Nina Garcia's Look Book: A Guide to Latina Style

First of all, I think you need to know that I love Project Runway. I don't even consider it to be a guilty pleasure. Tim Gunn is my pretend gay boyfriend. (Isn't he everyone's?) But as much as I love Tim, my one true love is Nina Garcia. It doesn't hurt that I just knew she was Colombian from the moment I saw her. (I guess it takes one to know one!)

And, OK, I also love how she looks like she would cut anyone that dared to call her a "hot tamale" or some other ignorant nonsense. I hate, HATE, the stereotype of the sluttily dressed latin woman -- mostly because it's so far from the truth. Most latin women are pretty conservative dressers. If this surprises you, you need to stop watching Telemundo and hang out with more of us.


From the second I sat down to read my review copy of her latest book I felt like I was back in Miami talking to my girlfriends. Nina is the quintessential Colombian woman -- unapologetic in her love of salsa music and buñuelos. She also teaches you how to look sexy while always dressing appropriately. It's a nifty trick, and one that proves that sexiness comes from your brain and not from spandex.

About the book: It's set up like a reference guide, and it gives you advice on what to wear to specifc occassions, from the expected (what to wear on your first day at a new job) to the ridiculous (I mean, what to wear to therapy? really?) You might be surprised to learn that Nina's tone is less snobby editrix and more wise older sister. She also reveals a wicked sense of humor (a necessity if you're going to be brave enough to be stylish in the real world).

But most of all, she revels in all the little luxuries that come with being a woman.

Look ladies, we have it tougher than the guys. It's true. Which is why I think it's essential that we indulge ourselves in ways that are uniquely female whenever we can. Pampering yourself, playing with makeup, dressing up -- I suppose men can do it too, but no one does it better than a woman. This is common sense to most Hispanic women I know, but it seems to cause unnecessary guilt among my other friends -- so many of them are terrified of looking like they made an effort to look good.

It breaks my heart, it really does.

Ladies, relax. It's OK to enjoy the glamorous side of life. You can be successful and wear lip gloss. Nina says so.


Some of my favorite passages from the book:

"Overbearing, too-stringent rules are the enemy of true style"

"True style is not about having a closet full of expensive and beautiful things, it is instead about knowing when, where, and how to utilize your collection."

(About dressing for school events) "Don't be a MILF: Just be a regular mom."

Amen to that.