Whenever I get a moment to think of myself as a devoted professional in the fashion media, I ponder upon the notion of a ‘fashion library’; a collection of beautiful, informative (or both) books about style, fashion history and stylish individuals. I’m on my way - as of now, I own about 10 books roughly on the topic, including Refinery29’s Style Stalking, Icons of Men’s Style and Fashion Victims, a book curious dedicated to fashion-related disasters in the Victorian era, whose author I recently interviewed. And the library is bound to grow.
In the U.S, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is wrapped in a tempting, consumerism-spiked atmosphere. It’s that time of year when gifting yourself with a spa certificate makes perfect sense, and my imagination allows itself to stretch beyond the necessary into the ‘nice to have’. Which brings me back to the notion of a style library - beautiful books cater to my goal of self education, pamper my inner fashionista and compliment my living room when skillfully stacked. It is the holiday gift trifecta. Which books am I planning on buying (or, ahem, be gifted) this year? Here’s the seasonal must-have list.
Why: This came out earlier this year, and prompted new interest in the street style photographer. I avoided buying Alexa Chung's 'It' (which looks about the same), but Garance is a different story.
Why: Not exactly a style book, but ever since discovering Justina Blakeney on Instagram, I'm enchanted by the prospect of embroidered pillows, colorful wallpaper and other bohemian staples. The book seems like a natural progression.
Why: I mean, it's Chloe Sevigny, whose photo I used for Facebook's doppelganger week last year. She's perpetually sleepy, utterly cool and irresistibly stylish. Would some of it rub off on me in the process of reading? Hopefully yes.
Why: I first stumbled upon the Gypset series at a Danish Airbnb. I'm hooked ever since, but yet to purchase a copy. The Style book, in particular, has a very cravable, escapist appeal - I desperately want to be a Gypsetter.
Why: Blame it on Solange's videos and Trevor Struuman's Instagram. Despite looking like one of those coffee table decorators, Haute Africa actually contains art photography, essays and lots of quirk. I needed it as soon as I saw it.
Why: Amy Odell is witty and talented, and a fellow journalist. Besides, having been to a couple of Fashion Weeks, this should be amusing and educational at once. Fashion books, you know, are not all pictures and beautiful covers.
Feel inspired to grow your own? Here are a few tips:
1. Don’t feel obligated to go straight to the basics, such as history, designer biographies and serious mega-titles. A good fashion library is diverse and most importantly, fun for you to browse.
2. Avoid ‘gimmicky’ amateur books like 50 best LBDs or fade-away, of-the-moment tomes such as Alexander McQueen. A library built to last deserves better.
3. Invest in quality books that group, or interestingly sum up, a cool topic, such as American Beauty or A Matter of Fashion: 20 Iconic Items that Changed the History of Style. I have the wonderful Women in Clothes and Fashion Box: The Immortal Icons of Style - such books expand your horizons in a fun, lightweight manner.
4. And - add quirk. Once, I found a book awesomely titled Hurrah For the Bra - it was a pop-up about the history of bras! Of course I bought it. Look for your own private Bra Book.