Book review and give away!! Vintage Style, Iconic Fashion Looks and How to Get Them

The lovely folks at Carlton Books have very kindly given me a copy of Vintage Style, Iconic Fashion Looks and How to Get Them by Sarah Kennedy to review.  What’s more, they’ve also given me five – yes five – copies of the book to give away.  So first, let’s get down to the review and then if you’d love the chance to get your hands on your very own copy, read on…

Firstly, there’s been a lot of buzz around this book, with British Vogue recently listing it in their guide of books to curl up and read at Christmas.  The cover of the book, as you may have realised, is the gorgeous Debbie Harry.  Now, while she may not be my personal style icon, she is, without doubt, certainly an icon.  As soon as I got the book in the post, the first thing I did was to open it up to find what reference had been made to Debbie Harry.  Straight away, it was obvious this was going to be a style book with a difference. 

There’s twenty‑five women used in this book to demonstrate different eras and looks, from the twenties to the nineties.  There’s a good deal of detail about their lives and the impact their look had on the fashion‑scene at the time.  Within each icon section, there’s also bullet‑points to key looks, style and beauty tips, key designers of the time and shopping advice.  For example, with Debbie Harry there’s a guide to achieving smoky eyes and hot red lips.  So, which other icons has the author selected to illustrate style through the decades? 

  •  Louise Brooks: Flapper
  •  Jean Harlow: Tea Dancer
  •  Marlene Dietrich: Femuline
  •  Wallace Simpson: Mistress
  •  The Mitford Sisters: English Aristo
  •  Marilyn Monroe: Goddess
  •  Audrey Hepburn: IngĂ©nue
  •  Grace Kelly: Ice Princess
  •  Elizabeth Taylor: Hollywood Glamour
  •  Jackie O: American Classic
  •  Brigitte Bardot: Bombshell
  •  Twiggy: Ultra Mod
  •  Jean Shrimpton: British Classic
  •  Marianne Faithfull: Rock and Roll Girlfriend
  •  Talitha Getty: Boho Contessa
  •  Francois Hardy: Euro Chic
  •  Bianca Jagger: Studio 54
  •  Grace Slick: Combat Chic
  •  Joan Jett: Rock Chick
  •  Debbie Harry: New Wave
  •  Lauren Hutton: Simply Seventies
  •  Diana Ross: Diva
  •  Kate Bush: Free Spirit
  •  Molly Ringwald: Indie Girl
  •  Cindy Crawford: Glamazon
Picking out a few of the icons I particularly enjoyed reading, I found the Louise Brooks: Flapper chapter very interesting.  The Roaring Twenties is not really one of my go-to eras, so I found this full of useful detail and beautiful illustrations.  Within each chapter there’s a quote from each iconic lady, maybe this one from Louise Brooks appealed to me due to the time of year?!

“A well-dressed woman, even though her purse is painfully empty, can conquer the world.”

Moving on, the chapter Jean Harlow: Tea Dancer, discusses how fashion evolved from the twenties to the thirties and very helpfully suggests some films worth watching if you do aspire to achieve the Harlow look.  There’s also some history on the Marcel Wave and the history of tongs, with the book frighteningly informing the reader that

“in the early days, tongs were heated over a gas burner and first tested on paper: if they burned a hole, the tongs had to be cooled down before being applied to the hair.”

Eek! If you do want to give finger waves a try without the use of a hot appliance, then there is a tutorial in this section.  Now I can tell you from experience that finger waves take practice.  It always looks simple in books, but if you do want to try this look, I really would advise that you have a practice run before an actual big  event. 

The chapter with Bridget Bardot: Bombshell, sees the author describe Bardot as an “antidote to Hollywood vamp glam”. I think that's a perect description. Bardot was certainly something very different to the likes of Marilyn Monore and Elizabeth Taylor with their curves, sets and lipstick. This section includes tutorials on how to get the Bardot Face, with cat eye eyeliner and that famous pout. 

