The Bombshell Manual of Style is a book I've had since I was 13. It was written by Laren Stover and Kimberly Forrest and illustrated by Nicole Burdette in 1997.
I think it was 2001 when I got my copy, fresh out of eighth grade. It inspired me then, and it inspires me now, because how could you not want to be a bombshell?
The book describes the bombshell lifestyle in every aspect, from clothes, shoes, getting out of chairs gracefully (the authors use the word "deplaning," which I love inexplicably) to rhinestones being a perfectly acceptable substitute for diamonds if worn with the right confidence.
The book is also loaded with interesting facts, quotes, and anecdotes from bonafide Hollywood bombshells. For instance, Elizabeth Taylor insisted upon wearing makeup for every scene in Cleopatra, even on the roof of her mouth, "because people would be able to see the inside of her mouth when she spoke." No one ever said a bombshell wasn't a little extra!
Obviously, not every tidbit is to be followed verbatim, but in modern life, the principles of the bombshell lifestyle can work for all of us.
These are the seven lessons that really stuck with me:
1. You don't always need to use expensive stuff.
Bombshells use whatever works and keep it simple! The book talks a lot about how basic a bombshell's beauty regimen truly can be. Old-school products like Prell shampoo (super-detergenty and around forever, it's good for fading oversaturated hair color), Johnson and Johnson's Baby Shampoo, and Ivory soap are mentioned.
Things a lot of people these days associate as being irritating used to be the skincare standby for Ms. Marilyn Monroe, who washed her face several times a day with plain ol' soap and water to keep her skin clear. Can you believe it? The horror! But I know people who do just that, and it works for them. Bombshells aren't afraid to reject the newest thing on the market and stick to what works.
2. Have a signature scent.
Find one that captures your essence, whether it be light and breezy or dark and mysterious--or anywhere in between. This book has an entire chapter dedicated to historic perfumes such as Estee Lauder Youth Dew and Guerlain Shalimar. If you're in need of some retro fragrance inspiration, this book is for you.
3. Find a lip color that suits you and stick to it.
Pink, red or nude, a bombshell's gotta have her go-to shade. Also, a bombshell isn't afraid to layer colors for a perfect custom shade. No frosted lipsticks, though, because "a bombshell does not cultivate an icy personality." Page 84.
4. Your hair is directly related to your perceived "personality" as a bombshell.
Have your hair be true to the person you are, or the image you wish to evoke. Right now, I am totally not following this lesson, because my hair is yellow when it's supposed to be brown. I am a brunette, and I look better that way, I'm pretty sure. Oh well, I tried. Being blonde just isn't more fun for me, I guess.
The moral of the story here is, "If it ain't broke don't fix it," and if you are going for a color change, make sure it's 100% YOU. That also means keeping it maintained, because bombshells always have a signature look. This is crucial for bombshelldom. Did you know Rita Hayworth dyed her hair red? I did not.
The book also profiles by hair color how each type of bombshell has temper tantrums. I'm a raging brunette in sheep's clothing.
5. The bombshell face is more simple than you would think.
Sure, eye makeup is important, and as the book explains, lashes and liner are key; but when it comes to skin, bombshells don't have anything to hide. They don't need to cover their skin with pounds of makeup or pluck their eyebrows into oblivion.
Whenever I forget this lesson, I already have tweezers in hand and half an eyebrow, and I'm breaking out from using year-old foundation. True stories.
6. Nail polish: totally not important to bombshells, but if you like it, do you!
The book is very anti-French manicure. The author thinks bombshells find them tacky. I'd like to see her say that to Britney Spears in 2001. Either way, I haven't had a French manicure in years, so this tidbit definitely sunk in subliminally, having read it over and over during my formative years.
7. Bombshells are confident and self-aware, but they don't always need to be practical.
One ditzy example: This book says bombshells go camping in high heels. The takeaway from this is, if you're confident, it doesn't always matter if you're completely prepared--in this case, not having proper footwear.
It basically tells you how to be a total babe in nature, albeit a little high-maintenance. But this is not an outdoor guide. At the end of the day, being a bombshell is about how you carry yourself. Real life bombshells have confidence from within, and stay true to their glamorous selves at all times.