Good Girls Don’t Have to Dress Bad: A Review


This book is literally a treasure trove of practical help for women of all ages, sizes, and walks of life. I want to begin by saying that I did not get this book free for a review. I bought it the old fashioned way—all by myself—because my child-bearing days are over, and I have been left with a wardrobe sadly lacking in clothes that actually fit me anymore or that are reflective of who I am and what I love.

Just a Good Girl Dressing Bad. How Did I Get Here?

I hate shopping. I hate, hate, hate, HATE it.

First, it’s super boring.

Second, I am overwhelmed as soon as I walk into the mall. There are 5489 kajillion shops and clothing racks and colors and people. It’s an assault on the senses.

Third, it costs money.

Fourth, it requires decisions that I almost always regret because I have no idea what I’m doing.

Fifth, it reveals my ignorance in fashion.

Sixth, it makes me feel like a gerbil on a wheel because I rarely find what I’m looking for anyway.

Enter Good Girls Don’t Have to Dress Bad, a book written just for me—and anyone who can relate to some or all of the above.

The author, Shari Braendel, strives to teach Christian women how to accept and enjoy the unique body God gave them and how to dress in a way that accentuates that beauty and reflects the creativity of the Creator. She starts by asking, “What’s so Christian about looking good?”

She makes the point that since God’s word addresses both inward and outward beauty, so we ought to consider addressing them as well. Most of the time we get our fashion cues from Hollywood or magazines. She proposes that we learn what is beautiful by looking at beauty from God’s perspective. Since He is beautiful, loves beauty, and created each of us as beautiful, we can move forward from there, accepting our bodies, our colors, our hair types, our shapes, etc. and accentuating them in a way that honors Him and best represents Him to the world around us.

Practical Topics

1. Body Type

There are four body types to learn about, and she gives tips on how to (and how not to) dress for each type. I found out I have a “B” body type which means I gain weight primarily in my tummy area. Tucking things in is a huge “no-no” for me. If I wear a belt, it needs to be large and hang low at an angle. Accessorizing draws attention to the neckline and away from the belly area. Long scarves also do the trick, and full leg trousers with flat fronts (no pleats!) help minimize the full belly area. I love all the pictures too! It helps to see what she’s saying.

2. Colors

Here I learned that colors are critical! Spending money on clothes that make me look washed out or tired is, well, a waste of money. She gives a crash course on color analysis here and helps you figure out which category you fall into so you can invest your money in clothing that makes you look happy, alive, and vibrant.

I found out I’m a “soft.” The biggest thing I learned here is that black, for me, is OUT. And guess what color made up most of my wardrobe?! Since learning this, I’ve purposely added some of the colors that look best on me into my wardrobe – and WOW, what a difference this has made in my outlook on life. When I happen to see myself in a mirror, I’m amazed at how it takes off about 5 years – and even makes me look thinner and rosier. I love having learned this.

3. Accessories

Prior to reading this book, I had zero interest in accessories. I owned some because my mom and sisters would sometimes give me accessories for my birthday or at Christmas. But I hardly ever wore them, and I don’t know that I ever bought a pair of earrings or necklace for myself. Shari inspired me to try accessorizing more – so I have!

I really enjoy it and see how it adds a special “something” to the way I look when I walk out the door. I do remember reading a blog post somewhere where the writer shared that just putting on a big pair of hoop earrings made all the difference in how she felt even just walking around the house. SO TRUE! (Try it!)

She also uses this section to talk about STYLE. This was my favorite part of the whole book. Are you a Style Fashionista? A Classic Modern? A Pure Natural? A Creative Original? (Links will take you to her Pinterest boards for examples of each.) Once I realized that I was a Classic Modern, I was able to purposefully narrow down my shopping to stores that carry that type of clothing. (Yes—she lists stores for every budget in each style category.)

4. Personals

She gives some great advice on how to buy bras and swimwear.

5. Face and Hair

I enjoyed learning about face shape, what kinds of hair styles/cuts are best for different shapes, information about hair color, picking glasses, make up and skin care tips, etc. This section was chock full of good stuff.

6. Jeans

I realize not everyone reading this wears jeans, but I live in them. She’s got a whole chapter on how to choose a pair of jeans that are right for your body shape, including the brands (and the stores that carry them) that are best for each type of jean cut. She’s got selections for every budget.

