"Look in a mirror. Do you look like a wizard? If so, go back to stage one." Equal parts style guide, memoir, and scrapbook, Alexa Chung's new book, It, (Penguin) is filled with useful tips like this one that are fun to read even if you aren't a rock-star-dating, Karl Lagerfeld-inspiring gamine. I spoke to Chung about Francois Hardy, airport glamour, and how to kill at karaoke (or at least not care if you don't).

What's your go-to trick for making anything look cooler?
"I have a navy blue children's coat that I was obsessed with-I can barely wear it anymore because it's gotten so ratty. But I still love it. It instantly lifts an outfit from scrappy to sophisticated. Same with the Chanel bag. You can wear it with anything, and the outfit instantly looks better. Those are my go-tos: a navy blue coat, Chanel bag, and simple hair."

You love karaoke-got any good advice for the less musically inclined?
"The most important thing is to not care about looking like an idiot in front of people even if you can't sing. I've read something about a bonding chemical that's released when women sing together, but that's not why I do it. I'm a natural show-off, and I usually just want to be loud."

Who's your style inspiration?
"I have my Francois Hardy looks, and I love magazines, but you can tell if someone is trying too hard to emulate someone else. Just dress comfortably and wear what you like. Last fall, I would wear a blanket sometimes. Not a big sofa blanket, but something small I could hang over my purse and then wrap around when it got cold."

Is there a beauty product you wouldn't leave home without?
"A lot of the time people say mascara, but blush is underused. It should be overused because it's quite good at brightening up your face. I like cream blush because I'm obsessed with moisturizing. I also use Eyeko Brow Gel and M.A.C. Lipstick in Lady Danger."

What about when you're traveling?
"Definitely dry shampoo. It depends on how embarrassed you are to look silly in front of other people. Sometimes I'll take off all my makeup, moisturize my skin, and put on eye packs. Of course, then I worry the guy next to me will think I'm crazy."