If clothes maketh the man then the character should be well shod too

Practice Makes Perfect

by Julie James

a shallow reader review

Always assume there are *spoilers*

Now here is an author who consistently delivers well written, contemporary romance novels which are full of scrummy narkiness, scrummy characters and the obligatory HEA. To add to the well written stories Julie James also delivers in the well dressed, well heeled character stakes. And in Practice Makes Perfect the clothing is described is an important part of the image that the protagonists choose to show to others.

Julie James’s Practice Makes Perfect is about two law associates in the last months before they find out if they make partner at one of Chicago’s top law firms. Both Payton (tha chick) and J.D. (da man) partake in snarky one-upmanship and all-round competition against each other.  Their constant bantering makes for fun reading though at times both overstep their boundaries which is where their vulnerability towards each other starts to emerge. Throughout the book they wear corporate clothing that is hand tailored, professional and conforming to the expectations of legal counsel. I felt that their clothes are part of what sets the scene as to the style and tension that is over-riding in this book. The alphamale is capitalised to ALPHA with his Zegna suits, or when going a little casual

“… he wore an open-necked black pin-striped shirt and perfectly tailored charcoal gray pants”.

Yep, I’m one of those women that can sit in the corporate end of town feasting her eyes on those immaculately cut suits. J.D. is hot hot hot.

Julie James slowly builds the tension between the main protagonists until you are on the edge of your seat two-thirds of the way into the book wanting to scream “Will you just get it on!”. I enjoyed the slow weaving of why each protagonist chose their career path and I liked that the majority of the action in the book was in the corporate office setting.

The book did have a few unresolved storylines at the end. But they did not particularly worry me. The unresolved tension between J.D. and his domineering judge father – did not worry me. That Payton never explores J.D’s work motivations – did not worry me. And the sabotaged shoe scene – did not worry me. What did worry me was that throughout the book Payton’s complete outfit is described. Her dresses, shirts, skirts, suits all the way down to the heels of her Jimmy Choos and other stiletto numbers that she wears at work (this goes totally against the grain for me as a librarian who happily dons her flat, stylish yet sensible, Camper shoes). Yet, when J.D. is described, he has hotness trousers, great shirts, growl man ties and suits to die for but his shoes are not mentioned. I reread the book a second time in search for a reference to his shoes and I could not find one. Does he not wear any? Is he shoeless? Where are his Oxfords, Legates, monkstraps or wingtip Bluchers? Where are his John Lobb or Berluti shoes? This omission seems incongruous in light of the meticulously attired J.D.

So please, when you read this fab romance, please, if you catch a mention J.D’s shoes – drop me a line.


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