It’s actually very difficult for me not to run through every icon in this book because there really is something worthy of discussion in each chapter.  What I really liked about the book is that whilst every chapter includes a tutorial of some kind, it’s not just a 'how-to' book. 

Whizzing forward to the chapters covering the eighties and the nineties….vintage lovers can often raise eyebrows when the eighties gets mentioned.  Personally, I wear quite a lot of eighties clothes but I wear pieces that reflect back to the forties and fifties.  There’s always fashion trends that lend themselves to previous decades.  How this book covers the eighties, though, is to choose the Indie Girl look, which I actually think is quite an inspired choice, because although it’s not my cup of tea, when you walk through the street, you do see this look on teens today a lot.  So if like me you read the list of icons and saw Molly Ringwald’s name and thought “really?”, well I can honestly say that having read that chapter in full, I get what the author is trying to demonstrate. 

The book is as much about the history of fashion as it is about inspiring the reader to experiment with a look.  It’s an informative look at fashion through the decades and whether you decide, as I did, to read the book from cover-to-cover or just dip in and out of the sections, you won’t be disappointed. With an RRP of £20, it may not be the cheapest book out there but it's packed with not just ideas but historical facts. It’s a beautifully illustrated guide to fashion, that casts its definition of “icon” as widely as possible to cater for every taste.  It's a book I would recommend adding to your book wish list.  

If you’d like to win one of five copies of this book (UK entries only on this give-away), then here’s how.  Firstly, all you need to do is follow the Missy Vintage blog using any or all of the following methods:

Google Friend Connect (the box is on the right hand side of the screen)
- Twitter (don't forget to tell me your twitter name)
- or subscribe via email (this box is also on the right hand side of the screen)

Secondly, you then need to leave me a comment on this blog post with your name, tell me how you follow the blog (list all the ways, each follow is one entry so there’s a possible four entries per person!) when leaving your comment why not tell me who your style icon is.  It can be anyone who inspires you, Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russell, Cheryl Cole, your mum.... me ;o)

 *It's really easy to leave a comment: where you see the 'comment as' under the comment box  a drop down box opens -  if none of the options apply to you, just select annonymous - but remember to leave your name!*

Five winners will be picked at random using random.org.  This competition runs from today right now! (Monday 23 January 2012) to midnight on Friday 27 January. 

Each method of following equals one entry, but only one book can be won per person.  If the same person is randomly selected more than once, another name will be selected instead. 

I will announce the five lucky winners on Saturday 28 January 2012.  If you are on Twitter, then why not follow the Carlton Books PR team This week, they’re having a special vintage week so there’s no better time to follow and see exclusive tweets about vintage goings-on. (You may have started to see the hashtag #VINTAGEWEEK bouncing around twitter already!) 

Good luck everyone! 

Vintage Style by Sarah Kennedy, published by Carlton Books, £20, is available in all good book shops and online now.


  1. Hi- sounds an interesting read! I follow you using my google reader and twitter (@perditaspursuit). :)

  2. Hello lovely lady!
    I follow you on twitter (@beccaspeaks)
    I just signed up by email and I also follow you on facebook! (am starting to feel like a MASSIVE stalker now!)

    I think the woman whose style I'd most like to emulate is Nigella, but alas, my curves are slightly buried!
    B xx

  3. Hey Kerry, I follow you on Twitter (@LaBlackDahlia). Style icons? Hmm... many, but Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby is a particular favourite. Got to represent the short haired gals! Kate x

  4. Consider yourself duly liked on Facebook as well now! Kate x

  5. Hello lovely I follow you on twitter @missemmalou1710 and @teainthecity it would simply be spiffing to win one of these delicious books! I raise a cup of earl grey to you in anticipation.
    Toodle pip

  6. I follow you on Facebook. This book sounds wonderful! Madonna used to be my icon when I was a teenager! Nina Jane Cooper x

  7. Hi Kerry
    Following on fb @fabulousmissk or karen james welton.

    Style Icon - varies to how I am feeling at the moment it is my mum and Wallis Simpson K xx

  8. following you on gfc , liked on facebook and following on twitter


  9. Hello! Liked you on Facebook as Kirsty Gillmore and following you on Twitter as honeywilde! x

  10. I follow on FB! I do also check back here everyday but alas I don't "follow" as such so that won't count!! LOL!

    When I first glanced at the header for this review I didn't think it would appeal to me but on reading it sounds fab!! Might add to my Amazon wish list just in case!

