Cheap Chic: 40th Anniversary Edition

Cheap Chic - Caterine Milinaire, Carol Troy



Before there were street-style blogs and ‘zines, there was Cheap Chic. Selling hundreds of thousands of copies when it was originally published in 1975, this classic guide revealed how to find the clothes that will make you feel comfortable, confident, sexy, and happy, whether they come from a high-end boutique, sporting-goods store, or thrift shop. 


Astonishingly relevant forty years later, Cheap Chic provides timeless practical advice for creating an affordable, personal wardrobe strategy: what to buy, where to buy it, and how to put it all together to make your own distinctive fashion statement without going broke. Alongside outfit ideas, shopping guides, and other practical tips are the original vintage photographs and advice from fashion icons such as Diana Vreeland and Yves Saint Laurent. Inspiring decades of fashion lovers and designers, Cheap Chic is the original fashion bible that proves you don’t have to be wealthy to be stylish.


My Thoughts:


Thisisn't what I expected it to be. I thought it was going to be a book full of DIY fashion done cheaply. Despite this, I did enjoy this book. It was originally written in the 70s. There wasn't as many options for clothing style as we today have. This book tells you have to use what is available to make a style all your own. 


This is divided into sections: Introductions, First Layers, Classics, Second String Classics, Antiques, Sports Clothes, Ethnics, Wrappings, Work Clothes, The Mixes, Directory, Appendix, and Index. I really want to thank whoever put this together for the index, so many books don't include them and they are very time saving. 


The photographs and advertisements from the 70s are great. My very favorite was an old Levi Strauss & Co Ad for copper riveted overalls, spring bottom pants, and blanket lined clothing. On the ad are hand drawn examples of their products: a bearded man wearing a seven pocket engineer's overall, a miner wearing a riveted blouse and riveted overall, etc. In the middle of the ad it says that every garment is guarenteed. I love my Levis jeans, but the newer ones are not what they used to be like.


Excerpt (from the introduction section of the book):


The basic concept of  "Cheap Chic" for both men and women is to have a few clothes that make you feel good rather than a closet full of mismatched fashions. Find the clothes that suit you best, that make you feel clmfortable, confident, sexy, good looking and happy... and then hang on to them like old friends.


We've become spoiled in America. Surrounded by mass manufacturing and mass marketing, we stuff our closets with masses of mistakes. Fashion seduces us from Sears to Saks in a dizzying array of styles, prices, fabrics, and colors...


My girls could really benefit from learning this!


About the Author:


CAROL TROY is a journalist and photographer whose work has appeared in Condé Nast Traveler and Vanity Fair. She lives in Napa Valley.


CATERINE MILINAIRE is a journalist and photographer who has been an editor at Vogue; worked with Andy Warhol, Richard Avedon, Diana Vreeland, and Francesco Scavullo; and was at New York Magazine and Interview at their starts. She lives in Newport, Rhode Island. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.