Lifestyles: Style, decoded
Andrea Linett, the founding creative director of Lucky, knows a few things about style—and she knows plenty of other smart women who do, too. Here, she gathers their wisdom, along with plenty of photos shot by her husband, Michael Waring, for a crash course on building a wardrobe and achieving a personal aesthetic that seems as natural as breathing. The Cool Factor is actually cool—and not your typical style guide—in part because the “models” are real women whose ages range from the mid-20s to mid-70s, and because, Linett explains in her introduction, “being cool doesn’t involve wearing certain labels, but rather knowing what works for you—even if it’s a piece from a dorky line.” I was surprised to see her give the thumbs-up to the “Canadian Tuxedo” (denim on top and bottom); not so shocked to see lots and lots of neutrals. Here’s one surefire tip: Get yourself a classic trench coat. “Any outfit you slip one over becomes more serious and a bit more French.”
RUN TO THE HILLS
First published in 1979 as Backwoods Ethics, Laura and Guy Waterman’s newly updated The Green Guide to Low-Impact Hiking and Camping is for avid hikers, backpackers and backcountry campers, but those new to outdoor pursuits will certainly glean knowledge from its pages. The Watermans write with wry humor, yet they are quite serious in their efforts to address the environmental impact of and ethical questions surrounding backwoods exploration today. Reliance on GPS is just one example of how wilderness exploration has changed. “All you have to do is keep your eyes on the screen,” Laura Waterman writes. “But by letting [a GPS] do the work, two things happen: Our skill level with map and compass drops, and we change the relationship we have to the land itself.” The authors also take a close look at the environmental impact of four trends: bushwhacking, growing numbers of rock climbers, the presence of dogs on trails and winter camping. For anyone who loves to experience the natural, wild world up close, this is a must-read.
TOP PICK IN LIFESTYLES
The other day, I had a broken dimmer switch. It’s fixed now, thanks to a 10-minute visit from an electrician—but if I’d had David and Sharon Bowers’ The Useful Book, I could have saved myself a chunk of change. Aiming to fill the educational gap left by all those home ec and shop classes no one takes anymore, this aptly named tome gathers a dizzying array of how-tos: everything from folding a fitted sheet to caulking a bathtub, making a household budget to building a table and 197 other skills, projects and repairs that, once mastered, should leave you feeling brilliantly self-sufficient. I almost can’t wait to successfully remove ketchup from a white shirt or knead bread dough or . . . yeah, make that budget. As for cleaning the coffeemaker and catching mice—well, let’s just say I’m not the only one in my household who can benefit from this book. Also, those in need of a handy graduation gift? Your work is done.