How to be fabulous: the essentials of fabulous book review

by Sylvia

The essentials of fabulous book review

It’s been a while since I have read the book: The Essentials of Fabulous. I had the intention to review it soon after, but here we are a couple of months later, so definitely need to refresh my memory!  However, I have often thought about this book as it contains some important messages that are essential for being and feeling fabulous in daily life.

The book was written by Ellen Lubin-Sherman, a writer, coach and consultant on fabulosity, and it is not so much about how you dress and style yourself, but more on how to be fabulous as a total person.

She writes:

“If you want to be fabulous, you have to decide to do it – to transform yourself into one of those amazing creatures that infiltrate our lives and ignite our dreams with their swagger, energy, pizzaz and soigne charm”

So what is fabulous according to Ellen?

She presents us with the ten+ traits of the truly and completely fabulous people

  1. They are passionate about life
  2. They are delightfully authentic
  3. They are revered for their amazing attitude
  4. They are warm and completely accessible
  5. They have flair
  6. They have impeccable manners
  7. They are competent
  8. The just ‘get it’
  9. They have a big bandwidth
  10. They are vivid virtually
  11. They have a board

Wow, as you can see it’s not so easy to be fabulous. But that is where this book comes in handy because Ellen will walk you through each of these items. She starts with passion, which she believes is the road to fabulous. I couldn’t agree more. “With passion, life is an adventure, an open landscape filled with possibilities“.

And another important one is authenticity:  “Being authentic – being real – means accepting yourself for who you are. that comes from knowing and believing in your strenghts” She suggests asking your friends to help you construct a list  of your qualities.

Attitude has everything to do with your philosophy and worldview, which she sees as the single best predictor of success. “The reason: A great attitude is shorthand for “fun”. Fun to be with, fun to eat with, fun to stand in line and wait for Dylan tickets with“. Her advice is not to take yourself too seriously, be happy with what you can do and don’t obsess about what you are not.  Of course, I also like what she says about clothes: “Wear your most gorgeous clothes, save nothing! Looking good, thinking beautiful thoughts, and acting as if you were the most sensational creature on the planet is the most effective way to mastermind the narrative of your life“.

She continues to descrribe each component of fabulosity like warmth (be accessible and listen), flair (wear clothes that oomph, not ouch), manners (need to be impeccable), competence (there is no halfway for the competent, but they do ask for help), bandwith (can connect with people from all walks of life) and a board (a group of individuals who may not know one another but know you, and who are willing to put their brains and their expertise at your disposal for however long you need it).

How does the fabulous woman dress?

When it comes to clothing she supports comfortable quality clothing that makes you feel happy and confident. As basics she mentions:

  • Black pants
  • Grey cardigan
  • Simple white cotton shirt
  • Safari-style jacket in olive drab
  • Trouser inspired jeans
  • A classic raincoat
  • Lots of accessories
She advocates a closet full of perfect basics that you can wear again and again, adorned with great accessories. Of course, according to Ellen, the absolutely fabulous woman really knows her own style.


I thought the book was very interesting and a good read. Ellen gives a lot of good tips and reminders on how we can become more fabulous as a person. At the end of each chapter she will also list additional resources to read more on that particular topic.  She is quite tough on you though and I would find it hard to become the kind of fabulous person she describes in the book. I still have a lot to work on for sure. But it’s certainly worth aiming to be a bit more fabulous each day and brighten up both your own as well as others’ lives!

The Essentials of Fabulous (Because Whatever doesn’t work here anymore) is available at Amazon.

Do you have what it takes to be fabulous?

This book was sent to me by the publisher for editorial consideration. Please note though that all opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Heather Fonseca

I tried readiNg the book a couple months ago too, but I just couldn’t get into it. Being fabulous looked exhausting. Plus, I believe a lot of charm and fabulousness is innate, either you are or you are not. Then there’s the problem of perception. I thought her ideal fabulous person seemed exhausting too. She’s that friend that I can only see once in a while because I have to take a nap afterwards! I prefer my fabulousness a little more relaxed I think.


