Unless you’re one of the rare few born with a seemingly innate sense of style – we’re looking at you, Olivia Palermo – a little help in the fashion department can go a long way.
But we’re not talking about jumping on the latest trends or buying designer clothes. On the contrary, the best fashion advice is about personal style: how to pick well-fitting clothes; how to inject confidence into your wardrobe; and how to elevate your style when you’re working with a budget.
Happily, there is no shortage of experts willing to impart their wisdom and advice on the likes of us mere mortals. From Vogue editors to celebrity stylists (a la Rachel Zoe), the crème de la crème of the industry has put pen to paper to take our personal style to the next level.
We scoured the virtual bookshelves and came up with eight handy-dandy fashion books for beginners and pros alike. Keep reading to find the perfect book to inspire your personal style – and get ready to take notes.
Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style
Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style ($22) by Tim Gunn and Kate Maloney
Whether you are just starting to discover your personal style, or you’re looking to refine what you already know, Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style can help. It covers everything: how to dress for a particular occasion; how to shop for designer clothing; how to pick a fashion mentor; how to improve your posture, and how to find the perfect fit. Better still, it all comes from a seasoned expert. Gunn was chair of fashion design at Parsons for seven years and has been a mentor on Project Runway since 2004, so trust us: he has seen it all.
The One Hundred
The One Hundred ($16) by Nina Garcia
Just when you thought you had a fully-equipped wardrobe, along comes The One Hundred to tell you that, in fact, you don’t. Housed in this book is a complete list of the items every woman should have in her closet. You’ll find the obvious – the little black dress, ballet flats, a trench coat – but you’ll also find the not so obvious. For example, Garcia – who has worked for Marc Jacobs, Marie Claire and Project Runway, to name just a few – extols the virtues of Converse sneakers, fishnet stockings, and moccasins. Consider this your new bucket list.
The Truth About Style
The Truth About Style ($22) by Stacy London
Stacy London is the co-host and hero of What Not to Wear, so who better to give fashion advice on, well, what not to wear? While this book is a handbook on how to makeover your style from start to finish, it does have a twist. London gets into the nitty-gritty of self-esteem, sharing her struggles with confidence and how core emotional issues can be the catalyst for a disastrous wardrobe. By the end of the book, you’ll not only understand your style, but you’ll also have a newfound confidence – and there’s nothing chicer than that.
Lauren Conrad Style
Lauren Conrad Style ($13) by Lauren Conrad
Fashion designer and former reality star Lauren Conrad spent her formative years in front of the MTV cameras, which means she was forced to polish her personal style until she had it down pat. In this guidebook, Conrad passes on her best fashion advice while chronicling her style journey – from Cali-cool teen to camera-ready reality star. Conrad discusses how to find sources of inspiration that you can use to create a unique look, plus identifies the pieces she believes every woman should have. If you’re ready for some beginners’ lessons, this book’s for you.
I Love Your Style
I Love Your Style ($20) by Amanda Brooks
Amanda Brooks has had an amazingly diverse career within the fashion industry. She has been the creative director for Tuleh, a Vogue columnist and the fashion director of Barneys New York. Armed with the knowledge picked up at these roles, Brooks has created a book that touches on the various points that make up one’s personal style. Better still, the book devotes pages to particular styles – minimalist, classic, bohemian, vintage, high-fashion – for those who lean in a specific direction. With more than 400 photos to accompany the advice, you can consider this book your new must-read style bible.
Style A to Zoe
Style A to Zoe ($19) by Rachel Zoe and Rose Apodaca
Celebrity stylist and fashion designer Rachel Zoe is virtually a household name, and for a good reason: she knows her stuff. Here, Zoe shares her tips on how to live a glam life. Sure, that seems easy coming from someone with money to burn, but Zoe makes sure that her fashion tips and advice can stretch to any budget. Given Zoe is credited with turning around the style of Hollywood starlet Nicole Richie – who is now an icon in her own right – we think this book is best summed up as gold.
That Extra Half an Inch
That Extra Half an Inch ($22) by Victoria Beckham
There is no doubt Victoria Beckham has had some questionable style moments, but you can’t spend years as a pop star, followed by years as a fashion designer, without picking up a thing or two. In this cheeky book, Beckham covers everything: how to dress for special occasions; how to feel confident in your clothes, and how to look great every time you leave the house. Given Beckham rarely has a hair out of place, we’d be happy to take lessons on the latter, and we think you will be too.
The Wow Factor
The Wow Factor ($25) by Jacqui Stafford
Jacqui Stafford’s experience runs the gamut from editorial to television, but you don’t have to follow her every move to benefit from her wisdom. Her wisdom is all packed neatly into The Wow Factor, which covers how regular women can get the “it” factor so often seen in celebrities. Here, you’ll learn the styling tricks fashion and beauty editors use to make stars look picture-perfect. Stafford also reveals how fashion editors shop, manage trends and pay attention to the market. This book is your insider’s guide.