Best Fashion Books – The Ultimate Guide for Fashionistas

For anybody interested in fashion, a beautiful coffee table tome is a must have to show off your style credentials. Whether you’re interested in vintage, designer or high street, there is a wealth of books out there to tickle your fancy. Here are my top ten fashionista bibles.

10. Face Hunter – Yvan Rodic

You know you’ve made it in the style stakes if you’re snapped by this man.

After running his acclaimed Face Hunter blog for the last four years, Rodic has collected over 300 stunning photographs taken all around the world to produce this homage to street style. It is essentially a collectable version of his online outfit database, to dip into when you’re feeling in need of some inspiration. Naturally, he only photographs the most beautiful people in the trendiest of areas but they are all unlikely style icons, nonetheless. It is always far more interesting to have a nosey at what real people are wearing than magazine mannequins and this book will certainly give you the courage to try something new.

9. The Way We Wore: A Life in Threads – Robert Elms

Stories about clothes woven together to produce this touching autobiography.

Books about men’s fashion are strangely few and far between. If anyone was under the belief that men aren’t sartorially minded then this book is quick to dispel that particular myth. Journalist and former New Romantic, Elms, presents a wonderful account of clothes as a defining part of our identities. He remembers events by the outfit he wore at the time and milestones in his adolescence are identified by the acquisition a much sought after item of clothing. Perhaps most interesting of all, is his analysis of youth subcultures like the mods and punks and teds and how style has always been a source of pride for young British men seeking to make their mark in the world.

8. Fresh Fruits – Shoichi Aoiki

Colourful, fearless and downright weird- welcome to the world of Japanese fashion.

Remember when Gwen Stefani sang about Harajuku girls and took four of them around with her wherever she went? This book demonstrates why so many people have become enchanted by Tokyo street style. Excerpts from the ever popular Fruits magazine were compiled to make this guide to the latest Japanese trends. Whilst the magazine was aimed at local teenagers this book has wider appeal as a something to buy for curiosity’s sake than for inspiration. Every person pictured is like a glorious cartoon character come to life and every photograph is accompanied by a blurb so that we can learn what exactly they were thinking, going out dressed like that!

7. In Vogue- The Illustrated History of the World’s Most Famous Fashion Magazine – Alberto Olliva and Norberto Angeletti

The history of haute couture shown through the glossy pages of Vogue.

Unlike most books fashion books, In Vogue doesn’t only offer gorgeous photographs by Irving Penn and Annie Liebovitz and many an iconic cover, it is actually packed full of things to read too! This book presents the story of the ultimate fashion magazine from its humble origins in 1909 to the present day, through stories from photographers and former editors. A nice touch is also the collection of stories by famous authors that have been published in Vogue over the years. A wonderfully varied and quite hefty book that is beautifully bound and perfect for showing off on your coffee table. Let’s face it, we’d expect nothing less.

6. Cecil Beaton: The Art of the Scrapbook

Fascinating peek into the diary of a legend.

Photographer for Vogue, Royal photographer, Oscar winner and documenter of the roaring twenties. For the first time, Cecil Beaton’s private scrapbooks are now available for everyone to look through and as well as providing a fascinating insight into the inspirations for his work, it also serves as a collection of memories from his extraordinary life. Here you will find a photo of Greta Garbo’s eyes alongside a watercolour painting and Beaton’s own notes. Less a lesson in fashion, this book teaches you how to transform your magazine clippings, sketches and postcards into a work of art in their own right. Perfect for anyone who likes to cut and paste their own mood boards but it is a little pricey.

5. Vivienne Westwood – Claire Wilcox

The ultimate guide to the grand dame of British fashion.

There is no doubt that Vivienne Westwood is one of Britain’s biggest fashion exports and most eccentric designers. This book, which was published to coincide with an exhibition at the V&A museum serves as both a Westwood biography and design retrospective. It charts her origins in Derbyshire to dressing the punk generation and the Hollywood starlets of today, focusing on some of her most iconic designs (remember the platform shoes that defeated Naomi Campbell on the runway?) and the working methods she uses. If you can’t quite afford Westwood’s clothes, you can console yourself by cooing over the 300 beautiful pictures in this book.

4. Vintage – Emma Baxter-Wright

Oh this old thing- it’s vintage, darling!

This book is an absolute must for anyone who, like me, adores rummaging through racks of vintage clothes but is never quite sure what they’re looking for exactly. A timeline of fashion from the turn of the last century to the present day, guides you through the key looks of each decade and is accompanied by a beautiful collection of old photographs and illustrations. The features on Dior’s New Look of the 1940s and 50s and the success of Biba in the 1960s make for particularly interesting reading. If you’re looking to recreate a specific style, the book provides a not too detailed account of techniques used and would be a great buy for anyone studying fashion.

3. Icons of Men’s Style – Josh Sims

Clothes maketh the man.

