Today's Wall Street Journal has a column titled "How To Walk Like A Model." Writer Vanessa O'Connell interviews Jessica Stam, "one of fashion's most-sought models." Ms. Stam is also known as the model who tripped and fell on the runway at the Chloé Fall 2006 show in Paris. Wow. How did she deal? "I fell and got back up," she says. "I kept walking." Gasp! Absolutely ground-breaking. Earth-shattering, even. She got back up. We never would have thought of that. Thank God for Jessica Stam, and for the Wall Street Journal, for reporting such life-changing information. And for being an expert. On walking. But Stam isn't the only one who wants to tell us what to do: The style advice book industry is booming, according to another column in the Journal. Charla Krupp's How Not To Look Old is the top-selling fashion and beauty book on Amazon right now. Paige Adams-Geller of Paige Premium Denim has just written a book called Your Perfect Fit. In stylist Sherrie Mathieson's book, Forever Cool, makeovers of real people show "how to achieve ageless, youthful and modern personal style." And there's more.
In fact, Amazon lists 525,000 books on "style." Brinkley notes that most of these guides are targeted at women over 35. Edward Ash-Milby, a buyer for Barnes & Noble Inc. says, "I do think as our society ages, we'll see more of these books. It's a trend that continues to grow." So even though they've been at it longer than youngsters, middle-aged people don't know how to dress? Bullshit! But more importantly: Why is everyone a damn "expert" these days? Why does everyone think they have great advice? How can a woman whose job it is to walk FALL on a runway and still be considered the go-to authority on walking? And even though all of this "advice" seems pointless, why are lots of women buying it?