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Life is Not a Dress Size Review
Rita Farro worked with what she affectionately calls "gifted" women (or women any size over 10) for over a decade; first as a fabric store owner, then as a workshop presenter. The knowledge behind Life is Not a Dress Size also comes from her personal experience at being gifted herself.
This book is about working with what you have, living in "a country that worships thinness", "developing personal style" and "learning to value yourself". A tall order for this little book. It also boasts a bonus sewing section with a few basic items like a wrap, scarf, belts.
Despite being almost ten years from its original publishing date, everything still applies (except the overstated eye clashing outfits...and stirrup pants). She delivers her story and thoughts from the perspective of an old friend instead of someone with a PhD who's never been 20lbs overweight in her life. The tone is conversational, honest and straight forward. Behind each opinion she offers legitimate commentary to back it up. She delves into the realms of low self esteem, fashion, style, sewing and being happy. She gently reminds we all have value.
We are our own worst enemies. Farro insists our segregation from society is less to do with the food we eat and more to do with how we dress and carry ourselves in public. Because of Farro's personal voice/style this is an easy and quick read that leaves the reader refreshed instead of in a depressed afterglow. A large majority of the book is about first impressions, body types and how to camouflage them.
She briefly touches on the "fat" stereotypes like, "She's fat, she must be lazy". The top three things ("skin colour, gender, age") people notice when they first see someone are uncontrollable. Farro says we need to spend more time on our hygiene, clothing, make up and hair. That means no more running out to the corner store without a bra and the inner thigh material eaten out of your pants. Farro also strongly believes we should let go to the fantasy we are going to lose some weight. It's important to live in the moment and wear clothing that fits us now. "The fit is the important thing, not the size number on the tag," says Farro.
She lightly mentions the diet industry but weight loss isn't a focal point in Life is Not a Dress Size. Despite the occasional bad cliché it's entertaining, easy to read, understandable, and educational. The few quizzes are simple and non-threatening. The glossy pages and short chapters make it durable and easy to use as a resource.
Chilton Book Company, 1996
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