Book Review: How to Get Dressed


This book was recommended on Goodreads and after seeing that it was available at my local library I decided to check it out and give it a go.

Alison Freer is a costume designer from Hollywood, California. Being a costume designer means that she is “the one responsible for the designing, fabricating, shopping, fitting, accessorizing, altering, repairing, and customizing of every single piece of clothes that actors wear while on camera – right down to their underwear and socks,” not to be confused with a celebrity stylists who has oodles of resources (financial and otherwise) at their dispense for dressing celebrities for events. She says “wardrobe disasters are a way of life,” and now she’s here to tell us all her secrets about wardrobe fittings, what your clothes say about you, styling, and well, how to get dressed.

Some of my favorite tips in the book…

On jeans…

  • “Forget boring haters droning on about “mom jeans,” because a higher waistline will hit your tummy at a better spot and act like a corset: giving support and providing a long, uninterrupted line when you bend over. And since they fit snugly around your actual waist and not low on your hips, they won’t slide down every five seconds”
  • When you find something that fits your body and perform the action you want it to, nobody notices whether it’s technically “in” or “out”

On alterations…

  • The most important alterations you make are shortening a shirt or adding a shirttail hem, taking in a shirt at the side seams, taking up shoulder seams (or shortening straps) and hemming pants (or skirts, or dresses)
  • “If you’re on the fence, you shouldn’t buy it – the cost of making alterations can easily exceed the price you paid for it”

On dressing for a job interview…

  • Ask yourself (and answer honestly) these six questions: Are my clothes dirty? Are my clothes wrinkled? Am I showing something I wish I wasn’t? Are my clothes covered in lint, pills, or stray threads? Are my shoes scuffed, dirty or worn? Does this fit me properly?
  • “It’s far better to have fewer clothes that are of better quality than an avalanche of clothes that aren’t so great”

There’s also a chapter called “Dumb Fashion Rules that Were Made for Breaking” which I loved. It solidified my beliefs that mixing metals is okay, you can mix patterns and you can wear denim-on-denim and so much more including her declaration that leggings. are. pants. Agree x1000000. The book also includes a chapter on guys clothes, the best ways to clean shoes, recipes for getting out very specific types of stains, and how to do laundry so you don’t ruin your clothes.

This book was a fun read and had great illustrations. For anyone interested in costume design, fashion and clothing in general, this one is for you.


all quotes are from Alison Freer, in How to Get Dressed, image by me

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