‘Shopping for the Real You’ serves up fun, real-life fashion tips 

When Andrea Pflaumer sums up her experience writing and publishing a fashion advice book for women of a certain age, she’s only being partly rhetorical when asking, “Dare I say that it was empowering?”

The Berkeley writer, who will talk about “Shopping for the Real You” at Orinda Books this week, says, “I now understand other people and myself better” regarding an “ostensibly superficial” subject which ended up having broad implications, helping people go “deeper into truth.”

Subtitled “10 Essential Steps to a Better Wardrobe for Every Woman: Fashionistas, Fashion-phobes and the Over 50,” the compact, no-nonsense volume has a chatty, friendly tone and is packed with illustrations and handy charts describing varied categories – color and style types – into which people fall.

Palettes are divided into four seasonal archetypes, while styles include: dramatic/theatrical, natural/relaxed, exuberant/lively, classic/traditional, romantic/sensual, youthful/playful, and ethereal/angelic. Using these parameters, and recognizing how they interplay with size and proportion, helps women determine what clothing looks best on them; it also tends to be what they feel most comfortable in.

Pflaumer, who credits much of her information to Oakland-based Personal Style Counselors and its director John Kitchener, says she wrote the book because she found herself intimidated by similar volumes “by ex-models” on the topic.

Her primary, although not exclusive, audience, she says, is a “middle-aged woman not wanting to look like a schlepper when she walks out her front door.”

The guidelines will help people “express on the outside what’s really on the inside,” says Pflaumer, who adds, “If they’re integrated, there’s really joy in that.”

At the same time, Pflaumer doesn’t deny that sometimes rules are meant to be broken. In her introduction, she writes: These … principles are not to be taken as a giant ‘should’ … let me give you permission up front not to have to be fabulous and gorgeous every time you step out the front door and not to have to buy the exactly perfect outfit every time you shop. …. Perfection is a myth, anyway.”

Editor’s note: Pflaumer also writes about dance for the San Francisco Examiner.

IF YOU GO

Andrea Pflaumer

Where: Orinda Books, 276 Village Square, Orinda

When: 7 p.m. Oct. 2

Admission: Free

Contact: (925) 254-7606, www.orindabooks.com

BOOK NOTES

Shopping for the Real You

By Andrea Pflaumer

Pages: 165

Price: $19.95

About The Author

Leslie Katz

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