Books — Trinny and Susannah
Trinny and Susannah—What You Wear 
Can Change Your Life

By Amy Diaz

Brits say “You dress funny”

The good news: Trinny and Susannah want to help

Trinny and Susannah—What You Wear Can Change Your Life, by Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine, photography by Robin Matthews, Riverhead Books, 2004, 265 pages.

Your clothes are all wrong for you.

Don’t worry, though, it’s not just you. It’s me too and most of the people we know and, according to What Not to Wear hosts Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine, just about everybody on Earth who isn’t dressed by trained professionals.

Why are we such lousy dressers? Trinny and Susannah  —  it just feels wrong to call them Woodall and Constantine after their chummy tone in the book  —  suggest it’s because we don’t know ourselves or understand what our bodies do to clothes. As they kick off their book, which helps everyone from pregnant women to broke women figure out how to dress better, they describe themselves in the terms they want their readers to use. Susannah describes herself as a “fat white maggot” but admits that she likes her ankles, butt and, when properly covered, her boobs. Trinny complains about her flat chest and saddlebags but likes her arms and her height. They tailor their fashion sense to accentuating their nice bits and hiding the parts they aren’t so fond of. And, starting with underwear — everybody in the female universe apparently wears the wrong bra  —  they teach us to do the same.

Perhaps the most helpful thing about What You Wear is that it very much keeps an eye on cost. We can’t all afford Extreme-Makeover-style shopping sprees. But Trinny and Susannah explain how to approach improving your wardrobe if you will only be buying one item at a time and if your clothing budget is severely limited. And they do it for all stages of life. Once you pass your early 20s, looking cute, they argue, is no longer just a fact of nature. It’s an important part of how you and others perceive you. Feeling that you look good can make the trials of big life changes — pregnancy, dating, marriage, menopause  —  less trying. You feel better about yourself and better able to handle your situation. Again, all without having to buy the entire Donna Karan spring line.

- Amy Diaz

2005 HippoPress LLC | Manchester, NH