Monday, September 21, 2009

Fashion Books for Inspiration, Tips, and Dress-to-Impress Tricks

Influence by Mary Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen; Karl Lagerfeld + Olsen Twins, image from

“Of course I’ll be ready then! I have three hours!”
My boyfriend is truly a great man. Along with my two older brothers and dad, who all, at some point in time, have kindly put up with my gads of jeans, millions of shoes, and purses for every occasion in every imaginable place... all o v e r my house. All have waited an extra five minutes…or 45 pick me up or take me somewhere because “I just can’t find anything to wear! Yes, I really am serious! I don’t have a single thing!”
And besides, sometimes three hours is not as long as you think. You start painting your nails, but first you have to take off the old polish, trim your nails, file your nails, decide what you are wearing and what shoes you are wearing so that the polish matches your outfit…maybe shower first so that the shower doesn’t destroy your new manicure…where was I? Oh! Decide what to wear…

Where do you go for fashion rules, dos and don’ts, trends, and ideas?
Unless I’m alone, we all know that sometimes just standing in front of your closet staring at the clothes on their hangers isn’t exactly inspirational.
Here are just a few of some of my favorite fashion books, all filled with great tips, tricks, quotes, and photos that always get me out the door a little bit faster:

Fashion Illustration by Fashion Designers by Laird Borrelli:
I purchased this book years ago, and I always forget the incredible beauty of its contents until I open it up again. Laird Borrelli compiled fashion illustrations and sketches from tons and tons of brilliant designers. Philip Lim, Christian Lacroiix, Rodarte, Karl Lagerfeld, Badgley Mischka, Wolfgang Joop, Riccardo Tisci…an amazing list of talent that continues on. Flipping through pages of fashion illustrations, I see the carefully articulated designs and details, the deliberately planned buttons and individual stitches; flipping through these pages, I am reminded that fashion is high art—perhaps a more lengthy process than most. Designing a piece of clothing is truly a commitment—from sketch to illustration, fabric to sewing machine, manipulating every fabric until it reaches perfection. Best part? Each illustration is unique. Clothing has always been a means of self-expression, and after studying each sketch, you will undoubtedly appreciate your individual style.

What not to Wear for every occasion by Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine:
This book divides each chapter by occasion, and each occasion is further divided into more specific sections—smart, casual, or trendy. For example, are you planning to attend a party in the winter and want to look confident and elegant? Or, do you have to attend a school PTA meeting and want to assure respect from parents and teachers without looking too matronly? Trinny and Susannah lay out the laws, and their humor is not only funny, but blunt and helpful.
Best part? The authors include shopping advice at the end of each chapter, outlining a list of their favorite stores (in low, medium, and high price-ranges).

What you wear can change your life by Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine:
This book is even more packed than the last What not to Wear book. It keeps the handy shopping guide and ups the humor. It offers more personal advice—like what colors look best on which skin tones and how you can define your own, individual shape (no, we are not all pears, apples, or other nonsense fruits commonly prescribed). Extra, Extra? Trinny and Susannah have not only provided instructions regarding the wear of clothing, but also include how to store your clothing for better longevity.

INFLUENCE by Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen:
Whether you love the Olsen twins or not, you’ve gotta hand it to ‘em—their book is wholesome and creative. In the introduction, the young ladies discuss their passion for design. Mary-Kate and Ashley use fashion to express themselves and delve deeper into others. They interview the likes of Christian Louboutin, John Galliano, and Diane von Furstenberg. There is a good mix of interviews and photos that really highlight each designer’s dreams, realities, and hopes for future projects. The book offers an exposure to so many unique, inspiring fashion perspectives. What else? The book packs in great art and personal photos, near and dear to the Olsen twins and the designers. You can see fashion changing with the decades and wearable fashion in all sorts of environments.