    Style icon....hmmmm? If I ever get a "make over" it's always bloomin' Marilyn (it's the blonde hair) so if it's on who I think "wow!" to, it has to be Debbie Harry...which is so different to my 40s/50s style.

  11. I follow in my RSS reader and on Twitter (@Laurie_Callsen). Would love to add this book to my collection!

  12. Ooh, this book looks lovely! I follow your fabulous blog on blogger, and on facebook. X

  13. I love how this book has lots of historial info in it as well - looks fantastic! I follow you on twitter @flamingoamy, have subcribed to the email and have liked your page on FB. One of my style icons has to be Betty Grable - her films were so ornate with some breath taking comstumes and incredible hair.c

  14. Squee!!!! I SO want this book!
    I follow you via Google & Twitter,darl!And Farcebook,I think!!!
    All under Helga von Trollop.
    Pretty much every lady they've chosen ROCKS!XXXXX

  15. Fabulous review - and what an awesome book! Would love to be in with a chance of winning. I follow your blog and twitter. Scarlett x

  16. Lovely, lovely prize... I follow you here and on fb, Missy Vintage on twitter I am @hoogervaaner and I rock a Louise Brooks: Flapper bob with Audrey stying and Molly attitude!!!

  17. Loving your review of this book and it has gone onto my Amazon Wish List in readiness for my birthday in April! I follow you on Facebook because I am too technically inept to figure out how to follow you any other way!! Keep doing what you're doing because you do it sooooo well!! Oh and my style icon is my fantastic sister who manages to combine timeless elegance with up to date rock on chic!

  18. I follow you via Facebook. My vintage style icon is Jackie O and my modern day style icon is Zooey Deschanel. Two totally different looks but I love them both :-)

  19. I'm following your blog. My vintage style icons are Doris Day and The Glam Cabs Girls in Carry On Cabby... oh and Quaint Irene from Mapp and Lucia.

  20. I follow you on facebook, blog loving (subscribed) and have signed up to your blog updates via barbarella_music@hotmail.co.uk

    Love your blog!

    Style icon - Vanessa Paradis, Mariannne Faithful and all of the rolling stones girlfriends... xx
    Christina Barbian
    Thanks, Christina x

  21. That white dress is so stunning <3

  22. following you on facebook, no one style icon, i like to cherry pick the parts that i like. mazzy xx

  23. I follow you on facebook and on email. This might sound a bit odd, but Tina Fey is a style icon for me, partly because I think funny women are where it's at. She can look incredibly glamorous on the red carpet, but can be witty, self-aware and self-depricating about the whole process of beauty, fashion and glamour which is I think helps me be aware of style as something to play with rather than be bound by. She rocks the casual look a lot, and makes glasses smart and sexy at the same time.

  24. liked on facebook. thanks for fab blog and books xx

  25. Anon who just left a comment to be entered can you please come back and levae me a name! thank you :O)

  26. Following via GFC ( Melanie ), Have liked on FB, signed up via email & following on Twitter @ MelJanie. My style icon is Kelly Brook

  27. I follow on facebook - I don't really have a style icon i a quite eclectic lol. I have retweeted too @karacariad x

  28. following on facebook as Sharon Griffin

  29. Following on GFC & twitter. Love the blog, am a huge fan of all things vintage! x

  30. I'd give my right arm for that book, fab blog, great comp x

  31. I’m following you on Twitter as @00annabellee00, I like your Facebook page as Annabel Lee,I am following you on GFC as Annabel Lee AND and also subscribe via email.

