes you look happy, alive, and vibrant.
I found out I’m a “soft.” The biggest thing I learned here is that black, for me, is OUT. And guess what color made up most of my wardrobe?! Since learning this, I’ve purposely added some of the colors that look best on me into my wardrobe – and WOW, what a difference this has made in my outlook on life. When I happen to see myself in a mirror, I’m amazed at how it takes off about 5 years – and even makes me look thinner and rosier. I love having learned this.
Prior to reading this book, I had zero interest in accessories. I owned some because my mom and sisters would sometimes give me accessories for my birthday or at Christmas. But I hardly ever wore them, and I don’t know that I ever bought a pair of earrings or necklace for myself. Shari inspired me to try accessorizing more – so I have!
I really enjoy it and see how it adds a special “something” to the way I look when I walk out the door. I do remember reading a blog post somewhere where the writer shared that just putting on a big pair of hoop earrings made all the difference in how she felt even just walking around the house. SO TRUE! (Try it!)
She also uses this section to talk about STYLE. This was my favorite part of the whole book. Are you a Style Fashionista? A Classic Modern? A Pure Natural? A Creative Original? (Links will take you to her Pinterest boards for examples of each.) Once I realized that I was a Classic Modern, I was able to purposefully narrow down my shopping to stores that carry that type of clothing. (Yes—she lists stores for every budget in each style category.)
She gives some great advice on how to buy bras and swimwear.
5. Face and Hair
I enjoyed learning about face shape, what kinds of hair styles/cuts are best for different shapes, information about hair color, picking glasses, make up and skin care tips, etc. This section was chock full of good stuff.
I realize not everyone reading this wears jeans, but I live in them. She’s got a whole chapter on how to choose a pair of jeans that are right for your body shape, including the brands (and the stores that carry them) that are best for each type of jean cut. She’s got selections for every budget.
7. Shopping Help
Boy, did I need this section. Not only does she help you figure out what you need and don’t need (I didn’t have a clue), but she passes on some great stuff to go over with your daughters to help them make wise clothing choices. Here are some of her topics of conversation (see the book for more details.)
The 5 B’s of Beauty
Be Satisfied with Your Body
The Five Bs of Style
No Bra Straps
No Bust Exposure
In summary, I would say this book had the most helpful, practical impact on my life in 2013. In fact, I loved it so much I bought several copies for people at Christmas. If you are anything like me or if you have daughters who are starting to take an interest in how they look, you may find this a resource that you will turn to again and again as you pursue a path of radiant beauty for the glory of your Creator.