I’ve read a lot of style books over my time- they’re good for kicking back and relaxing when you’re trying to put off reading Henry James’ The Golden Bowl (which I’m currently happily but slowly wading through right now). At some point they all seem to blend together (the fashion book, not the Henry James’), but there remain some special ones that stand out- and a lot of other ones that are fun and worth reading, even if they’re not listed here.
Because I had to limit my number of French style books- there are so many that are worthwhile reads but differ from each other only slightly.
I also cut out my favorite minimalism books, because they deal with wardrobes an top of many other lifestyle changes.
And then there are books more based on images- which I’m not going to talk about. But style coffee table books are beautiful too.
- The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own
The is partly a nostalgia pick. The first style book I ever bought, pre-high school, after poring over it during multiple Barnes & Noble trips. Before I was into clothes and style and fashion and whatever, I watched Project Runway (starting in 5th grade?). So Nina Garcia was a familiar name. For a little while I treated this book like a shopping list, but now I appreciate it more for the lovely illustrations and history of classic fashion items (like leopard print, fishnets, Frye boots, etc.)
- Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste, and Style
Ditto for Project Runway and Tim Gunn, who fulfills the role of beloved mentor and soundboard of the competing designers. Worth it just because you can hear his voice through the characteristic diction. And more so because of the thoughts about fashion as it relates to American culture and society. (The Slobification of America, anyone?)
- How to be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits
(Caroline de Maigret, et al.)
It’s completely unfair to list CdM as the main author of this book, but she’s a favorite inspiration of mine and you can definitely detect her hand in it. If you’re unfamiliar, her style and attitude is very ironic and modern-twist-on-seventies-rock-and-roll. I have to admit that I wrote down a few of the tips in this book. I also have to admit that I still have them in some folder on my desktop.
If you want to hear more about it here’s a terrifyingly stilted and uncomfortable interview about the book.
- Love Style Life
Speaking of my personal inspirations… This book maybe fits less well because it is so much about Garance Dore’s personal journey, but I do recommend checking it out- particularly if you’re familiar with her blog or any of her other social media channels. I got this one as a (requested) birthday present Summer 2016.
- Parisian Chic
(Ines de la Fressange)
I’m very fond of this book- it was another Barnes & Noble obsession years after I had bought and browsed Nina Garcia multiple times. It was at least five years ago, because I wasn’t in college yet. My favorite thing about this book is the combination of style advice (able modeled by Ines de le Fressange’s daughter) and ‘insider tips’ into the city of Paris- specifically Ines de la Fressange’s favorite locations. And where to find public restrooms, which is invaluable advice whatever city you happen to be in.
Any favorite style books on your end? Can you guess any of the French fashion books I’ve read but didn’t mention (hint: all of them)?