Book Shelf: Shoestring Chic

Book Shelf: Shoestring Chic
Australian fashion illustrator Kerrie Hess currently resides in Paris, where she takes great pleasure in the first crack of a crème brûlée's burned-sugar top, biting into a super-sweet macaroon at Ladurée and sipping the perfect creamy cappuccino midmorning, according to her new book Shoestring Chic: 101 Ways to live the luxe life for less ($25.95; Skirt! Books).

Covering all manner of consumptive subjects in the frame of frugality with a high-end sensibility, from the bargain bliss of Uniqlo to store card caveats, Hess suggests that "certain trends exist purely to make us feel foolish once the look has passed – especially when we realise that we actually paid money to essentially look ridiculous".

Like many of the noteable names who have contributed their two cents for achieving "Gucci taste on a Gap budget", including designer Gail Elliott, makeup artist Jemma Kidd, InStyle Australia art director Jo Upfill-Brown and Vogue Australia's features editor Alex Spring, Hess has dedicated herself to cultivating life's little indulgences on financial scale commensurate with her means supplementing, for example, the purchase of a Hermes bikini at Bergdorf's for a coffee and lemon souffle at the store's level-seven restaurant.

"A foolproof (and equally enjoyable) shopping diversion is to meet up with a friend for a coffee instead or take yourself to your favourite cafe and languish over something utterly delectable while poring over a magazine or a good book," she suggests in 'Shopping Exorcism'. "These options are much less expensive than bingeing on Balmain, and usually a little time to yourself can be the biggest luxury of all."

And Hess would know – she's a mum to Marcel, the "little man" in her life who has taught her that blowing raspberries and running around in the park on a sunny day is the greatest luxury. Time, she says, is the greatest indulgence of all: "for all the designer goods in the world, whether on sale or at full price, the real luxury is being able to carve out a moment or two in life to actually enjoy it."

On that note, this is the perfect little book to stash in your handbag for reading over a luxurious coffee on a Saturday morning (my idea of true decadence). And to finish with a little indulgence of my own: there's a wee mention of GWAS in the 'Blog Love' section, preceding 'Flower Power' and 'Picnic Luxe'. Blush. Merci, Ms Hess.

You might also like these titles from the GWAS Book Shelf:
Losing It In France by Sally Asher
A Well Dressed Wife by Anne Fogarty
Emma Plant's Fashionable Four
Maggie Alderson's Style Notes

Girl With a Satchel