Sunday, August 15, 2010

Good Girls Don't Have to Dress Bad by Shari Braendel: Book Review

I was invited by The Blog Tour Spot to review fashionista Shari Braendel's new book, Good Girls Don't Have to Dress Bad. Several years ago, God put it on Shari's heart to share with women her knowledge about fashion and her eye for the things that flatter a myriad of body types. In obedience, Shari has written a guide filled with information on how to find the right clothing, colors, hairstyle and makeup for your unique body type and coloring. She also addresses areas like modesty, helping your daughter find clothing that reflects her heart toward God, and hangups we face when considering our physical appearance.

For the most part, I really enjoyed Shari's book. I like how she starts out with an encouraging note to her readers, reminding them that the way we present ourselves reflects who we are inside. As Shari says, looks really are important and we must be careful to present ourselves as daughters of King Jesus!

God made us to care about the way we look and that's ok. However, it's also important to remember that looks aren't everything. As Shari says, "If our idea of beauty is based on what we put on, rather than our relationship with the Creator of beauty, we've got a problem. In other words, if you're messed up on the inside, three gold bracelets probably aren't going to make it all better."
I appreciate how often Shari brings up the subject of modesty. I do believe that "modest" looks different on different people (for instance, my idea of modest is a skirt that goes at least past the knee, a neckline that doesn't dip very far below the collar bone, and a sleeved top), but I think that she does a good job of setting some general rules about covering up that apply to all.

I found myself skimming over the section that discussed what to wear for an individual body type. My daughters and I have committed to wearing dresses and skirts for the time being, rather than pants, and our skirts fall below the knee. This type of dress was not addressed in the section describing my body type, but I would imagine that's because it's not a super popular style! Continue on through the rest of the review and I'll list some sites that I enjoy perusing for my style of modest clothing.

There was one issue in the book concerning the chapter called "Curves" that I have to really disagree with. Perhaps this issue was not addressed because that's not the direction she wished to take with her book and that's fine. I don't know how to say this any better so I'm just going to say it. Obesity is not a thing to celebrate. I understand that the idea here is to give women confidence at any size, yet I can't help but wish that someone with influence over Christian women would just say flat out that obesity, overeating, and lack of exercise does not please God. It should not be celebrated and it is not "fabulous". I feel like this chapter, in particular, enables obese women to continue in an unhealthy lifestyle. There has to be a balanced way to say this and to say it with love. Although that message might not have been the one she's trying to get across, I think she missed a big opportunity here to address it with the same love and grace that she talks about modesty later on in the book.

That said, I really think Ms. Braendel's book is an excellent resource and covers a variety of styles, age groups, sizes and ethnicities. I am positive that women will be blessed to read the book and, perhaps, even schedule Shari to visit a local womens' function as a guest speaker.

Please click here to visit Amazon.com and order Good Girls Don't Have to Dress Bad. I've also included a list of other bloggers who are reviewing the book this week below.

As I said before, there are a few sites I love for fashionably modest dresses and skirts. First off, Etsy will almost always have something folksy and funky that I find perfect! Secondly, it is not too difficult to figure out how to make your own clothing. That is my preference and that way I can style it however I choose! A few sites you may not be familiar with are:



  1. good morning - I am 'blog hopping' and I came across your blog. Your photo for Blue Monday is very sweet. This book sounds very interesting. I have a 12 yr old daughter (and two much younger daughters) and I struggle a little, she is stick thin and hasn't begun to look womanly at all. I am not obese but I am very curvy. I have always believed and told my sisters and daughters that 'how you cover what you cover is more attractive than what you show' but where to set boundries as my daughter enters the world of teenagers? As a public school attendee she is exposed to so many styles and so many express a lack of self respect. We talk less about modesty, she is very modest, and more about wearing clothes that look like you care about yourself instead of some 'artsy' but cheap looking outfit.

  2. Hi,

    I'm glad you discovered my blog :) It is a difficult thing sometimes to try and make boundaries without crushing the spirit, creativity or individualism of your daughter. When I was growing up, my mom and I clashed on clothing all the time and she finally gave up (I was way too young when she gave up...like 9 or 10) and my style of dress got me into A LOT of trouble! :( I don't want to go that direction with my daughters. I've set firm rules about what is and isn't appropriate for modesty's sake but have, so far, let her put together her own outfits. It's hard sometimes to let her go out in what she's chosen and, now and then, I'll tactfully suggest that red and pink sorta clash (HA!)...but, for the most part, she does ok. The thing I've got to remember is that, ultimately, I want her style to be a reflection of her---not of me. If I can balance giving her that freedom without letting her cross modesty boundaries, then I think we'll be good! :) Luckily, this first daughter is even more modest than me---we'll see about the next two! :)

    Thanks for stopping by---I appreciate your comments and interest. Have a wonderful day!


  3. I wonder if it would be good for Chrysti and me to read. Sounds like a good book. :)


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Mrs. Sarah Coller

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