Style Lite: Phillip Bloch Preaches The Shopping Diet: Spend Less & Get More

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Janine Falcon_Philip Bloch

I dawdled and dilly-dallied before finally getting up the nerve to stroll over to star stylist Phillip Bloch to chat him up about his book at a P&G Beauty press event earlier this week. After a convo with a lovely friend he'd called plain, and another to whom he'd made a "bumpit" remark about her hair, I fretted about my surely-out-of-place winter-friendly red scarf and made dang sure I had my makeup all prettied by pro Susana Hong first. This despite my friends' insistence that no matter what he'd said, the stylist was "so nice, not mean."

Bloch is known for his blunt critiques of who-wear-what, and his hide-little reactions to things he likes -- or not (my favourite is his on-air rolling-eyes response to Fashion Television's Jeanne Bekker answering her cel mid-interview with him at Toronto Fashion Week a few years back). One of the best-known A-lister stylists, Bloch has worked with a celebrated slew of top-billing types, including Jennifer Lopez, Halle Berry and Salma Hayek. He also clocked a number of years as a successful model.

And he was nice when I finally approached him to ask about The Shopping Diet: Spend Less & Get More. He says he wrote the book in response to what he saw as an obsession with designer labels, and related reports of school kids mugging each other for their too-pricey runners. "When I first had the idea for this book about four or five years ago, nobody wanted it," he told me. "Then two years ago, suddenly I had four publishers interested."

The Shopping Diet is filled with smart, practical and friendly shopping, style and wardrobe tips, from analyzing your spending patterns to closet makeovers to putting together easy work ensembles. Bloch takes on the role of helpful therapist to the chronic over-shopper, cautioning against "transfer[ring] your fashion shopping compulsion onto other goods," such as home-decor items -- or maybe cocktail rings, which I like to tell myself don't count. In one section, Bloch addresses that elusive "It Factor," and makes it seem not-so-elusive after all. Take note: "Everybody has the ability to possess and command their own It Factor."

Whether you've got a spendy habit or a yen for accessible style advice for any budget, The Shopping Diet is a handy "Blochbuster" guide -- your superstar expert-friend who tells you the truth for your own good but in kinder, more supportive words than you expect. A keeper.

For more on Phillip Bloch, visit PhillipBloch.com.