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How to Have Style

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  397 ratings  ·  73 reviews
The king of real-world chic shares his tips and award-winning flair in a colorful guidebook designed to unleash every woman’s inner fashionista. A twenty-year veteran of the fashion industry, Isaac Mizrahi has become a unique icon in the world of style. He doesn’t do “makeovers” or take pleasure in berating the way a woman dresses. Instead, he is a problem solver—and a tit ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published October 7th 2008 by Gotham
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3.48  · 
Rating details
 ·  397 ratings  ·  73 reviews

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Jun 12, 2009 rated it it was ok
Nice in theory. Crap in reality. I mean, who dresses like this? Girls who work can't use their bra as the focal part of their wardrobe..unless they are working the streets..
Jan 24, 2009 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Jennifer by: NPR interview
Shelves: 2009
oh, Mr. Mizrahi. How I had such hopes for this book after hearing your interview on NPR. How excited I was by your intro "Before you can think about having style, you have to learn to look in the mirror and like what you see." That you said you "don't believe in makeovers" but then proceeded to alter the hair, eyebrows, make-up, clothes, and shoes of each woman in the book, and recommended dieting to one! (and it wasn't even the big girl!)

I had hoped for something like Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quali
Apr 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, style
I was actually really enjoying this book (particularly his approach to drawing out your personal style and emphasis on thinking visually and experimenting) and then Kelly pointed out that the clothing choices looked dated... because the book is 5 years old. I did not notice. Where's my hoodie?
Dec 31, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-nonfiction
I didn't like the styles pictured, but it's the best guide to really finding your own style, regardless of rules or trends, that I've seen. I want to make an inspiration board!! :D
Jay Rose
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fashion
A fun quick read, big lettering, lots of break outs, and tons of photos. Easy to follow along with especially if you are like me and have AD/HD. Not sure just how much advice can be found, but it does have a few treasures here and there. Worth reading but take some of his stuff with a grain of salt.
Mar 30, 2019 rated it liked it
I'm broke and all the outfits in here cost $100+, so...
A fun read, just not something I could really do.
Dec 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book is what I call ‘magazine-y’. Easy to read, lots of pictures, & lots of expensive stuff. I picked up a few tips. For example, I will try to wear skirts that hit at the skinniest parts of my legs (currently my pregnant-lady legs are chunky all the way down, so I will start this in a few months. Actually, my whole dang body is chunky. Except my toes, I think. I don’t know anymore. It is hard to see them.) So, I enjoyed the book as a casual read, but not something that I would go to fo ...more
Apr 19, 2012 rated it liked it
This book is enjoyable yet frustrating. Isaac Mizrahi aggravates me sometimes because he seems to try so hard to be body positive and non-judgmental of women without model bodies/faces, but I think being in the fashion industry just kind of permanently warps your mind and sometimes he steps in a big pile of metaphorical poop when he's trying his damnedest to be inclusive. In the chapter on fashion for fat women he admits that it was difficult for him to hold his tongue and not encourage the fat ...more
Jul 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
I am a complete fashion dummy-- maybe something beyond "dummy." Fashion vegetable? I am in a fashion coma? I still wear my Phish concert t-shirt from 1996. I don't own any makeup. It's not that I'm opposed to the idea of having style, of looking nice, it's just incomprehensible to me. Just as I'm not opposed to the idea of being German. Go ahead, be German! But I'm not gonna understand a word of it. So, "exfoliate?" "false eyelashes?" "stilletos?". Ich sprechen die nicht, liebste. The whole prem ...more
Nov 11, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: nerds
How many times do you hear people who bought this book say: I love Isaac! Maybe they're on to something.
Isaac Mizrahi at HP PAPER Party

I've seen Isaac on TV, and he's not one of those bitchy Project Runway wannabe who refuses to dress any woman sized 4 and over. I mean, real women wear size 16, dear.. I meant, me of course.. So it's refreshing to see how Isaac treat her models, including the only plus size of the bunch, in this book. Some of his take on style is probably too much for me, but most of them are down pat attain
Mar 28, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: visual-arts
Looking through the fall fashion collections on got a little tedious--black, black, grey, black and white, black, maybe a touch of red or royal...solid, solid, fur, sheer, solid...and then there was Isaac Mizrahi. Fun, colorful, you might actually wear it.

