The Triumph of Individual Style – Review


Image and Style Books – The Triumph of Individual Style by Carla Mathis

The other day I did a review of The Little Black Book of Style – which I wan’t hugely impressed with. I was asked what books I did think were worth the money, I’ve already done a review of Christopher Hopkins Staging Your Comeback: A Complete Beauty Revival for Women Over 45 which I think has some good and practical information, and amazing makeover pictures. Though my all time favourite has to be Carla Mathis’ The Triumph of Individual Style : A Guide to Dressing Your Body, Your Beauty, Your Self.

This book may be old, the illustrations of clothing may be dated, but the concepts are brilliant. Each time I read this book I get something new from it. It’s dense, and needs to be digested in small bites as there is just so much in it, but it contains gold.

Carla’s Balance Point concept really spoke to me as it was something I’d discovered by accident when working in a jewellery store (we used to try on the jewellery when it was quiet), and I knew that different lengths of necklaces did or didn’t seem to work, in this book she explains the why – and as you’re all aware by now I’m a lover of understanding the why and the how.
Her information on Body Proportions and the Golden Mean ratio are also fabulous.
Her explanation of colour though is less clear than some – which is it’s only downfall, but all the style information is brilliant and useful. I just wish it could be updated to look more current so that it appeals to a wider audience.
For me, if you only had one book on how to dress your body, this would be it (but of course for me, one is not enough!).
What it doesn’t delve into is who you are as a person which is a huge part of the work I do with my clients and 7 Steps to Style members as to me, personality is the crux of what you wear and your style.
Have you read it? What did you think?
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  • Is this book still available ? I occasionally like to read etiquette books too. The best ones are those you can return to over and over again. Lots of things are basics; I only wish the books would be updated on a regular basis.

  • A long time ago I bought a book by Carla Mathis called Timeless Beauty, which is out of print now. It seems to be similar in concept and I'm wondering if it's an earlier incarnation of the same book.

    I must admit I've never really used it, but I just dug it out and I'm going to go through it properly, it does look really interesting.

  • Karen – it is brilliant!

    Ms M – you can read and re-read and always find something new in it.

    Metscan – yes – I got it off Amazon – you can't get it in Australia.

    Tess – yes it was released in Australia as Timeless Beauty – though it is out of print here now. It's the same book.

  • It is truly a wonderful book – very in-depth. I take away something new every time I pick it up. I love the classical art and it really makes you feel good about your beauty type. There is no covering up the flaws, simply working with what you are. Instead of "needing highlights to brighten myself up," I can recognize myself as "low contrast" and look at beauties from famous art works who share my characteristics. It's a very "arty" book.

  • I agree. This book is absolutely the best. I reread it at least once a year, spending several weeks each time. I've been puzzling over the color stuff now for years, wondering how to apply it….

  • "The" book for me is A Guide to Elegance, by Genevieve Dariaux- written in the '60s. but reprinted several years ago. Yes, some of the notions are dated, but it's the most assured, descriptive book I've read on personal style, attitude and quality.

  • This is really off-topic Imogen as I haven't read the book. I just went to that link where you are showing the Golden Ratio and you have the most amazingly gorgeous teeth! I just had to drop by and tell you that 🙂

  • This book looks good to me, except for the price! The most recent edition, from 2002, costs around $40, even used; however, I've seen used copies of the 1993 edition for much, much less. Do you know what the difference is, if any, between the two editions? Would I be selling myself short to buy the older, less expensive edition?

  • Mom Huebert – I think the only difference is the cover – I've seen a few different editions and they're all the same – so go with the cheapest (yes, it's not a cheap book, but worth every penny).

  • I thought I recognised these ideas (balance point, etc) from Timeless Beauty. I have it already; so glad I've not gone out and bought it under a different title!

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