When Kate Reardon, a London-based journalist and contributing editor to Vanity Fair, launched her Web site, Toptipsforgirls.com, last year, she quickly found she’d tapped into a wealth of homespun knowledge that women had apparently just been dying to share. Even well-known stylemakers such as Donatella Versace and Elle Macpherson have offered their advice to Reardon and her readers. Macpherson counsels, “When you’re really stressed in a situation, breathe in love and breathe out fear…It works!”
Today, 120,000 users a month log onto the site, where they post pressing queries such as “how to stop yourself from calling him,” or “how to dress for a film premiere when it’s cold.” Fellow readers then offer their tried-and-true solutions. Says one: “I change his name in my cell address book to ‘Don’t’ or…’inconsiderate bastard who canceled at the last minute.'” Another offers: “You won’t be outside for long, so wear a big coat and a pretty dress underneath.” And in addition to answering existing questions, visitors also can post their own favorite hints and tips for others to view.
This story first appeared in the July 17, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“I think they like the anonymity of the site — it can be an honest and fresh perspective,” says Reardon of her users, who often post under screen names such as “Jillaroo95.”
Now, Reardon has collected her favorite tips — “There was no science to it at all,” she says — into a book, also called “Top Tips for Girls,” out now from Three Rivers Press.
Here, Reardon shares her personal top 10 tips with WWD.
How to look good: I don’t really understand the purpose of flat shoes. My top tip for any girl would have to be: Never be seen out of the house in anything other than heels. — Donatella Versace
How to polish handbags: Clear aerosol or paste furniture polish is the best polish for handbags. — Anya Hindmarch
How to protect against spills while traveling: Always travel with Ziploc bags. I pack everything inside them when traveling. You’ll know why if you have ever had an accident with makeup or exploding shampoo. (You can also use them to make everything from marinated chicken to a body scrub with honey, salt and lime oil.) — Jo Malone
How to get revenge: A subtle but effective revenge tactic — turn every battery from every appliance in the house the wrong way around. Do not remove! If they’ve been removed, then it becomes obvious what’s happened. You want him to wonder if all his stuff is broken. That means the TV remote, mouse, keyboard, power tools, everything. It’ll drive him mad for weeks. — Anna Lehane
How to age happily: Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in hand, totally worn out and screaming “Woo-hoo, what a ride!” — clinic2316
How to respond to a rude question: “I’ll forgive you for asking if you’ll forgive me for not answering.” Short, sweet, devastatingly simple. — CeeVee
How to stop procrastinating: You only need to know three words to succeed: Don’t Dabble — FOCUS! — Melody
How to stop your boss (or anyone) from making a pass at you: As he leers toward you, scrunch up your face, peer closely and say, in a slightly repulsed way, “You’ve got something in your teeth,” as if it’s something really revolting. He should be embarrassed and slink away to remove it. — Labink
The best dumping line: “I think you’re the one, when I think about you all I want to do is plan our wedding and imagine how darling our children will be.” Never fails. — sozo
How to prevent overeating on a date: In my experience, men like women who aren’t afraid of food. Eat what you like! Good food is one of life’s greatest pleasures and if he disapproves of you eating too much bread or going for dessert on your first date then he’s going to make you miserable in the long run. — Shepherdess