    My name is not in fact Annabel Lee it is Gillian Holmes :)

    And my style icon is an amalgam of Ditta and Dolly!

  32. Hello!

    I like you on facebook.
    Follow you on twitter as @LaurenEph.
    Connected on GFC and just signed up to your emails to make sure I get your posts! (Not stalking, I promise!)

    No real style icon - quite new to vintage. I adore Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn and would love this book to open my eyes :) Thank you x

  33. I follow on GFC as lil_devil
    I think the style icon is Grace Kelly. She always looked stunning

  34. Following via GFC as laurastewardcomp
    My style icon is my friend Jenni - she always looks like she's made zero effort but stylishly so.

  35. Hi I am followin this blog via:-

    GFC - robertfox24
    Twitter - @bloomingfox
    Facebook - Kirsty Fox
    Email - robertfox24 [AT] aol [DOT] com

    My style icon is Audrey Hepburn

  36. I follow with GFC (pooterpinky)
    Facebook (melissa hall)
    Twitter Pinkkittcatt

    I think my style icon would be Debbie Harry , I loved her bleach blonde hair, smokey eyes and tight jeans. She;s got a reall attitude! <3

  37. Hello, just started following your facebook really interesting and well put togther, I think our greatest style icons are of the 50's and we were spoilt for chice ie Jane Russell, Maryilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and Liz Taylor etc still all talk about today,I think Joan Collins is a fashion icon too, as she always loooks and acts immaculate and feminine

  38. Following your blog. This book looks fab, would love to win it.

  39. oldwalshy
    entered for my step daughter, who has a shrine to marilyn monroe,

  40. oldwalshy
    followed with tweet/shared on facebook

  41. I follow you by e-mail
    and on Facebook (Hazel Rea)
    and on GFC

    My style icon is Audrey Hepburn - so classic!

    @beachrambler on Twitter (google e-mail account not working for me at the minute)

  42. I am now following you on twitter @sugarbuttieUK

  43. following you on twitter @celianeh :)

  44. hello! I follow on facebook (as olivia kirby)
    i subscribe by email (oliviamcc@tiscali.co.uk)
    i follow on twitter @olivia280177
    i follow on GFC as oliviamcc
    My vintage style icon is Audrey Hepburn. Today, I like Nicola Roberts' style.

  45. fab looks great :?)
    im following blog j-lo.ass :)

  46. oooh im sarahclegg2 on twitter xx

  47. following on twitter - sarahmcilvenny

  48. Hi Missy, I have to say this book sounds amazing, I actually LOVE the idea that they've done it with icons and as Molly Ringwald is in several of my favourite films from my youth I'd be really interested to see what they make of her style.

    I already follow by GFC, and follow you on FB and Twitter (@FHCShopping) but I will also subscribe to your email updates as I really want to win!

    I don't really have one influence on my style as it depends on my mood but I do love the way Kate Moss puts an outfit together, regardless of what people say about her. (We are not similar in figure however!). I also liked Shirley Manson a lot when I was younger, along with film characters like MRS Mia Wallace from Pulp Fiction, Alabama from True Romance...

  49. Hey! I've followed....

    1. On blogger! (xbeautybee)
    2. On Twitter! @lucybee89
    3. Subscribed via email: lhb89@hotmail.co.uk
    4. liked on facebook! :)

    Style icon would probably be.....Grace kelly, I looooove the 'ice princess' style and sheek look :)

    Fingers crossed!