2 Sylvia

Yes, I understand what you mean. It will be hard to achieve her idea of fabulousness. Still I liked many of her tips. Like for example preparing some topics for conversation and making an effort to make parties a success. I always thought that that should flow ‘naturally’ (and in many ways it should) but she reminded me that in many ways you can prepare yourself to be more entertaining.


3 Heather Fonseca

Maybe I didn’t get to that part, and certainly being prepared for events is important. I do feel awkward sometimes too. However, I have found that simply being interested in other people and asking them questions about themselves is a short cut to being interesting at parties.


4 Greetje

I try to make everybody in my environment laugh. And I talk a lot. And I like clothes a lot. To me, I am fabulous enough. And at times, like Heathers friend, exhausting to be with. (If I am in one of those moods, I notice this myself, but I cannot stop.)
I think I do not want to be fabulous. I think I want to laugh a lot and have loads of friends.


5 Sylvia

I think you are already naturally fabulous Greetje, which is why you have so much fun and are surrounded by friends!


6 Greetje

I do not see myself as fabulous haha, not at all. I am just a happy little rubber ball.


7 Laura

Thanks. Sounds intriguing. Just ordered it for my Kindle.


8 Sylvia

Let me know what you thought of it Laura!


9 Red Tag Chic Los Angeles

Thanks for sharing this awesomeness Sylvia….TRULY GREAT TIPS!!!



10 Sally

Hi Sylvia,
I have a few fabulous friends. I love them dearly but I noticed at a party the other night, that while they were being their naturally fabulous selves, others didn’t stand a chance to shine. Maybe being truly fabulous is helping others to appear fabulous as well.
I found your website a few months ago and really enjoy it. Thanks so much for all of your insights and advice!


11 Sylvia

You are absolutely right Sally! Being a good listener is one of the many qualities of a truly fabulous person (also mentioned in the book) as well as making others feel good too.
Thank you so much for you kind words about the site and leaving your comment. It’s always really nice to hear that you are enjoying it!


12 Bella Q

I don’t think I’d read the book, but I like the gist of it, based on this review. Wardrobe suggestons for “fab” is tricky. Not sure Iris Apfel has all those basics, she likes ethnic clothes a lot, and the wardrobe seems a bit uh “Anglo-phile”. But I am sure Iris, is fabulous.

As are you.


13 Sylvia

Oh thank you Bella. I totally agree about Iris. She is truly fabulous. And you are right. Difficult to say what’s truly fabulous in terms of clothes. That’s why she doesn’t pay that much attention to it, but plays it safe by advising to sticking to high quality basics.


14 Suzanne

This book sounds very interesting and I would read it for that reason. I agree with many of her conclusions (be passionate, be confident, be NICE!) but I do not think any one person can set “rules” for how someone else can be fabulous. Part of being fabulous is being unique. Women are each fabulous in their own way! I truly believe that. And it isn’t what happens to us in life, but how we react to what happens – good or bad – that builds our character.
One thing I recently learned is that the top “Headhunters” of the most successful companies take the people they are considering hiring out to lunch before they are even interviewed. They look for two things – manners and how the person treats the wait staff. If you “pass” this test the company will invest time in seeing if you are a good fit with their team. If not, you do not even get the opportunity to interview or Intern. Impeccable manners and respect do still matter!
PS – Her wardrobe list sounds boring! It is the same list I have seen a million times before. It is “safe” but how is it fabulous?


15 Sylvia

Very valid comments Suzanne and I agree that her list of basics is rather boring….


16 Aileen

Another great topic Sylvia and interesting responses from everyone. My thoughts are that she must be a Type 4 in Dressing Your Truth. She’d then be naturally dramatic and fabulous without having to change anything. I am a happy little Type 1 so can’t see me being able to cope with any of her Type 4 ideals 🙂 I’d also be bored to death wearing the basic wardrobe suggestions!


17 Sylvia

Yes, for sure Aileen. I think many type 1s have the advantage of being naturally fabulous already, because they are so kind and social! For type 4s however, it’s more ‘work’.


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