Just breathe. It's almost holiday time again. You might not be able to control whether the Christmas lights are perfectly strung, and you really have very little say in whether your crotchety aunt ruins yet another family get-together. But you can assert yourself by choosing just the right gift book for the lady in your life whether spouse, grandmother, girlfriend or sister.
Start with a topic dear to the heart of most females: clothes. Some of the women we know could use a fashion reality check do they really need that seventh pair of Levi's? Authors Andrea Linett and Kim France think they might be better off investing in a new coat, and they're not afraid to say so. The Lucky Shopping Manual: Building and Improving Your Wardrobe Piece by Piece is a priceless guide for those who don't have a natural intuition for whether they're better suited for A-line or empire waist and especially for those who don't even know what those terms mean. The book breaks down clothing by category, from dresses to pants to swimsuits. Sleek, precise illustrations show how to put together an outfit that suits any body type and attitude. The book also profiles several fashionistas, delving into the closets of clothing designer Shoshanna Lonstein and journalist Carlota Espinosa, among others. France and Linett, editors at shopping magazine Lucky, don't mince words when it comes to fashion. The advice in this book is invaluable, from when to splurge (a good cashmere sweater, a timeless watch) to how to organize your newly fabulous wardrobe (hint: if you haven't worn it in the last two years, it might be time to part ways). Fair warning, though: the authors' joy for fashion is contagious. Reading this book will make you want to burn your closet and head for the nearest department store.
All Amy Scribner wants from Santa is less traffic on the Washington, D.C., Beltway.