10 Must-Read, Must-Own Fashion Tomes

Searching for some extracurricular reading material to satiate your stylish spirit? With the help of Fashion Pulse Daily’s Julia DiNardo, who offered her favorite reading suggestions during our AWP panel last winter, we compiled 10 of our fashion library essentials for your perusing pleasure.

Secrets of Stylists – Jump-start your fashion career with this guide by your side! Jam-packed with interviews and content outlining everything from commercial photo shoots to runway events, this comprehensive “textbook” is a must for every aspiring stylist.

Lula Magazine, Issue 12 – Lush photography, dreamy editorials, and interviews with everyone from up-and-coming stylists to contemporary artists make this biannual periodical beloved among industry pros and bloggers alike.

Gentlemen of Bacongo – Gorgeous photographs and history-heavy text make this fashion book not only stylishly inspiring, but also culturally significant. Author Daniele Tamagni outlines the development and history of La Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes, one of the most interesting and style-conscious subcultures of the Congo Republic.

The Language of Fashion – Barthes is best known as a mid-century sociologist who wrote many books and essays on the different ways that people interact. This book is a collection of his essays on society and, in particular, the aesthetic choices and clothing of various social classes.

A Cultural History of Fashion in the Twentieth Century: From the Catwalk to the Sidewalk – From haute couture to street fashion, this vividly written, expertly researched, and all-around engaging text covers all you would want to know about 20th century fashion on a number of levels, including advancements in textile technology and the cultural impact of couture designs on mainstream style.

Anna Sui – Sui’s incredible career (over twenty years and counting!) has established her as one of the best in the biz, and with this impeccably crafted tome, you’ll soon recognize why the designer’s legendary rock ‘n’ roll-inspired collections are so downright timeless.

Avedon Fashion 1944-2000 – This book is so much more than a collection of pretty pictures! Influential fashion photographer Richard Avedon’s impressive volume of work speaks for itsel. Plus, if you’re into critical theory, co-author Carol Squiers’ astute observations on the photographer’s prolific career are truly spot-on.

The Sartorialist – This is one of those books that requires no introduction. If you’re a fan of photographer Scott Schuman’s acclaimed street style blog, this impressive collection of his photos is a great way to bring inspiring street style right into your home!

Seeing Through Clothes and other writings of Anne Hollander – Hollander’s essays have appeared on Slate Mag online, including this one on Marie Antoinette’s closet in the wake of the Sophia Coppola movie.

I’m One: 21st Century Mods – This fall, one of the biggest predicted trends is a revitalization of ’60s mod style. With this fun hardback in your collection, you’ll not only dress like a mod, but also know all of the cool historical facts behind iconic 1960’s style.

Add these essentials to your library ASAP, and let us know your favorite fashion titles in the comments below!


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  1. Avatar
    boho chic 08/23/2011 at 7:32 pm #

    eye candy, yummy, yummy eye candy.

  2. Avatar
    April 08/24/2011 at 5:11 am #

    I just wanted to leave a comment to say that the copy for the Trip to Tansy-nia dress is incredibly insensitive and condescending. Seriously, that skirt costs more than a months wages for many people in Africa, and using some whimsical pitch about volunteering in Africa to sell it is flat out gross.

    • Avatar
      Jenn (ModCloth) 08/24/2011 at 10:41 am #

      Hi April!

      Thanks so much for writing in. We’re so sorry we upset you with the description, and have revisited the copy in response to feedback we’ve received from you and others. We craft our descriptions with fun narratives that imagine where our shoppers might take themselves in our items, and did not in any way mean to offend. The ModCloth writer who described this skirt spent many years volunteering in and out of the country, and it was with those fond memories of her experiences that she created the description. We realize how the description must have come off, though, and apologize for that. We know we messed up, and are incredibly sorry.

      If you have any additional questions, or just want to chat some more, definitely reach out to us at blog@modcloth.com. Thanks again for your feedback, April, and don’t hesitate to contact us!

      – Jenn, Blog Editor

  3. Avatar
    Fashion Quotes 08/24/2011 at 12:18 pm #

    Thanks for sharing these great books! I have read a few but my favorite is the Anna Sui biography. Incredible! I really love reading about fashion.

    Here’s my favorite fashion quote that helps me put it in perspective:
    “Fashion is a social agreement. the result of a consensus of a large group of people.”
    -Stella Blum

  4. Avatar
    Lauren Helen 08/24/2011 at 4:22 pm #

    Wow, I’d love a copy of a few of those!


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