There’s such a wealth of books about fashion out there that it can be hard to know where to start. So we’ve hand-selected these 10 must-read fashion books for your collection. Ranging from street-style photography collections to practical how-to-dress guides to memoirs, these fun reads will inspire your sense of style and make you think about fashion in a whole new way.
Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton
This is street style at its rawest. Stanton isn’t a traditional street-style photographer like The Sartorialist or Tommy Ton. Rather than setting out to document fashion trends, he aims instead just to snap photos of interesting people. Ironically, this results in some of the most inspiring street style photography we’ve ever seen – multi-hued hair, traditional ethnic outfits and incredibly stylish little kids. You can get more inspo from Stanton’s blog.
How to Get Dressed: A Costume Designer’s Secrets for Making Your Clothes Look, Fit, and Feel Amazing by Alison Freer
We first got to know Alison’s writing through her articles on xoJane, so we were psyched to hear that she was writing a book. Alison’s a seasoned professional costume designer who doles out the absolute best wardrobe advice. The insider tips she shares in this book include which undergarments you need in order to look fantastic in your clothes and when getting something tailored is actually worth it.
Advanced Style by Ari Seth Cohen and Maira Kalman
Based on the blog of the same name, this book chronicles stylish looks put together by the senior set. If you don’t think you want style advice from someone your grandma’s age, you haven’t met the subjects of this photo-heavy page-turner. The best part is that you can also buy an Advanced Style colouring book – perfect for stylish tots and creative adults.
Man Repeller: Seeking Love. Finding Overalls by Leandra Medine
Medine’s Man Repeller blog-turned-media-empire has an empowering premise – how would you dress if you didn’t care what men thought of your clothes? Every fashion girl probably has a man-repelling item or two in her wardrobe – the lame turban, the floral combat boots, that unflattering but majorly cool vintage jumpsuit. Medine’s collection of essays chronicles her life in crazy clothes, and her eventual happily ever after.
Culture to Catwalk: How World Cultures Influence Fashion by Kristin Knox
Did you ever stop to think about how much Diane Von Furstenberg’s classic wrap dress looks like a kimono? This in-depth book outlines how modern designers draw inspiration from traditional dress from across the world and from today’s international street style.
Vogue: The Covers by Dodi Kazanjian
We didn’t know that Vogue dated back all the way to 1892! This beautiful book showcases more than 300 beautiful covers, dating from the illustrations of the late 19th century to Steven Meisel and Annie Leibovitz photos more than 100 years later. You could consider this book an elementary course in American fashion history – it shows the best that fashion illustration and photography had to offer throughout the 20th century.
The Fairchild Books Dictionary of Fashion by Phyllis G. Tortora, Sandra J. Keiser and Bina Abling
Okay, this probably isn’t one that you’re going to read from cover to cover; it’s an actual dictionary. However, this comprehensive tool – mandatory reading for fashion students at some universities – is great to consult for fashion jargon. If you want to work in fashion someday, or you’re just clueless about the difference between a pintuck and a pleat, you’ll love this book.
Influence by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
Whether you love Mary-Kate and Ashley or hate them, you’ll probably still like this book, because the book isn’t really about them. Rather, the twin moguls interview their influences, fashion folk ranging from Calvin Klein designer Francisco Costa to legendary supermodel Lauren Hutton.
Fresh Fruits by Shoichi Aoki
Associated with Japan’s Fruits Magazine, this book is a must for fans of wacky street style or teen culture. Fashion photographer Aoki has captured the off-the-wall style of Tokyo’s teen set at the beginning of the 21st century.
The Vogue Factor: The Inside Story of Fashion’s Most Illustrious Magazine by Kirstie Clements
Think of this as The Devil Wears Prada’s real-life sequel. This tell-all chronicles Clements’ meteoric rise from receptionist to editor-in-chief at Vogue Australiam (a job from which she was eventually fired). She doesn’t bash Vogue, so if you’re looking for juicy gossip you’re better off looking elsewhere, but she does tell fabulous stories from her glamorous career. It’s total lifespiration.
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