book review: Fierce Style

Fierce Style

Title: Fierce Style: How to Be Your Most Fabulous Self
Author: Christian Siriano
ISBN: 978-0446546010
Pages: 256 (hardcover)
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (October 5, 2009)
Category: beauty and fashion
Review source: Hatchette Book Group
Rating: 2.5/5

Because that, my divas, is what it means to have fierce style—inside and out. It’s feeling fabulous about yourself, feeling strong, independent, and confident in what you do (all while looking totally ferosh, of course!) It’s about making things happen and tackling one challenge after the next. My hope is that you will find something in the following pages, whether it’s about clothes or something else, something that inspires you to be fierce yourself. Big or small, silly or serious, I hope you take away some inspiration.

On Season 8 of Project Runway, the zebra snapping, skinny jean and vest clad tiny bundle of energy Christian Siriano became the youngest winner. The designer spent tons of time [and hairspray!] on his updated Flock of Seagulls-style hair, always had something to say about everyone and everything on the show and exuded oodles of confidence. Christian knew his fashion and loved every minute of it: that was evident from the first show. He overused the word fierce [ I began to question Tyra Banks’s trademark rights to the word but it never came up on the shows or outside in any media discussions). Now Christian dresses such celebs as Victoria Beckham, Heidi Klum, Whoopi Goldberg and sells his clothing line at

Lucky for his fans [and maybe a few people who lack mirrors or haven’t progressed beyond their high school looks], Christian has decided that the world needs to know the inside dish on what he thinks is fabulous and how every woman can look fierce. Most of the items in Fierce Style read like Elle or Marie Claire articles [stop me if you’ve read this one before] or the manual for TLC’s What Not to Wear or Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style. Or even going all the way back to Queer Eye for the Straight Guy [oh sometimes I truly miss those men and that show!].

In the Fierce Style introduction, Project Runway mentor Tim Gunn writes glowingly of Christian: From the onset of his time on Runway, it was nothing but “wow” moments. It was the ambitiousness of his ideas and his deft ability to execute them. I would see his sketches and think, “How is this going to happen?” And shortly I learned, well, it is going to happen. And it’s going to happen consistently. There’s exuberance in his designs—nothing is ever a basic silhouette. It’s all about the details. And he takes enormous risks. What I love about risk taking is that it is how great work comes about—greatness doesn’t come from playing it safe.

That’s why to me, Christian epitomizes a fashion designer as opposed to a clothing designer.

Scattered throughout the book is the Fearless Tip. [Fierce Style also list’s Fearless Celebrity Tips and we know that they are in touch with real people.]

Here are a few:

–Thinking back on your interests as a kid can be a great starting place for developing your look today.

–It’s important to look to the present. Pop culture and your current interests can impact your fashion sense today.

-It’s better to have one amazing real piece that will last forever than a thousand fakes, no matter how authentic they may look. [Every Today Show fashion segment guest states this.]

–Remember—style isn’t always about being eccentric or crazy.

–Take your focus away from the negative and focus on what’s positive and what’s fabulous. The more you do that, the more fierce you will feel!

Other fierce and ferosh tips that Christian describes in the book:

10 things not to wear if you want to be fabulous

  1. wire frame glasses
  2. UGG boots [I don’t care, I like mine]
  3. flip-flops [kudos on calling out THIS HUGE fashion faux pas]
  4. shapeless jeans
  5. sweatpants
  6. hoodies
  7. big logos
  8. baseball hats [agreed!]
  9. fabric band watches
  10. polyester fabrics

Christian’s Daily Bag Must-Haves [did Nina Garcia approve this?]

–cell phone [oh, really?]

–wallet [come on, Christian]

–oversized planner [no we just use our iPhone or Blackberry or Palm Pilot for that]

–A can of hair spray [a can? Good-bye Ozone]

–Bronzer [yuk]

Top 10 Dream Pieces [Christian’s editor must have reminded him that the U.S. is in a recession and has an unemployment rate of 10% because he goes on to talk about Nine West, Target, Payless and a few other “bargain” places]

  1. Burberry trench coat
  2. A big, fun Marc Jacobs bag
  3. A classic black leather bag by Yves Saint Laurent
  4. A Marni accessory [don’t know who that is]
  5. Edgy heels by Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Marni, or Proenza Schouler]
  6. Classic stiletto heels by Louboutin, Manolo, or Jimmy Choo
  7. Chloe boots
  8. A Prada suitcase
  9. A pair of classic black Wolford tights
  10. A Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress-preferably a print

My Fierce Favorite [writer’s note: I chose what stood out for me]

Food—Subway, Yodels, Frozen veggie burgers

Music—Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna

Movies—Glitter, The Devil Wears Prada, The Bourne Series [someone has a crush on Matt Damon!]

TV Shows– Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Full House, Saved by the Bell

Although Christian throws in some interesting biographical information– He started worked at an Orange Julius at age 13 [is that legal?] in Annapolis, Maryland and moved on to Bubbles, a beauty salon. He interned in London then for Vivienne Westwood and after her, Alexander McQueen [no wonder he had so much confidence on the show. He may have been young but he had plenty of real-world experience]– Fierce Style is all over the map and rather tired. You know how magazines recycle the same story ideas? Most seem to be in this book. It would have been better as solely a  unique style manual or as a fun book on Christian’s rise to fame. Fierce Style is a beautiful looking, coffee-table kind of book. I wanted it to be fun and rich with fresh and special ideas. Unfortunately, Christian failed to reveal any new tips in these pages.



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