That Extra Half an Inch by Victoria Beckham
A bestseller in the U.K., Victoria Beckham’s That Extra Half an Inch: Hair, Heels, and Everything in Between has now been tailored to the U.S.A. This new edition features an introductory "Letter to America" declaring Victoria’s love for "the whole American shopping experience." However, readers will still have opportunities to try on curious words, such as "mumsy," and "splodges."
Co-written by Hadley Freeman, the book is dedicated to Victoria’s mum, her "first fashion guru." In fact, Victoria’s earliest "make-up memory" is of her mother rubbing lipstick on her cheeks before school (though she jokes that her real mother was Joan Collins). A spicy shout out is also given to Geri, Emma, and Melanies B and C. For those wondering how to take the title, she clarifies: "I’m actually talking about high heels. OK, so it’s a bit tongue-in-cheek–but that’s what it’s all about." Bend it like Beckham indeed.
That Extra Half an Inch gives fashion tips from head to toe, including hair, make-up, and accessories. There’s even advice on pregnancy and "cramming nappies and baby bottles into a little Fendi bag." Each chapter is followed by 2 pages of blank-ruled paper for any hardcore note-taking shoppers. Chapters include "style no-nos", "top-tips" and have as many photos as a glossy magazine. A "Where to Buy" section in the back is heavy on London shops, but includes addresses in Milan, Paris, Glasgow, Dublin, Los Angeles, New York, and other shopping stomping grounds.
Despite Victoria’s posh lifestyle, she argues, not always convincingly, that she’s just an ordinary girl. "I’m not a 6-foot-tall model, nor am I a pin-up for men, and, for this book, that’s my strength, because I’m a girl’s girl." Favorite clothes? Jeans. Favorite food? Toast. She delivers some well-grounded one-liners, such as "looking good isn’t about money, it’s about style" and "second-hand doesn’t mean second class."
A sense of humor often shows through Victoria’s practical advice: "If you get highlights, always get subtle ones, not the weird zebra stripes; just go for a shade or two lighter than your normal colour." And, "If the idea of wearing a size 14 freaks you out, don’t try to squeeze into a 12; buy the size that fits and cut out the label. Life’s challenging enough, why be challenged by your clothes?" Some of her words have a confessional quality: "Ask yourself if you have a make-up crutch…mine is definitely lipliner." And, "I personally struggle with flat boots." Talk about retail therapy.
Victoria says don’t wear push-up bras under tight t-shirts. "What you should be aiming for is a nice simple line, not trying to hoik your boobs up your nostrils." Any number of photos of her own buoyant breasts would suggest she’s guilty of not always following this advice.
If beauty can’t be created without suffering, what trauma helped create Posh Spice? "When i was a teenager I had so many spots I could barely put a pin between them, it was just awful." It turned out Victoria’s teenage acne was caused by food allergies, and cleared up with a different diet. But perhaps the defining moment in Victoria’s young fashion life occurred when she was given a Gucci carrier bag by her mother’s friend. "I loved that bag and carried all my school books round in it." This could be the backstory of a shopping mall superhero: Gucci Girl.
That Extra Half an Inch is for "girl’s who love fashion," and they are bound to enjoy rummaging through it. Victoria points out that "fashion is about looking like you," and warns readers not to feel pressured to look a certain way. Unfortunately, that message may be too big for these clothes.