three books for the thoughtful & fashion-obsessed
And why you should read them.
I'm a bit of a bookworm. After graduating from college last year, I suddenly found that I had all this free time. What an odd concept. I'd put "reading for fun" on hold during my undergrad years (and, frankly, most of high school too), so I fully embrace its return to my daily routine.
Of course, there are a few favorites that I'll often reread, especially when I find myself stuck in a rut or looking for inspiration. Maybe I need a new way to style a piece, or I'm putting together a shoot. In a digital world, dominated by changing trends and scrolling through social media, books are a friendly constant. The classic, refreshing style found in these three titles is always what I need to get the spark back.
The Cool Factor by Andrea Linett
I've recommended this book to every woman I know, particularly the ones that have expressed interest in building up their wardrobe. Andrea Linett breaks down all the key pieces for a curated closet — a denim jacket, the perfect pair of jeans, essential bags, shoes, et cetera — but she also shows how different women (with different body types and different forms of personal style) wear them. It's a great book to have on hand when you're giving your closet a facelift. It's also great if you know something's missing, but can't put your finger on what it is. What makes it so relatable is the amount of diversity: women are represented in every size, shape, and ethnic background.
This book is also full of handy "cheat sheets" for achieving that effortless style: there's a guide for identifying timeless pieces (along with the details that make them timeless, not trendy) and a guide for the best fabrics to ensure clothing longevity. Of course, not everything in the book will be applicable to your own style — personally, I will never wear a pair of cowboy-style boots — but it's a great starting point for defining your personal style.
In short: It's a helpful read with lots of great style inspiration, and my number-one fashion book. (I'm also obsessed with the minimalist cover. Mm. Yes.)
Love x Style x Life by Garance Doré
Has there ever been a fashion book list without this title on it? No? I didn't think so. One part style/beauty guide, one part life manual, Garance Doré's bestseller is popular for a reason. She happily marries her own sense of humor with some really solid advice about career paths, working in the fashion industry, etiquette, and relationships. It's grounding and humbling to be reminded that the path to success isn't a straight shot.
Like The Cool Factor, defining your personal style is one of the biggest topics — meaning that these pages are also chock-full of inspiration. Doré debunks the mystical "French Girl Style"... as a French woman herself, she offers a unique perspective on the world's obsession with Parisienne allure. One interesting theme throughout the book is "Paris vs. New York," where Doré discusses her experiences in each city and how their resident women approach style and behavior.
In addition to Doré's personal anecdotes, Love x Style x Life contains some fantastic interviews from other fashion insiders — for example, Drew Barrymore and Diane von Furstenburg (legend) offer their wisdom on some of the aforementioned topics.
In short: Really? Do you need another reason to pick this one up?
It's technically not a book, but it might as well be. Darling is a quarterly magazine written for women, and it always contains articles that are thought-provoking and diplomatic. There's so much to take in: the writing, the editorial styling, and the illustrations contain unique and eye-catching details, but are never ostentatious. The best part? None of their photographs are ever retouched, and their model lineup includes women of different colors and sizes. I love that they celebrate women just as we are.
I used to buy this magazine religiously a few years back, but stopped when it was no longer sold at my local Anthropologie. I got back into it after Darling rebranded their look for this year's summer issue — and a subscription is probably in my future. So, if you're looking for shorter reads on topics that aren't only fashion-related, head to their shop and order a copy. You'll get more than what you pay for. (They also publish articles on their website if you want to try them out before investing.)
In short: Beautiful stories written for women, that touch on all of our personas. Will also look great paired with your beach-lounging set or on your coffee table.