7. Shopping Help

Boy, did I need this section. Not only does she help you figure out what you need and don’t need (I didn’t have a clue), but she passes on some great stuff to go over with your daughters to help them make wise clothing choices. Here are some of her topics of conversation (see the book for more details.)

The 5 B’s of Beauty

Be Yourself

Be Colorful

Be Satisfied with Your Body

Be Beautiful

Be Respectful

The Five Bs of Style

No Bra Straps

No Bust Exposure

No Bellies

No Bottoms

No Bubbling

In summary, I would say this book had the most helpful, practical impact on my life in 2013. In fact, I loved it so much I bought several copies for people at Christmas. If you are anything like me or if you have daughters who are starting to take an interest in how they look, you may find this a resource that you will turn to again and again as you pursue a path of radiant beauty for the glory of your Creator.

Natalie Klejwa is a Wemmick, loved by the Woodcarver, wife of 22 years to Joe, and mother to 9 Wemmicks ages 2-20. She is a business owner (Apple Valley Natural Soap), founder and administrator of the Visionary Womanhood blog, publisher and contributing author of Three Decades of Fertility, You Can Do it Too! 25 Families Share Their Stories, and The Heart of Simplicity: Foundations for Christian Homemaking.

You can hear her being interviewed on Kevin Swanson's Generations with Vision radio program.

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14 thoughts on “Good Girls Don’t Have to Dress Bad: A Review

    • Shelly, I am trying to leave a comment on your blog but wordpress won’t let me unless I have a wordpress account. Do you know how to get around it? I have never been able to leave comments on people who blog with wordpress. Help!

  1. Natalie,
    Thanks so much for sharing! Like you, I need some help! :) Unfortunately, these sort of things weren’t passed down in my family (cause they didn’t have it either) and so I have flubbed along trying to help my girls. My older girls have gleaned from friends and other blogs…and then in turn have told me what they have learned! :) The Lord is good!

  2. I own this book…picked it up at a Hearts at Home conference last year and actually went to her break-out session. She also offered consultations *first* to the people that took her session so I went. Got my color palette and everything. She knows what she is talking about and what a blessing (and SO refreshing) that someone speaks of how important it is for us to dress in a conservative and yet fashionable way! :~)

    I am still not the greatest at picking out fashion as I am also not a fan of shopping (I find that I am usually more like a guy when it comes to that….get in, get what you are looking for, and get out!). But this certainly has helped. I will probably re-read it at a later stage in life also. With little ones, it’s hard to have any focus while shopping! :~)

    Thanks for the post and review! :) This is a book that more women should get their hands on!

  3. Oh, I can identify with every single point you mention. But it helps that I have daughters who do have clothing sense and can help me out. Even so, it looks like a lovely book and it’s now on my ‘to read’ list. Thanks for the review.

  4. I’m looking at a cover photo of a skirt that’s maybe knee-length and a whole chapter on jeans. Do you think this book would still be of significant help to someone who wears only skirts/dresses that are near the ankle? Or do you think there’s going to be a lot of advice that’s not going to be relevant?

    • I think it depends on how you approach it. Yes, I think there may still be enough relevant information that you can apply whatever your clothing preferences are. But if the other stuff will ultimately bother you (jeans, swimsuits, makeup, etc.) then it may not be a book you’d enjoy. Everyone is sort of forced to draw their own line when it comes to modesty and femininity because the Bible only gives us some general principles to follow. This book may or may not draw the line too far from your own. I realize that’s sort of a vague answer, but without knowing you better and more personally, I’m not sure how to advise you more specifically. Maybe better safe than sorry? You might be able to get a copy at your local library, and then you could learn what you wanted to without investing in a book that might not be as relevant as you’d need for your purposes. I did have some of you in mind as I wrote this – knowing that it might not be a good choice for you.

  5. I read the review here and immediately book the Kindle version and started reading it. It has some very practical helps and I am already thinking of how to incorporate them.
    I have to say my jaw dropped a bit when I was reading in the hairstyle section. She wrote that you shouldn’t have long hair because someone else likes it, including your husband. I disagree. I won’t throw the book out because of it but will be more cautious when reading it.

  6. Does the Kindle version of this book have a lot of links in it? I wanted to get the paperback version as I prefer reading that way but I saw you had linked to her Pinterest boards and I wondered if she incorporates links frequently…