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Stylist Phillip Bloch teaches us how to rein in our spending

September 17, 2010 | 10:40 am

Bloch Phillip Bloch wants to help you temper that urge to spend recklessly on Fendi, Ferragamo...and even Forever 21.

In his new book, "The Shopping Diet," the outspoken stylist espouses the virtues of being cost-conscious and maximizing the potential of your existing wardrobe in this perma-dour economy. 

The photo-less book -- which is full of workbook-style blank spaces in which to take stock of your habits by writing them down -- promises to help you unveil your shopping compulsions; reevaluate and accentuate the positives in your personal style and body type; make your current wardrobe work for you; maximize your fashion purchases; and, finally, receive "the gift of conscious spending."

And, taken seriously, it just might live up to its promises.

Block dabbles in the psychology behind overspending ("Like an overeater...you need to figure out what compels you to whip out that credit card") and urges readers to keep a clothing diary of what they wear for two weeks -- to help "understand your personal style" and figure out what to eventually discard.

Then Bloch offers up some familiar style archetypes to pattern yourself after -- or not. Among the categories are the "Trend Addict," a la Nicole Richie and Sarah Jessica Parker; 'The Classic," such as Michelle Obama and Brooke Shields; and "The Hippie Princess," as embodied by Kate Hudson and Sienna Miller, among others.

Then comes the nitty-gritty of the book, which includes detailed pyramid graphs, a monthly debt worksheet and tips on everything from regifting to shopping vintage stores -- all in the name of keeping you within budget and looking chic.

The book's scope is impressively complete; Bloch takes on the concept of creating personal style on a budget with the vigor and precision of a prize-winning physicist.

And the appendix -- a 40-page "Shopping Diet Directory" of off-price websites, stores and resources -- moves the book's wallet-friendly advice very neatly into the real world.

-- Emili Vesilind

Photo: The cover of "The Shopping Diet" by Phillip Bloch. Credit: Gallery Books

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