Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Little Dose of Personal Style: Just For the Frill of It by Sonya Nimri

I'm a fiend for fashion. Give me your unloved vintage print tunics, chenille-textured blouses, and brocade Mary Janes, your rhinestone-trimmed chokers and dollar store glass rings. Putting together a great outfit is one of my favorite artistic outlets, but alas, when you are a size twelve, and under five feet tall, finding the appropriate gilded clobber is a wee bit difficult. Lately, I've taken to the idea of reworking what I've got to breathe a bit of life into my post-collegiate wardrobe.

Enter Sonya Nimri, and her DIY fashion guide Just For the Frill of It:

I want to make something that rocks. I want it to be unlike anything I've seen out there--a one-of-a-kind original, Sonya-fied, inspired creation. A piece that comes forth from my brain, which is filled with the influences of street fashion, the runways of Paris, my travels around the world, my latest ideas and notions, and more.

Nimri has an eclectic, colorful style that would be right at home in Shangri-L.A. Intimidated? Don't be. In this book, the focus is on reconstructing pieces you already own or can easily thrift, and adding creative embellishments to the finished piece. A ribby tank plus ribbon and a bit of lace becomes the Laced with Charm top; a little black dress and a handful of costume jewelry can make you a Mademoiselle Coco cocktail frock. Starting with an excellent guide to What You Should Own and How You Can Do It (I especially appreciated the illustrated sewing diagrams, which continue throughout the book), the title progresses through an extravagantly femme collection of shrugs, skirts, purses, and creative miscellany, such as a brocade cummerbund and pansy-covered purse. The pieces featured are young and trendy, but that's the idea of books like this one. Why go out and spend goodness knows how much on something that will fall out of style in just a season, when you can create it from bits and bobs you already own? And, better yet, why not create your own sense of style?

Just for the Frill of It is gorgeously designed; the photography is clear and bright, with a beautiful palette. One of the most charming details is Nimri's list of top ten things to do while wearing this piece; you can "bring your neighbor flowers" or "make a family collage" in your Granny Bolero, or "buy yourself a new antique ring" or "talk to the garden fairies" in the Ruffled Around the Edges Skirt. It's such a personable touch; I hope it carries over into her next book on jewelry-making.

My only caveat is a tiny one: I would have liked to have seen a greater range of body types within the diverse set of models. If I could find what I liked off the rack, I wouldn't have picked up a book like this in the first place, and I know young women of all different shapes and sizes who feel the same way.

Bored with your kit? Freaked out by the relentless ebb and flow of trends and styles? Then pick up a copy of Just for the Frill of It, and start making your own wardrobe fabulous as only you can.

Sonya Style, the author's website, has a plethora of simple recipes, costume ideas, and theme party guides. If you love modern-but-colorful room decor, definitely check out the decorate section for unique bits like the strapping room divider and still life wall flowers.
Her second book, Beadalicious: 25 Fresh , Unforgettable Jewelry Projects for Beads Old and New will be out on April 1st.
You can watch Sonya in action, including some of the pieces featured in the book, in her demo reel (I spotted the Let's Get Physical shrug and Highland Lass cardigan):


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