If you not only love fashion as a form of self-expression, but also find the ins and outs of the industry itself fascinating, you may find yourself wanting to go beyond blogs and fashion magazines. Good news: it’s easy to delve further!
I’ve rounded up my five favorite books about fashion and style below. These books give a behind-the-scenes look at the industry from those who have essentially created it from the ground up, and from those whose lives it has deeply impacted. From development to photography to marketing, you’ll get all kinds of influential fashion commentary.
1. Women in Clothes, by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, Leanna Shapton, and more
Get thought-provoking perspectives on fashion from those who know it best: women like you. The authors of this book surveyed over six hundred women about their views on fashion, giving us wonderfully revealing conversations about what fashion can say, and how it can impact your life.
2. Mario Testino: In Your Face, by Mario Testino
This book is filled with photos of the most fabulous fashion moments and will make the most gorgeous coffee book table. You’ll want to open and read it over and over again.
3. The Sartorialist: Closer, by Scott Schuman
I love street style shots more than any high fashion or runway photography. I love seeing how real people in this world dress and express themselves. If you do too, then this book—from renowned street style photographer Scott Schuman—is for you.
4. I’ll Drink to That: A Life in Style, with a Twist, by Betty Halbreich
Betty spent forty years of her life as a personal shopper at Bergdorf Goodman, and she has the stories to prove it. Hilarious, charming, and personal, Betty chronicles how she has been able to help women learn how to find their true selves with the help of fashion.
5. Champagne Supernovas: Kate Moss, Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen and the 90s Renegades Who Remade Fashion, by Maureen Callahan
There will never be another decade like the ‘90s. In my humble opinion, it was the best decade for fashion and music, and the last before technology overtook our lives. This book chronicles the best of the best in its unique fashion culture.
The model off-duty look is the epitome of casual and comfort chic. In between runway shows and magazine shoots, models have a way of taking simple pieces and making them look effortlessly stylish. While it’s not as easy as hopping out of bed and throwing on your favorite tee, creating your own ‘off-duty’ style is entirely doable.
Follow the tips below to master the kind of effortless street style we love seeing on the likes of Kate Moss, Gigi Hadid, and Karlie Kloss.
Keep it CasualModel off-duty style is most attainable when it is kept casual. Think booties, simple prints, and neutral colors. If you’re more apt to dress girly, tone it down with some tomboy elements like sneakers or a bomber jacket.
As a style and fashion enthusiast, I have always been drawn to the real stories and behind-the-scenes look at how everything comes together. As a stylist I am truly in awe of how fashion empires, whether it be a publication, a design house, or a photographer, came to be, run their daily operations, and how they plan on expanding and innovating for the future.
Check out my list below of 5 films every fashion lover should watch and let us know what your favorite is or what you are most excited to watch! Do you have any other must-watch fashion films on your list?
The September Issue
The September Issue takes us behind the scenes of the American offices for the fashion magazine, Vogue, and right into Anna Wintour’s daily duties, for an up close and personal look at the making of, you guessed it: The September Issue. The 2007 issue was the largest in Vogue’s history at the time, with 820 pages.
“There is something about fashion that can make people very nervous.” – Anna Wintour.
See the trailer for The September Issue here.
Coco Before Chanel
Based on the early life of Coco Chanel, born Gabrielle Chanel, Coco Before Chanel tells the true story of rags to riches, from an orphanage to the heights of the fashion world.
“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” ― Coco Chanel
See the trailer for Coco Before Chanel here.
Iris gives us an intimate look into the life of fashion icon, Iris Apfel. From 1950 – 1992, Iris and her husband took part in interior design renovations for 9 Presidents; during this time of international travel and design is when Iris rose to fame in the fashion world as a true icon for her daring and carefree style, which she continues to this day at 94 years old.
“There’s no how-to road map to style. It’s about self-expression and, above all, attitude.” – Iris Apfel.
See the trailer for Iris here.
Bill Cunningham New York
Bill Cunningham has been a fashion photographer for The New York Times since 1978 and has revolutionized what we now know as “street style”. Before bloggers or Instagram, Bill Cunningham was using his keen eye to discover and shed light on fashionistas, celebrities, socialites, and new designers. Bill is currently 87 years young and is still photographing in New York for The Times.
“The wider world perceives fashion as frivolity that should be done away with. The point is that fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life. I don’t think you can do away with it. It would be like doing away with civilization.” – Bill Cunningham
See the trailer for Bill Cunningham New York here.
The True Cost
The True Cost explores the world of fashion and the impact it has on people and the planet, focusing on the effect of “fast fashion”. Fast fashion is a heavy note that we do not typically highlight in the world of fashion; more importantly the working and negative environmental conditions of factories. Go behind the scenes of the biggest fashion companies and learn more about how to support and be a part of the change for the better we are on the verge of.
“I believe these clothes are produced by our blood. I want the [factory owners] to be aware and look out for us, so that no more mothers lose their kids like that.” – Shima Akhter, a Bangladeshi factory worker in the film.
See the trailer for The True Cost here.
Fashion is used to express oneself and often gives insight, whether consciously or not, to where our lives are. Jenn Rogien, the costume designer for the Emmy award-winning HBO show Girls, has the difficult job of curating a wardrobe that tells a story about the characters as the script itself does. If you’ve been watching Girls since the first season, you may have noticed the style evolution each character has gone through as their lives have changed.
Hannah (Lena Dunham) is known as being a mess from the very first episode of the series, arguably going through the longest quarter-life crisis a twenty-something can have. The show is rounding out its fifth season, and we’ve seen Hannah evolve professionally and romantically. Her wardrobe has gone from ill-fitting and unflattering with haphazard mixed prints, to a cleaner but still quirky look that often incorporates an academic, somewhat preppy twist.
Bohemian-chic Jessa (Jemima Kirke) has always had the most consistent style throughout the series—until this current season, where we’ve seen her pull back. Her life has slowed down and become more stable, and her wardrobe is beginning to reflect that by also settling down while still keeping her unique flare alive.
Marnie (Allison Williams) is the one friend we all have: she bases her identity on her romantic relationships or what she is currently involved in. One of the most “together” girls at the beginning of the series (in life and in style), Marnie had a classic look with a casual elegance. As the series progresses, Marnie seems to constantly be scrambling to put her life back together. Currently fronting as a singer-songwriter, Marnie’s style has transformed into indie scene hipster.
Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) is your friend who’s always up-to-the-second on trends, celebrities, and gossip of any kind. She is extremely concerned about fitting in and being liked, and her style showcases this concern with the use of every fashion trend and rule at once. Though Shoshanna is still innocent and impressionable, she is also independent and confident, and her style has noticeably toned down and evolved to be still playful but more adult-appropriate.
If you haven’t been watching the new HBO show Vinyl, block out your weekend for some serious bingeing. The music industry-based show is not only written well, its ’70s era fashion is downright enviable, especially in a time when the resurgence of these trends can’t ignored.
Vinyl has been a style inspiration since the series premiere in February, and it’s no wonder why. The show’s costume designer, John Dunn, who has previously worked on shows like Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire (both with perfect vintage styling too), has recreated the era’s fashion with brilliant execution; the looks are gritty, glamorous, and rebelliously rock and roll. You can learn more about how Dunn has been able to revive the ’70s for HBO here and here.
Check out my top 10 favorite looks from the series so far!