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The Top 5 Must-Read Fashion Books


Colorful Book Shelf
Photo by chotda.

If you’re like me, your fashion research isn’t just limited to fashion blogs and magazines – fashion books can be a great source of the kind of in-depth info you can’t find anywhere else.

If you want a career in fashion and want to learn more about the fashion industry, books are an essential source. There are so many great ones out there, but I’ve picked my top 5 of the moment for this article. Whether you want to build a timeless wardrobe, learn how to dress for every occasion or just figure out how to organize your messy closet, the following books have you covered.

* The Fashion Game Book: A World History of 20th-century Fashion

The Fashion Game Book

If you want to learn about the fashion industry, you’d be hard pressed to find a more in-depth book than this one about designers, clothes, trends, and style throughout the ages. With fun quizzes like “Designers and muses: Who inspired whom?”, and “Chanel No. 5: Arrange the bottles in chronological order”, it’s an enjoyable book that’s packed with information.

If I could recommend any book to someone who wants to learn more about fashion, this would be it. You’ll learn everything there is to know about the biggest names in the business, plus pick up fashion terms and facts you won’t find anywhere else. Truly a must-read for any style fanatic.

* The Little Black Book of Style

The Little Black Book of Style

Nina Garcia is a fashion icon & Project Runway judge, so it’s safe to say she knows a thing or two about putting an outfit together!

The Little Black Book of Style is all about style basics – the elements that set a stylish woman apart from everyone else. Nina goes into detail on everything from fashion don’ts to tips on developing your own unique sense of style. She also offers lots of helpful advice on how to edit your closet, buy with drama, and shop for clothes that will stand the test of time.

* That Extra Half an Inch: Hair, Heels and Everything in Between

That Extra Half an Inch by Victoria Beckham

I have to say, I didn’t have high expectations for this book, but reading it completely changed my mind! Victoria Beckham’s book on all things fashion and beauty covers everything from what to wear on vacation to the right type of jeans for your figure.

Another great thing about this book is that Victoria writes in a very conversational style – it’s like having a talk with your most stylish friend (who just happens to be BFF with Roberto Cavalli and married to one of the best-looking athletes in the world.) As a bonus, she lists tons of stores where you can buy everything she talks about in her book. That Extra Half an Inch is truly a style resource you’ll be coming back to again and again.

* Influence

Influence by Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have legions of obsessive fans for a reason – they have serious style. That said, I was a little apprehensive when I first heard that they were writing a book. Luckily, I picked up a copy and was shocked at what a fabulous book it turned out to be.

Essentially, Influence is a book of interviews with the people who have influenced the twins’ style over the years. There are conversations with everyone from Karl Lagerfeld to Diane von Furstenberg, and even Mary-Kate & Ashley interviewing each other! It’s an insightful look into the fashion industry from the celebrity perspective – how often do you get to see that? For more on this book, read my review of Mary-Kate & Ashley’s “Influence.”

* The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own

The One Hundred by Nina Garcia

Nina Garcia’s second book is just as informative at her first. In this one, she breaks down the top 100 items that every woman needs in her closet. These include classics like the Plain White Tee (#67), with the addition of some surprising trendy items like Converse (#22). If you’re interested in building a wardrobe that will stay in style for years to come, you need to read this book.

For more on this book, you might want to read my in-depth review of The One Hundred.

More Fashion Reading

If you’re looking for more books beyond those I mentioned above, check back here over the coming weeks. I’ll be reviewing some more fabulous fashion books, so don’t miss it.

Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think? What are your picks for the best fashion books out there right now? Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment!

Posted on on January 22, 2009 / Filed Under: Shopping / Tags: , , , , ,

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21 Responses to “The Top 5 Must-Read Fashion Books”

  1. 1
    January 23rd, 2009 at 12:12 am

    that extra half an inch is definitely one of my favorite fashion books. she modernizes the classic fashion rules and adds some of her own. i would also recommend style a to zoe by rachel zoe. i figure she styles the stars so she must know something :)

  2. 2
    January 23rd, 2009 at 1:21 am

    Have you heard anything good about Rachel Zoe’s book (or even better, read it?) I loved her show, and I was interested in the book, but I’d like to hear some good things about it first.

  3. 3
    January 23rd, 2009 at 1:52 am

    I actually reviewed Style A to Zoe on the site last year. The review is here:

    Overall I thought it wasn’t that good. It was waaaayyy too much about her & her own celebrity and not enough about fashion tips. I really didn’t learn anything new from reading her book, except that she has lots of famous friends and lots of money. :<

  4. 4
    January 24th, 2009 at 3:38 am

    i just got THE FASHION GAME from my dad yesterday!!!
    i started reading it and i love it! it has so many insights and im sure i can learn a lot from it :)
    thanks zephyr for recommending this book =))
    now im tempted to buy all these other books!!!

