The Looks Book

by Esther Drill, Heather MacDonald, Rebecca Odes

Cover of the Looks Book.

[I]deas and ideals aren't real. You are. So, define your own beauty for yourself. Beauty isn't just an idea. It's your idea.
––The Looks Book, Introduction creators Drill, MacDonald and Odes created this book as an antidote to the sometimes puzzling and contradictory messages that teenage girls receive about their looks. The book is extensive, and covers everything from the psychology behind beauty to the health of a person to the philosophy different ideals expressed.

The book is written in an even and clear style. It's directed at teenagers but doesn't talk down to them. It's full of colorful illustrations and sidebars, which makes it a fun flip-through book.

The Looks Book is divided into three sections. The first section covers the history and science of beauty. Why do we find some things beautiful? Does everyone find the same things beautiful? And what is a beauty ideal? If these questions interest you, this book is worth buying for this first section alone. It's thought provoking without being pedantic, and it will point you in the direction of further research.

The second section covers different parts of the body: lips, eyes, breasts, the mouth, the feet, and so on. Every body part gets a two page spread, with quotes from users about their bodies, as well as a discussion of the function of that body part, and when and where it was found beautiful. The section on breasts, for example, describes when certain breast sizes were fashionable, and why.

The third section chronicles many different "looks," or beauty ideals, such as androgynous, bombshell, babydoll, ice princess, and so on. These looks will feature an illustration with every aspect (eye makeup, dress, shoes and so on) labeled and described. Some sections also feature pictures of famous celebrities who popularized these looks.

I would recommend the Looks Book for any teenage girl––or any grown woman––struggling with self-image. As the book's authors point out, people care about how they look whether or not it's kosher, or ideologically correct. Instead of hurling invective against "the media" or our "thin-obsessed culture," the authors take a rational approach to beauty, body image and style.

Buy The Looks BookCreativity Books) on

Related Reading:

Riot Grrrl Style, Fashion and Self-Expression

Style and Learned Ugliness

Black Lipstick

Debbie Harry

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