The second book in my list dedicated to men’s fashion first caught my attention thanks to the rather dashing picture of Gregory Peck on the front cover. This comprehensive list of iconic items of men’s clothing includes the leather jacket, the boat shoe and the Panama hat. We learn about the brands that made them, usually for a special purpose, the faces that made them famous and how they have come to be staples in men’s wardrobes. This book is an easy read as well as being very cool. Expect to see pictures of Tom Cruise in his Top Gun aviator sunglasses alongside James Dean in his Blouson jacket. A must for the fashion conscious man.

2. Fifty Dresses that Changed the World – The Design Museum

The dresses every woman wished she owned.

More portable than some of the other tomes on this list, this book created by the Design Museum in London is a wonderful tribute to fashion design throughout the decades. It is fun and user friendly and not just for the dedicated fashion student or Vogue devotee. Every iconic dress is included in this, from Marilyn’s white dress in The Seven Year Itch to Audrey’s little black dress in Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Liz Hurley’s frankly bizarre safety-pin creation. Each dress is profiled and discussed to see just why it has come to have an enduring influence on pop culture.

1. Style Diaries: World Fashion from Berlin to Tokyo – Simone Werle

The sartorialists on the street have their say.

If you don’t fancy trawling the internet for inspiration, this offers a nice selection of people who value personal style above fashion fads.

Like the Face Hunter book, Style Diaries focuses on real people who create their own distinctive style and want to share it with the world. Blogging is very much at the forefront of modern fashion and this book acknowledges that by showcasing the 50 best fashion bloggers from all over the world. Not only are we spoiled with pictures of their favourite outfits, but they let us into some of their style secrets and the cute facts about each blogger is a nice touch. If you don’t fancy trawling the internet for inspiration, this offers a nice selection of people who value personal style above fashion fads.

Developing Your Own Fashion Style

Your style is important. Ask yourself every time you buy anything, every time you make anything, or have anything made: Is it in accord with my style? Does it meet the requirements of correct dress for me?

If you live in a little city or a village and suddenly found yourself on Fifth Avenue in New York City, would you feel conspicuous in your clothes? If friends from the fashion centers of America were coming to visit you, would you feel out of place in your costume? You should not. You have the same opportunity to be correctly dressed as any other woman if you will study and persevere toward perfection in dress.

We must realize that we have a style of our own and that we are of a particular type. This is recognized by every fashion authority in the country, and by every fashion publication, for if all women were to adhere to one fashion, one fashion only would be shown in the fashion books instead of twenty, thirty, or fifty different designs.

Look through any fashion book today and you will find round-and-round and up-and-down lines in the same issue–all with the idea of helping women to clothe themselves correctly and of giving suggestions that will help them individually to find appropriate styles.

Establishing a style for yourself and then perfecting it–be it in hats, gloves, shoes, dresses, or suits–will prove economical, and it will not be long before a degree of perfection will be acquired.

A prominent New York business woman, who is one of the most distinctively dressed women that I know, wears the smartest suits and hats and always severely tailor-made gowns. And her neckwear, usually a jabot or a stock, is so smart that you would never for a minute question whether it is authoritatively fashionable. She always wears high shoes on the street, and usually they have light-colored tops, because she is tall and the light tops of the shoes help to break the appearance of height.

One day, this young woman came to visit me. I could not refrain from remarking about the completeness of her costume. I said, “If I saw your shadow, I should know that it was you by the harmony that your silhouette expresses and the very way you carry yourself.”

She said, “Do you know that remarks like yours are what caused me to persevere in acquiring my style of dressing? I used to think I wanted loose, floppy clothes in which I could relax and be just as free and comfortable as if I were in negligee. Once, when in a ferry boat crossing New York harbor, I saw sitting opposite me a line of crumpled-up women apparently enjoying their slovenly posture. Not one of them expressed dignity or pride in her personal appearance. Not one of the women on that boat, I thought, was unusual or had any desire to know better. I then took a little self-inventory. I was ashamed of myself, because I realized I was not very much better dressed than the other women on the boat. I sat up straight and determined right then and there that I would acquire a style becoming and practical for me and would express that style in the most attractive and agreeable way that I could. And that resolution has helped me more than I can say.”

She was frank enough to tell me that she attributed a great part of her success to having wakened up, to having made herself trim and having kept herself so. She always plans to have one good suit or one good dress–just as good as she possibly can afford; she procures a garment that she has to respect, and that will make her “dress up to fit.”

She said, “If I put on a shabby dress, I will allow my shoes to be shabby and will be careless about my personal grooming; but when I have a dress that I have to be particular about, I always have my hair, my shoes, my gloves, my corset–everything–Just right for it, and I always look very much better.”

Living up to your clothes, creating a style, and being equal to an intelligent expression of it are worth many dollars to a woman who wants to be a success in business, in the home, or in social life.

