Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Book Review: Oh No She Didn't

Clinton Kelly has co-hosted TLC’s What Not to Wear for almost a decade. In case you are unaware of that show and can’t grasp the premise from the title let me offer a brief overview. Kelly, and his co-host Stacey London, surprise some poor sucker with terrible fashion, make them throw away most of their current wardrobe, and then teach them how to dress themselves correctly and buy them a new wardrobe in the process. Along the way the lucky recipient is humiliated, psychologically torn down and then rebuilt to become a more confident and radiant individual. At least that’s the goal. Clinton Kelly on What Not to Wear is charming, funny, and helpful, but has quite a vicious return when aggravated. His book, Oh No She Didn’t emphasizes the latter.

Naturally this is a book about fashion. Specifically, bad fashion. The book is subtitled The Top 100 Style Mistakes Women Make and How to Avoid Them. Each mistake is accompanied by a humorous photo depicting the mistake and Clinton’s diatribe against them.
Be warned, Kelly takes no prisoners with this book. He is decidedly not politically correct he does not spare anyone with his criticism and is at times downright inappropriate and occasionally mean. I think it’s fantastic. The book is supposed to be funny, and it succeeds. I don’t necessarily agree with him on everything but that is fine. Sometimes you need a wakeup call about what you are wearing and not someone holding your hand and telling you your mock turtlenecks are fine just the way they are. Below are some of my favorite lines from Oh No She Didn’t.

On socks with clogs: “I think it’s pretty safe to say that the kind of woman who wears socks with clogs is not reading this book. That’s because the woman who wears socks with clogs hasn’t heard of me. Instead of watching reality television, she spends her time herding goats, making candles, and bickering with her husband’s other wives.”

On showing up to work with wet hair: “Here’s an idea: Set the alarm for twenty minutes earlier in the morning and stop staying up so late at night in chat rooms discussing why you think Mario Lopez should be your boyfriend.”

On outdated patterns: “If you were house hunting and you found one with an avocado green refrigerator, a pink toilet, and a bunch of brass trim, you’d probably laugh about it later with friends. Well, I do the same thing when I see a woman wearing chintz, except I don’t wait until later. It’s like Tourette’s—I can’t help it.”

On flip-flops: “I will be honest. I love my flip-flops. But I’m also smart enough to know that there are times you shouldn’t wear them. Granted, I’m not as smart as Judge Judy, because she’s the smartest person on the planet. But still, I’m no idiot. (And I’m not kidding about Judge Judy. I sometimes fantasize that I am in her courtroom and I convince her, using my powers of logic and deference, that I have been wronged. Then she awards me the maximum five thousand dollars. Oh, my goodness, if that ever happened I would probably jump up and down like a spastic schoolgirl who forgot her Ritalin.)”

On animal print: “Women who wear too much animal print usually have strong opinions about things that don’t make any sense, enjoy the company of longshoremen, and drink too much blackberry brandy. And wear too much damn perfume.”

On kooky embroidery: “You might think that little leprechauns or flamingos or panda bears or umbrella-toting ducks are cute, but they’re not. They’re silly, and when you wear them you look silly. I’ve had women tell me, ‘But people smile when they see my teddy bear shirt!’ and to that I say, ‘They’re smiling because that’s what you do around people who are mentally challenged.’”

After reading this book I logged onto to read the reviews. People either thought it was hysterical and loved it, or called Kelly a meanie who made them sad. I tend to think that American’s have a problem dealing with criticism and should get over it. Please remember, just because someone critiques something you wear doesn’t mean you have to go into some kind of spiral of depression over it. If you have that little confidence when it comes to your clothing choices please call me, we’ll talk. As an actual book on fashion this book is however fairly useless. There is some helpful advice about how you actually should dress, but it is all pretty basic. Oh No She Didn’t does however let you laugh at horrific fashion mistakes that you yourself, hopefully are not guilty of. And if you are? Clinton is here to pry your scrunchies and holiday sweaters from your fingers and throw them on a bonfire. 

Love Abbs