Isaac's book, "How to Have Style", focuses on a group of women of all ages and sizes who do not look or live like models or celebrities. He asks them to try to get out of their fashion ruts and see themselves differently. It works prett
Nov 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
A lot of reviewers panned this book which I liked a lot because I thought it contained some gems in terms of advice: like shopping for only one item at a time and browsing multiple stores in one day for the one item, and then buying the best version that fits and flatters you. Also some chestnuts for petites and as I'm 5'0" tall he gave good suggestions. Though I do not believe a woman should always hem her skirts at the knee or just below. My contention is that if you have good legs, ...more
Tara Carpenter
Nov 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The biggest thing I learned from this book is that I need to be chosen as the subject of a book or television show about makeovers. Because having a group of professionals on your side makes a world of difference. The style team for this book includes a fashion stylist, hairstylist, makeup artist, and Isaac Mizrahi himself. I guarantee they could make me look fabulous. And I suppose the point of a book like this is to glean some of the expertise they use on the subjects in the book and apply it ...more
Oct 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
First off, I love love LOVE Isaac Mizrahi!!! If you like things like Project Runway but have not yet seen his fabulous documentary, Unzipped you should run right out and rent it. Okay . . . down to the business of this book. It's not your average makeover book, which is why I liked it so much. Isaac doesn't just say "You have big hips and here's how to hide them" as usually happens. Instead, he focuses on finding your own personal style . . . on what interests you and makes you happy and makes y ...more
Rachel Boling
Aug 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book because I love Isaac Mizrahi from Project Runway All-stars; he had a really strong voice in this, and I liked hearing him talk to me while I read.

I also really enjoyed his message, that all women are beautiful, and that you should embrace who you are, and stop obsessing over "faults" and instead play up your assets.

I thought all the pictures of people changing in the book were unnecessary (which were probably to emphasis the need to try on lots of clothes to find YOUR style);
Jul 12, 2011 rated it liked it
I like Mizrahi's message to women to be comfortable in their skin, but also to take care and be healthy. What I didn't like was that some of the style choices seemed to be leaning toward the runway ridiculous. But I wondered how much of his personal opinion/taste intervened with the choices; like which shoes were a no, when they weren't even on a woman. But that being said, I also liked his message about women trying a little harder to dress up instead of putting on the old stand by of jeans and ...more
Jun 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Eh. This was fun, because it was like one long magazine and I love (lurve!) how Mizrahi writes (just like
he talks). However, he just took a bunch of women, none of whom are like me, and gave them a style make
over so it wasn't exactly helpful. (ie Don't go thinking I'm all full of style now.) Also I am mad that this one
eye make-up look he gave one woman was not well described so now I can't learn how to do it. Major star
loses for that one. I think I did learn or relearn some things, but now I
Kater Cheek
Jun 26, 2009 rated it it was ok
This was on my list of "no thinker" books I needed after the past three. I like to read books like this to get an idea of how to improve my looks, and then get frustrated at how stratospherically expensive the designers' concept of "reasonable" is. (Ie. One dress costs more than I spend on clothes in three years.) I was also baffled by some of Mr. Mizrahi's suggestions, like when he took a woman who said she liked to hide her breasts, because they were large and made her self conscious. Mizrahi ...more
Dec 26, 2012 rated it liked it
I love Isaac, especially now that he's on Project Runway, and several of the outfits he puts together are lovely, but some of this was a little bit ridiculous.

*Spoiler alert*

Actual quotes:

"Lose ten pounds for FUN!" WOOHOOO!

"I don't believe in makeovers, so all of the women chosen for this book were good-looking to begin with."

...Not to mention several rather frightening ensembles and haircuts that added years or made the women dowdy.

