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Books for Looks

Humor and Down-to-Earth Advice for Debs


The Debutante's Guide to Life by Cornelia Guest and Carol McD. Wallace escorted by Jon J. Gould (Fawcett Columbine: $6.95).

This is a fun book with perhaps the most honest fashion advice printed this side of a Levi's 501 Jeans label.

Consider Guest and Co.'s rationale for debs not wearing black and sequins before the age of 20: "A debutante isn't supposed to look like a divorcee. . . . Sequins are tacky before you're 20. Also really short skirts, or anything too low cut, or some dowager will say you look like a streetwalker. What do they know about streetwalkers, anyway?"

And how about this opinion on how relatively simple it is for the debs' escorts: "Oh, it's so easy for the men. Look, if you speak normal English and don't wear a polyester tuxedo and can remember a few names, you've got it made. Nobody cares who you are or where you came from as long as you wear pants and can fox trot."

Though debutante fashions are technically confined to the chapter titled "Deb Dressing," the subject comes up in virtually every area covered by the book.

In "Life After Deb," for instance, there's a section on dressing post-deb, in which the authors say "one of the nicest things about being a post-deb is freedom from all those stupid strictures about what one can't wear. . . . (good girls love to dress like tramps)."

This refreshing, self-mocking tone persists throughout the entire 124-page book.

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