Every year there's a fashion book that pops up during the summer that makes a great read for those lazy days. The title this year that's making headlines is "The Goddess Guide" by Gisele Scanlon (Harper Entertainment, 20).
We all have images of our own fashion goddesses, but this particular expert who makes her home in Dublin, puts a funky spin on the industry, giving us a glimpse into the "cool" stuff around the world from London to Barcelona to Los Angeles to Marrakech - even Iceland. It's the perfect way to spend a "cool" day at the beach.
"I've always been a collector," admits Scanlon, "whether it's little nuggets of advice, from world-renowned experts in the fashion and beauty industry, or matchboxes, pencils and receipts from hotel rooms - it's all pure gold to me."
This intrepid fashion traveler has filled dozens of notebooks unearthing tips, anecdotes, interviews and inspirations. She even sold $38,000 worth of her designer wardrobe to have her teeth veneered in New York.
TRAVELING FASHION GODDESS - Intrepid fashion traveler Gisele Scanlon is the author of 'The Goddess Guide,' a 280-page reference on how to become a fashion diva. CNS Photo.
"Left to my own devices I love nothing more than to dig through the world's decay and decadence, hang with the highbrows as well as the street kids and just listen and learn," she writes in her book that's filled with all kinds of photographs, addresses, doodles and notes.
Here are a few of her findings - you'll have to read the rest of the 280-page guide to become a real fashion goddess. Believe me, you don't want to leave this one at the pool; it will be on your bedside table.
- In an interview with French shoe designer Christian Louboutin, Scanlon questions him about why the soles of all his shoes are red.
"An assistant in the office always used to wear the same color red lipstick and matching nail polish," revealed the famous designer. "One day I asked to borrow it and coated the bottom of a pair of stilettos just to see what it would look like, et voila!"
- Scanlon is disgusted with all of the fake handbags on the market.
"If you're intent on having a real designer bag check out www.beafashionista.co.uk. For a modest monthly membership fee, you get to try out designer bags as you want, sending your bag back when you're bored and requesting another."
- For fashion vegans, Scanlon suggests buying synthetic leathers made from PVC. Visit www.alternativeoutfitters.com or www.mattandnat.com.
- Her favorite lingerie? Or "knickers" as she calls them for those Maryiln-Monroe-on-the-subway-grating-moments? Agent Provocateur.
- Make the zipper of your jeans zip more smoothly by rubbing the teeth of the zipper with the lead of a pencil.
- Fact: the size and positioning of the pockets on a pair of jeans dictates exactly how big or small your behind is going to look.
- In an interview with designer Narciso Rodriguez, she asks him what she should invest in for daywear. The designer's answer?
1. Low-waisted cotton pants; you can dress them up or down.
2. A chiffon, airy, silk top - very feminine over trousers.
3. A tailored skirt.
4. A figure-hugging shirt.
5. A tailored pants suit. Dress it up with the sexy figure hugging shirt.
6. A coat, a pair of leather boots and a leather bag.
- Charity shops in the poshest areas in each city can hold really great vintage finds. Her particular passion? Searching for antique Louis Vuitton luggage.
- When it comes to a beautiful smile, Scanlon suggests increasing your visits to the dentists in order to decrease stains. Stainers in order of strength: the worst is tea, the next is red wine and then coffee and cigarettes.
- Her favorite tights, a fall fashion must-have? Wolford Velvet De Luxe 50. "You definitely get what you pay for," admits Scanlon. "Expensive, good quality tights last much longer."
- When Scanlon asked New York fitness expert David Kirsch how to get the goddess look before a party, here was his answer. Cut back on ABC's: that's alcohol, bread, starchy carbohydrates, dairy, extra sweeteners, fruit and trans fats. Go high protein.
Sharon Mosley is a former fashion editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and executive director of the Fashion Editors and Reporters Association.