A fun read, and I suppose I learned a few 'rules' for mys
MaryannC.Book Fiend
Nov 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fashion
I read this a few months ago and forgot to put this down. What I liked about this book was Isaac's straight forward way of explaining his use of certain clothing for women with "problem areas" or someone who needed direction with their fashion choices. What I especially liked was his make-up artist Mally Roncal, who transformed these women into beauties no matter what size, age, or shape. I thought there were some hits or misses with Issac's choice of clothing for some of these ladies. A few tim ...more
Dec 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
This lovely and fun style guide from Isaac Mizrahi takes twelve women facing typical style "challenges" -- "how do I dress stylishly on a budget?", "how can I introduce colors into my wardrobe?", "how can I look great if I wear a size 12 or larger?", "how can I shop like a stylist?", etc. Each woman gets her own little chapter where we see her style inspirations in the form of a bulletin board she creates, then we see Isaac and his team help her pick out clothes, make-up, accessories, hair style ...more
Dec 30, 2008 marked it as to-read
Does this book have a pregnancy chapter? I felt distinctly uncool visiting another ward for a missionary homecoming last Sunday, with my panty hose making a distinct line across my big old tummy. It was distinct. For some reason I keep using that word today.

I want to be a two year old boy. Benjamin wore his pajamas and snow boots (at his distinct request) to the day care at the gym this morning, and everyone was laughing about how cute he looked. His hair was also sticking up. Nobody said a WORD
Aug 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
love reading books like this, because i get really inspired. but the downside is that i get really inspired, but don't know where to start first, too many ideas all swirling at once, and then i get really anxious that i won't be able to remember it all, so i just scrap any plans to reinvent my look. then a few months (or weeks) later i read another of these books and start the process all over again. really wish i could have a clothing guru come and live with me for awhile, or just have one on r ...more
Jan 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fashion
Another beautiful book with great Make-Over photos of real women, with a range of style issues. Best take-away was doing the inspiration board. After all, the reason I enjoy a periodic review of such books is to shake up my falling off the style wagon.

All of the style make-overs are fabulous (including hair & makeup) - and they all look great afterward. However...LOL to put a woman who wanted to look "wholesome and honest" in a visible red bra in 3 out of 4 of her AFTER photos!
Jan 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
Some of this is really good advice and Isaac is coming from a positive and encouraging place, for the most part, but with so much sincerity the recommendations all sound like mandates. Clinton may have been a snarky bitch, but that snark made his comments easier to disregard if they don't jive with YOUR style philosophy.

There are nice pictures though, and it's a good handbook for beginning to develop your style. Training wheels definitely included!
Nov 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Can Isaac Mizrahi just come live with me and dress me every day? I love how passionate he is about the positive effects of being confident in who you are and dressing to show the world that you value yourselves, but I especially love that all of the changes and choices made by the women featured in this book were made based on what moved and inspired *them* - it wasn't the expert just picking out something that would "disguise their trouble spots" or some such shit.
Sep 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fashion
One of the better in this genre--Mizrahi is warm, opinionated but not bitchy, and can see style in more than the hyper-rich and skinny. I'll forever love him for his egalitarian Target line--broke-ass librarians love fashion too! I love that he embraces personal style--no blanket mandates here. Hey, it's okay if you wear plain clothes if you love them, or if you fall on your face overdoing it. Why not, it's only clothes.
This nonfiction book about style is the perfect book for style beginners. The book focused on a group of women, all with different body types. Mizrahi would meet with them, figure out their unique styles, and then dressed them accordingly. I believe that I personally learnt a bunch from this particular book. The tone of this book really makes you want to read on, and I recommend this book to anyone who wants to pursue fashion as a career.
May 09, 2011 rated it liked it
I liked the way this book was set up. That Mizrahi utilized so many different body types and style types. I got some inspiration from the book, though some of the pattern combinations were just too much for me. I think I might be a little more brave in my dressing because of this book, but I hope I'll think a little more about my clothing purchases and really make it count.
Jan 02, 2009 rated it it was ok
Some interesting ideas and good advice ... but Mizrahi and I have some differing ideas on style. ^_^

The "About the Author," though made me laugh. It's great that he has a sense of humor.

However, Michael and I agree that he seems to de-emphasize women's waists. A little strange.

There were some great ideas in it, though.
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“Remember this: No one is looking at your imperfections; they're all too busy worrying about their own.” 19 likes
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