5 Reasons Why Hardcover Books Are Still Popular

Reading is, for many people, a fundamental part of their lives. They have all different options these days for selecting their literary material. Various types of books exist, and you can also purchase a novel for an electronic reader. However, one form of book still holds its high-ranking place in society over the rest. What exactly is it about hardcover books that make them stand out from the rest?

More Durable
Some people do borrow books from the library, but you might be a person who likes to own the stories you read. Starting up a formidable library in your own home may very well be a goal of yours. In general, hardcover books are more durable than other times. A paperback book could become ruined if it gets a little sprinkle of rain on it, or the cover might tear off. These hardcover books are with you for the long haul. While they do need to be taken care of, they are just not as fragile as others.

For Students and Youngsters
Purchasing hardcover books is particularly important for the younger generation, and this tip is an especially valuable one in schools. When teachers hand out paperback books to students for loaners, they are taking a risk that the works will not be returned in the same condition. Hardcover books last longer at home, but they are also better able to withstand lockers, book bags and desks piled high with learning materials.

Compared to Electronic Books
Certainly, electronic books have their benefits. They are convenient to bring with you, and they are better for the environment. However, reading a hardcover has some special qualities that just cannot be channeled with an electronic book. Holding a hardcover book in your hands may give you a better chance of truly connecting with the characters or remembering why you fell in love with the art of literature in the first place. Many are fighting to keep old-fashioned books alive, and a love for hardcover books makes you a part of that cause.

Serving as Literature and Decor
While reading your books is certainly your favorite part about them, you also like to use these novels and collections of poetry as centerpieces for your coffee table. Hardcover books are generally more attractive than other types, and they can add an air of sophistication to the room. Whether you have a pile of recipe books on a shelf in the kitchen or some of the most classic novels of all time on the living room coffee table, these items can certainly add an extra taste of class to your home space.

Taking Notes
Part of reading a book for a class involves taking notes in it. Even when you’re past the school days, you may still take notes in a book to jog your memory, point out important features or prepare a lesson for your own class that you are teaching. Whatever the case may be, hardcover books are more likely to withstand your note-taking skills than paperback ones. They also are not as floppy, so you don’t have to battle with holding down the book as you are trying to write in it. For the person who loves both absorbing and creating literature, a hardcover book is the right answer for you.

Choosing from among the stack of different books is certainly a task that you love as you get to browse all of the intriguing titles. However, now you also want to consider the form in which the book is presented and all of the reasons why picking a hardcover book is the smart choice.

E-Books – Less Cost, More Convenience, and Immediate Access

E-books made their debut on the publishing scene when the advent of the digital information age roared into full throttle, and they have revolutionized book publishing by making it less expensive and more convenient. Authors and writers can publish long reports, pamphlets, small books, or a whole series of titles that are the size of an encyclopedia, and they can do it on a small budget and get results almost immediately. Without the lag time associated with offline printing – which can add months to the production time of a book – writers get results fast and readers get more immediate access to publications.

That makes it easier to, for example, get ideas into print and begin to circulate them – in the form of e-books – to a virtually worldwide audience. By taking advantage of online tools to boost exposure a writer or e-book publisher can put books into the hands of countless readers for an investment that is less than the price of a typical hardback novel. You simply create your e-book, submit it to the site, and suddenly it is advertised and distributed for you to a practically unlimited viewing audience and readership. Or you can combine e-book promotion with offline promotions, by tying your Internet marketing strategy into such things as book signing events and tours, seminars, workshops, and media appearances.

There are big advantages for readers, as well, because now a consumer anywhere on the planet can go online and gain access to any e-book they want to read. Even if you are traveling in a remote part of the world without facilities like bookstores, as long as you can get access to the Internet you can find, download, and enjoy an e-book. And if you happen to be in one of the world’s more high-tech urban centers, like Tokyo, you may find that some of the biggest best sellers are e-books that are read through portable electronic devices such as mobile phones and PDAs. Within the past few years many of Japan’s top selling novels were sold exclusively as e-books, not old-fashioned printed manuscripts, and the trend appears to just be gaining traction.

Amazon books, for instance, the largest seller of books on earth, spent years and millions of dollars of research and development to come up with its trademarked Kindle book technology. The company started selling the device – which looks much like a thick writing tablet but displays pages exactly like those in a real book – last year and quickly sold out of them. After ramping up production the bookseller has managed to keep pace with Kindle sales, but the new e-book format devices continue to fly off the shelves. Each time someone buys one of these remarkable new inventions they are able to carry in their hand a virtual library of titles, and having a way to put e-books into the hands of readers in this way has finally put the e-book on the map in terms of its status in the world of publishing. Now many of the most famous authors in America are publishing their new novels not as conventional books but instead as easy-to-produce e-books. Experts predict that over the next few years the e-book phenomenon will grow at an unprecedented pace, as more and more writers catch on to the ease and affordability of this new technology and readers turn to electronic books as a modern alternative to old-fashioned books on paper.