  5. 5
    January 25th, 2009 at 11:20 am

    I loved Instant Style by InStyle, Lucky’s Guide for Mastering Any Style, and Kate Spade’s style guide book. They are inspirational (slightly commercial, but it’s still fun.) The Visual Therapy 5-Step Cure is a fun book to read.

  6. 6
    January 25th, 2009 at 11:32 pm

    thanks for the rec’s. I read the little black book of style and I loved it. I’ll def take a look at the others :)

  7. 7
    January 26th, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Thanks so much for the article, I am gonna go buy The 100 today. Another good book is Bobbi Brown’s new one, its all about makeup and how to wear it. It has a lot of cool tricks and facts. If you like to experiment or just perfect your makeup prowess, I would recommend you check it out.

  8. 8
    February 1st, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    A little while ago I told you how I bought ‘The Fashion Game Book’ thanks to your advice and loved it. So I went ahead and bought ‘The Little Black Book of Style’ and finished it in one night!! I already own ‘Influence’ and it truly is a great read!

    I’ll be buying ‘The Hundred’ this week… it’s next on my list! Thanks for the advice (you have great taste!), can’t wait to see what’s next!

  9. 9
    February 1st, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    I love fashion, I love reading books, and I love collecting books fashion books are really great for me. I also want to have that book shelve it’s very nice and its size is great for book collectors.

  10. 10
    February 2nd, 2009 at 12:08 am

    I received both of Nina Garcia’s books for Christmas from my mother, and I absolutely loved them. I love fashion and am planning on a career in fashion PR, but have always felt like I can never quite find my own personal style. Reading her books really helped give me some ideas and guidelines, and I realized that I do have my own personal style, I just needed to get a little focus! I haven’t read any of the others, but after reading this review I will certainly be purchasing them.

  11. 11
    February 5th, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    You MUST put “The Fashionista Files” on this list. It is so everything I know.

  12. 12
    May 29th, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    Nooo! You didn’t put down Tim Gunn’s Guide to Quality, Taste, and Style! I love how he writes, and his personality is the best. Not to mention how awesome the book is in itself.

  13. 13
    June 7th, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    Don’t know if you’ve ever heard of it, but the Goddess Guide by Gisèle Scanlon is just lovely! It’s not just about fashion, but about lifestyle aswell and the way it’s laid out, it has a lovely scrapbook/inspiration notebook feel to it!

  14. 14
    July 8th, 2009 at 12:41 am

    It’s ridiculously late in coming, but have you read the Cheap Date Guide to Style? It’s the best style guide book I’ve read, a tie with Nina Garcia’s Black Book of Style IMHO, and oh, definitely worth a read.

  15. 15
    December 24th, 2009 at 1:07 am

    I disagree that converse shoes are a trendy item. They might not be as old as say a black dress, but they’ve been in style for decades. As far as casual sneakers go, they’re as classic as you can get as long as you stay with the original styles (none of the ridiculous double-tongued ones) and solid colors like black, red and pink.

  16. 16
    August 4th, 2010 at 6:52 am

    wow these all sound so good im defineitly gettin them

  17. 17
    August 5th, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    My favorites:
    -Elegance by cathrine tessaro.. both a great novel and book about style
    -Walking in high heels by Camila Moreton.. a girls guide to everything basically with really useful practical style advice
    -My mothers wedding dress by Justine Picardie.. An autobiography/ fashion book

  18. 18
    October 31st, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Thank you! This is exactly what I was looking for. I can’t wait to devour these books.

  19. 19
    November 29th, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    I actually did a similar post to this on my blog. I am obsessed with reading fashion books and have a large collection. Extra Half an Inch is definitely a favorite. Victoria Beckham dishes tons of tips and it gives you a glimpse into her life, which seems very glamorous. I also loved The Little Black Book of Style and the One Hundred by Nina Garcia. Again, she offers tons of tips and has a sense of humor about it all. I have to read Influence, definitely on my wish list. I really enjoyed Lauren Conrad’s book and Parisian Chic as well. Overall, great list!

  20. 20
    May 19th, 2012 at 6:42 am

    cool ! ! ! ! ! !

  21. 21
    December 28th, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    I’d add Quintessential Style the book to the list. Great for Woman enpowerment.

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