  50. Francesca Bickley26 January 2012 at 16:44

    I follow by twitter (@cescawork) and facebook too :)

  51. Hi my twitter is Emma Hart x

  52. am following by

    1. Google Friend Connect
    2. Facebook
    3. Twitter

    my style icon is my daughter who loves all things vintage and will love this book for her birthday March 2nd

  53. Liked, followed and signed up. Fab competition :) *x*x*

  54. I follow on:
    1. facebook
    2. and GFC
    3. and on twitter (@jardieni)

  55. Google Friend Connect Alison Wakefield
    Facebook Alison Wakefield
    Twitter @couesquelan

    My inspiration is Cheryl Cole think she is such a lovely person

  56. My style icon is definitely Audrey Hepburn. I sure don't have her delicate frame and cheekbones, but the glamour of Holly Golightly is timeless. Followed on Facebook.

  57. Added to Google Friend connect.

  58. Subscribed to email. Thanks, and good luck to all.

  59. My icon is Mila Kunis, I think she wears some really gorgeous outfits and looks fab in just jeans and boots.

    I have followed you on GFC (Laura Carroll),
    on Facebook (Laura Carrol)
    on Twitter (@Laura_Cookies)
    and subscribed (the naughty_crazy_minx address!)

    That's a lot of following :D

  60. Following on GFC as Natasha Gandy.

    My style icon is Gwen Steffani - amazing !!

  61. Signed up by email and following on FaceBook too - Natasha Gandy x

  62. Sue Darling

    Following on Facebook.

    I think it would have to be Grace Kelly but I don't really have one favourite person or style. I just take what I like and try to create a vintage style of my own.

  63. Following on Twitter and Facebook. Edie Sedgwick is probably top of my pops.

  64. @katster following on twitter and liking on facebook :D My style icon would have to marilyn munroe, such a gorgeous woman.

  65. Following with GFC as M.

  66. Have liked on Facebook as Maya Russell.

  67. Following on Twitter as @maisietoo.
    My style icon is my sister.

  68. I wouldn't say I had a style icon. There are a lot of good ones out there but I don't tend to follow anyone. I like quite a few different styles anyway. I'd say Audrey Hepburn couldn't help but look graceful. I like the way Drew Barrymore dresses too, a relaxed coolness. Plus, Kate Moss makes anything look stylish. There are plenty to choose from though!

    Following through GFC.

  69. subscribed via email.looks like a really good book, both audrey hepburn and grace kelly were beautiful stylish women.

  70. subscribed via e-mail. Both grace kelly and audrey hepburn were beautiful, stylish women but i think marilyn monroe is the tops by far!

  71. I wish I had the patience to look at glamourous as Bettie Page

  72. I wish I had the time to look as glamourous as Bettie Page

  73. Absolutely LOVE this blog... liking on fb as Minnie Whittaker, on Twitter as @mawhittaker and signed up for newsletter. Looking forward to reading more

  74. style icon ...vivian westwood for the ability to challenge every rule. Even now as someone trying to SELL clothes she is encouraging people to recycle, use vintage and create their own fashion. GENIUS

  75. following you on twitter @gumbie23 and GFC helen.rhoads@btinternet.com, would love this book my style icon would have to be Audrey Hepburn

  76. Hi!

    What an inspirational book! I would LOVE to have a copy of this to have as a source of inspiration :)

    I'm following via Google Friend Connect
    I'm following your Facebook
    I'm following you on Twitter (@KookyKaty)
    I've subscribed via email
    I'm also following via Bloglovin' :)

    My style icon since I was young is Audrey Hepburn!

    Fingers crossed xx

  77. What a lovely book to settle down with on a cold winter night

  78. Am following on Twitter @DaisyBeeFull :)

  79. on gfc @beckydowney I think Nicole Richie or Reece Witherspoon!

  80. Following you on facebook :) I would love this book! My style icon would have to be Kate Moss, I would love to be able to look catwalk-ready in my jeans like she does.....

  81. following on Twitter (@Nexus3001) and Facebook (david@driley.co.uk) =)

  82. Hmm style icon - audrey hepburn, altho I'm no where near as stylish at that!
    I'm following you on here :)

  83. following via google connect as clairew137/clairew137@yahoo.co.uk

  84. Following via twitter - @clairew137

  85. Liked on FB as claire woods / clairewoods32@yahoo.co.uk


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