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How to Get Dressed
Cover of How to Get Dressed
How to Get Dressed
A Costume Designer's Secrets for Making Your Clothes Look, Fit, and Feel Amazing
Costume designer Alison Freer's styling kit is a magical bag of tricks, built to solve every single wardrobe malfunction on earth. TV and film productions wait for nothing, so her solutions have to work fast. In How to Get Dressed, Alison distills her secrets into a fun, comprehensive style guide focused on rethinking your wardrobe like a fashion expert and making what's in your closet work for you. She provides real-world advice about everything style-related, including:

• Making every garment you own fit better
• Mastering closet organization
• The undergarments you actually need
• The scoop on tailors and which alterations are worth it
• Shopping thrift and vintage like a rockstar
Instead of repeating boring style "rules," Alison breaks the rules and gets real about everything from bras to how to deal with inevitable fashion disasters. Including helpful information such as how to skip ironing and the dry cleaners, remove every stain under the sun, and help clueless men get their sartorial acts together, How to Get Dressed has hundreds of insider tips from Alison's arsenal of tools and expertise.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
Costume designer Alison Freer's styling kit is a magical bag of tricks, built to solve every single wardrobe malfunction on earth. TV and film productions wait for nothing, so her solutions have to work fast. In How to Get Dressed, Alison distills her secrets into a fun, comprehensive style guide focused on rethinking your wardrobe like a fashion expert and making what's in your closet work for you. She provides real-world advice about everything style-related, including:

• Making every garment you own fit better
• Mastering closet organization
• The undergarments you actually need
• The scoop on tailors and which alterations are worth it
• Shopping thrift and vintage like a rockstar
Instead of repeating boring style "rules," Alison breaks the rules and gets real about everything from bras to how to deal with inevitable fashion disasters. Including helpful information such as how to skip ironing and the dry cleaners, remove every stain under the sun, and help clueless men get their sartorial acts together, How to Get Dressed has hundreds of insider tips from Alison's arsenal of tools and expertise.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Excerpts-
  • From the book Introduction: Good Clothes Open All Doors
    I am a costume designer living and working in Hollywood, California. You might be wondering what a costume designer even does, which makes sense—I wondered the same thing, even as I was agreeing to be one! If you've ever thought that your favorite character's wardrobe on that really great show was the bee's knees, you have a costume designer to thank for it. Because that character didn't just wake up that way—a clever costume designer created the look you love so much.

    Being a costume designer means I'm the one responsible for the designing, fabricating, shopping, fitting, accessorizing, altering, repairing, and customizing of every single piece of clothing that actors wear while on camera—right down to their underwear and socks. Whether I'm working on a film, TV show, or commercial, I'm pounding the pavement at fabric stores, boutiques, flea markets, shopping malls, and costume houses twelve to fourteen hours a day, every day. The jobs I take are particularly unglam—because there is a world of difference between a professional costume designer who dresses actors as the characters they play and a celebrity stylist who exclusively outfits stars for red carpet appearances.

    One of us (the celebrity stylist) has every top clothing and jewelry designer in the world on speed dial, while the other (the costume designer, that's me!) usually has only five hundred bucks and a pocket full of ingenuity to get the job done. You're not likely to find me delivering ball gowns to hotel suites in glamorous locales or being name-checked in an actor's Oscar acceptance speech. More often than not, I'm standing on a ladder in a dusty costume house looking for showgirl outfits or hunched over a folding table in my basement office on a studio lot, trying to figure out how to sew soda cans onto a furry seal costume in time for the afternoon's shoot. But I wouldn't have it any other way, because the thousands of hours I've spent in the trenches figuring out what works for my actors' wardrobes has made me an authority on anything and everything having to do with clothes—from determining what constitutes proper fit to what to do when a wardrobe crisis strikes. I've also made a ton of mistakes along the way, so whatever your particular problem, I can guarantee it's happened to me—and that I probably have the solution.

    I actually lied my way into becoming a costume designer. (That's some hot career advice right there, by the way: fake it 'til you make it!) I've been a rabid collector of clothes, shoes, handbags, and accessories my entire life—so much so that my first apartment in Los Angeles really just functioned as one giant closet. There were rhinestone cowboy boots lining the walls of my living room, a dozen cut-up vintage prom dresses hanging in the bathroom, and nothing in my bedroom but racks of clothes and a mattress on the floor. One day my neighbor (who also happened to be a commercial director) came over to borrow something, took one look at this total mania, and asked, "Whoa, are you a costume designer?"

    He didn't even notice the white polyester dress I had bubbling away in a pot on the stove, which was an unsuccessful attempt to dye it black using India ink. (There aren't enough words to explain how badly that experiment failed, by the way—so save yourself a headache and skip to chapter 10 for some pro-style dyeing tips if you're interested in making the things you own change colors.) I froze for all of three seconds before I decided to answer that yes, of course, I was indeed a costume designer. I suspected that whatever a costume designer actually...
About the Author-
  • ALISON FREER is a costume designer from Texas living and working in Hollywood. With more than 150 TV shows, films, commercials, and music videos under her belt, she has reams of hard-won, practical wardrobe expertise at her fingertips. Alison is also the clothes editor at xoJane.com, where her unique take on how to solve common fashion and style conundrums has won her a dedicated following. Alison is also a contributing editor to Racked.com, in addition to hosting TLC's A Makeover Story during its fifth season. She also appeared on Melissa River's TV Candy on the TV Guide network as the show's resident style expert.


Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 4, 2015
    Freer is a fashion columnist for the website xoJane as well as a freelance Hollywood costume designer. She's refreshingly down-to-earth in her first book, which is packed full of helpful tips for building and maintaining a stylish wardrobe. By the time readers finish it, Freer will have convinced them to find a good tailor; toss outmoded fashion rules (go ahead and wear boots in the summer and white after Labor Day, Freer urges); and reorganize closets so that everything—yes, everything!—is on a hanger. While charmingly designed in a gold, black, and white color scheme, the book would have benefitted from a few photographs or at least more illustrations. And while Freer should be commended for a friendly and thorough tome, the truth is that there's not much that's new here. But for those looking for a comprehensive and highly readable clothes-care book, this is the one.

  • Publishers Weekly "[Freer is] refreshingly down-to-earth in her first book, which is packed full of helpful tips for building and maintaining a stylish wardrobe . . . for those looking for a comprehensive and highly readable clothes-care book, this is the one."
  • Jane Pratt, founder of xoJane.com "Alison really nails the basics of good style while allowing room for readers to inject their own personality into a look. Most of all, her writing constantly reminds me of what fashion is really supposed to be: fun for everyone."
  • Nancy Jo Sales, Author of The Bling Ring and contributing editor at Vanity Fair "Years in the trenches of Hollywood have made Alison Freer an authority on every single clothing problem that could befall a person. As a result, this book is crammed full of wardrobe tricks that really work and is a truly indispensable guide to getting dressed."
  • Ashley Tschudin, Official Voice of Choupette Lagerfeld, @ChoupettesDiary "Not everyone can have two maids at her beck and call. Alison is right about many things, but mainly this: ironing really is for mere mortal humans. Her purrrfect fashion advice will have you looking your very best (but not better than moi!). Two paws up, dahhhlings!"
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How to Get Dressed
How to Get Dressed
A Costume Designer's Secrets for Making Your Clothes Look, Fit, and Feel Amazing
Alison Freer
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