How I Look: From Upstate New York to Downtown Manhattan, Adventures in American Style

Bart Boehlert. Mumford and Company, $15 trade paper (158p) ISBN 978-1-4912-5696-1

Boehlert, a senior writer for special projects at Ralph Lauren, recounts his behind-the-scenes role in the marketing of modern American fashion in this slender, sweet memoir. The book opens with a remembrance of the author’s elegant great-aunts May, Milly, Zibby, and Margie, who shaped his style sense; Boehlert also has amazing recall of outfits he wore as a lad. Greatly influenced by youthful summers spent in Martha’s Vineyard, he adopted the casual “combination of elegance and ease” typical of the island’s locals. Arriving in Manhattan in the 1980s after graduating from McGill University in Montreal, Boehlert lands a plum job as driver for fashion designer Perry Ellis, during which time he comes to grips with his sexuality and lands a sales associate position at “the holy land” for anyone interested in style, the Bergdorf Goodman department store. Seamlessly things fall into place as he meets his life partner, graphic designer Ted Dawson, in 1985 and moves into the world of high fashion. He hobnobs with supermodels Kim Alexis and Jeff Aquilon, and Harper’s Bazaar editor Polly Mellen, whom he deems the high priestess of fashion. The book traces Boehlert’s lifelong commitment to elegance, telling a humble story of how one man found fulfillment in his life. B&w photos. [em](BookLife) [/em]