Always Pack a Party Dress by Amanda Brooks

Always Pack a Party Dress

Amanda Brooks

Always Pack A Party Dress is a wonderful insider view to the fashion world with warm, candid and witty prose and a must-read for fashion aficionados. **Please note this title is image heavy and should be viewed on a tablet or PC


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Author of the bestselling I Love Your Style Amanda Brooks shares her personal stories, and sartorial highs and lows, from a life in fashion, with beautiful, eclectic, and inspired photographs throughout.

An authentic voice in the world of style and how-to books, Amanda Brooks, with her unique and enviable yet accessible style, has inspired thousands of women of all ages to find their own personal look and explore their identity through the clothes they love to wear.

In the past twenty years, Brooks has worked as a photo assistant for Patrick Demarchelier, a “gallerina” at the Gagosian Gallery, and at various fashion posts, before finding her dream job as fashion director for Barneys New York. Along the way—and wearing more than a few of the kinds of outfits we’ve all regretted at one point or another—Brooks has discovered the key to creating her personal style, combining influences as wide-ranging as childhood prep school, Grateful Dead concerts, contemporary artists, pop culture, and her current home outside of the fashion bubble, a farm where she lives with her family (and a host of animals) in England.

Brooks recalls her early career aspirations and explores the evolution of her own personal style in stories of successes and failures alike, and offers fashion and beauty tips and inspiring photographs throughout. Always Pack a Party Dress is a must-read for high fashion or street style aficionados. In this gorgeously produced gift book, Brooks shares her expertise and insider view with warm, candid, and witty prose.

Advance Galley Reviews

I read this book on a tablet, and I'm glad I did -- it's full of full-color photographs that greatly enhance the text. I wasn't familiar with Brooks at the outset, but she's worked with a lot of people whose names I did recognize, and she manages to tell interesting anecdotes without seeming like she's purposely name-dropping. She's definitely led a very privileged life, and I found myself hating her a little bit at some points, but overall she comes across as fairly grounded, considering her milieu.

I gravitated toward this because I thought it would be the author's life through her clothes. It was how clothes made the author's life better.. because she'd had all these great jobs and had met all these people. There was very little fashion. The between chapter information was nice and more what I was expecting from the rest of the book. I will also say my favorite chapter was the one when she went though her outfits for the MET Gala and why she picked them/ loved them.

This book caught my interest as I have not always been one who is on top of the latest fashions or trends, although I would like to be. The ideas presented (along with a new list of stores for me to try) gave me renewed hope that it is not as difficult as I thought (or as expensive) to remain in fashion. I learned a lot of new designer names and sites and I found myself simultaneously exploring them while I was reading the book with a different lens.

This book is a biography with a few fashion tips thrown in. I'm not big into fashion, but tried to keep an open mind while reading. I felt like this was Amanda's journal. She writes about all the awesome things she has done and all the awesome people she met and influenced her. Their didn't seem to be much of a struggle in her life until the last few pages of the book. I'm not sure what we were supposed to take away from this book besides maybe that the path you think you should be on isn't always the best? (Since she went from photography to fashion) The pictures didn't do anything for me....and there were A LOT! I think it is a good book if interested in getting into the fashion world.

A word or a phrase or a character can draw the reader in and keep them close. Early on in Always Pack a Party Dress author Amanda Brooks writes, "I visit New York often and realize its always there when I need it to be." Once a New Yorker, always a New Yorker is this reader's mantra whether reading and writing from Mexico, Georgia, France or Florida and Amanda Brooks has been part of the landscape as a writer and a party dress wearer throughout the last two decades. Her seemingly casual way of detailing her internship with Patrick Demarchelier is understated in the best possible way but makes one go wow! The photographs are a treasure trove and must be savored alongside and apart from the text. Her advice is dead-on for those who travel and wish to do so in style. Worth reading if high fashion and the world of retail is of interest - how many can say they were fashion director at Barney's New York. The evolution of personal style as fashion evolved in tandem is glorious - but only to the initiated - much of this is for an insider's insider - lucky that this reader lived these times as well. Ms. Brooks has led a charmed life indeed and openly shares with readers - let's hope she packs a bit more warmth into the next phase of her remarkable life.

I am probably not in the target audience, since this book seemed such a feeble source of inspiration or of any entertainment at all. Just to sum it up, "poor rich girl that gets satisfied through clothes and in the end finds the true values in life".

I was excited about this book because the promised glimpse into the fashion world and array of great photographs is right up my alley. For the first half of the book, I couldn't stop rolling my eyes at the copious name-dropping and overblown self-perception (and I have read a fair number of celebrity autobiographies, so I offer a healthy allowance for writers' egos). I wasn't impressed by the images, either; they were washed out, mostly not of a high photographic quality, and often not well-integrated with the text. That said, I came around to genuinely enjoying the book through its second half. Ms. Brooks seemed to get much more comfortable in her writing style and have a healthier sense of herself. She started to share more of what the book promised - fashion insights and drool-worthy descriptions of fantastic pieces mixed with autobiographical details. By the end I really came around to this book, I just wish it had been that way for its entirety.

This was an interesting read that gave insights to the fashion world. Author Amanda Brooks shares her 20 year experience in the fashion world with career advice, fashion tips and personal stories. I like clothes but I am pretty fugal with my style and even though the designers and brands Brooks wears are way out of my fashion budget her stories have inspired me to really think about the clothes I am purchasing and work toward creating my own personal style. If you like to read fashion blogs I think you will like this books. Some of her articles I did not enjoy as much as others but in the intro Brooks expresses that you should not feel like you need to read the book in order. Overall it was enjoyable to get a glimpse into the fashion world.

In my early 20s I went to fashion school, traveled thevNew York and Paris circuits, and thought of living that life until I too fell in love and had babies. That being said, I was expecting a fun book (Devil Wears Prada type) and not an autobiography. Though I related on a personal level, I had a difficult time hurdling the desire to find humor anywhere in the book.

Going in to this, I had no idea what to expect. Based on the cover I thought it would be a chick lit book, as opposed to non fiction. I'm not a huge fashion buff. I like clothes enough, however I have never spent more than $100 on an article of clothing. Therefore I didn't appreciate all the glitz and glamor of this world. It was fun hearing about all the inside info of the fashion world, however on a personal level I just didn't care. The viewpoint was pretty privileged, however the photos were pretty fun.

As a non-fashion-y person, I picked up this book because I thought it would be humorous plus give me some tips on how to dress better or be more fashionable. It wasn't really a humorous book, and I didn't get too many fashion tips that I could apply to my daily life on a normal person's budget, but it was an interesting memoir about a woman in the fashion industry. Since I know nearly nothing about the fashion world, I found some parts of this book to be brand new and interesting, and other parts to be a bit slower. I don't mean to beat a dead horse, but I don't know much about fashion. I like to look nice, but don't know the names of many designers, besides those brands that I can get at Target, Kohl's, and Macy's. That being said, I'm not sure if the author is a big name or not, but she certainly seems to have either really good luck, really good connections, or both. She had some incredible stories that you almost couldn't believe - and I don't mean that in a rude way, like I'm speculating that their aren't true. I don't doubt their authenticity at all. I just mean that some of these stories are crazy. For instance, the maître d' of her parents' favorite restaurant introduces her to a photographer she greatly admires that happens to be dining in the restaurant, and she manages to land a job with him out of it. In another instance, the person who owns the art gallery she had just sent a resume to just so happens to walk into the shoe shop she's in and starts a conversation with her. OR - better yet - she goes to a weekend wedding and sees the girlfriend of a college friend, who brings her to this great shoe shop (Christian Louboutin's). She splurges on a pair of shoes to wear to the wedding, where Christian himself is a guest who befriends her and dances with her all night because he can't believe she could dance so much in his shoes. There were a lot of incredible stories like that in the book that I think that fashion aficionados in particular would enjoy. For me, I enjoyed parts, but was bored in other areas. I also got a bit tired of what seemed like constant name-dropping. If I were more into fashion, I think I would have enjoyed this more. Regardless, it was an easy read, and I loved the great pictures interspersed throughout. Note: I received this book for free through the Penguin First to Read giveaway program.

This was not my kind of book. I did not relate to the details of this way-too-privileged life. It was so boring like the author thought we would all care about her special life. No insight. I was looking forward to it but was turned off my the 3rd page.

I'm struggling with this review as much as I did with this book. This is a big, huge book that covers everything the author could think of saying about her twenty some odd years in the fashion-high society worlds. Some of what she has to say is very interesting: poignant, well organized and compelling. Other bits are entertaining, observant and best-friendish, delivered in a manner that makes you really feel that you were right there with her going through her snapshots and mementos. It's when she puts in her magazine spreads about her home decor or her choice of hair care products that I lost interest and wondered why I was reading the book. Really I wondered why anyone would read the book. Those sections really suffered from a lack of humor but should never have been in the book to begin with; it was just too much. It was über cool and exhausting. If only she had edited her book as well as she edited her outfits.

I not one for memoirs from people who are still alive, but after reading Always Pack a Party Dress I may have to change my mind. It wasn't was sunshine and rainbows, there were times that I just wanted to put it down. The incessant name dropping was becoming to much, and some parts in the beginning and towards the end were rough to get through. But stick with it, you’ll be glad you did. You won’t get any real insight on fashion with this book, but you will get a great read about some fun times. Even though there are “Fashion Lesson” sections in the books, I wouldn't too much call them lessons. You aren't going to learn anything you don’t already know or haven’t been told 10x over in magazines and blogs. But, I enjoyed reading this book.


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