With the hundreds of fashion books and magazines out there, how do you figure out what style advice is right for you? Or how do you politely offer advice to a friend? Most high-end couture is way out there, not only in concept but in price (and size!) so how do we figure out how to "make it work" in real life?
Well if you have ever watched Project Runway, then you are mightily familiar with the all-around fabulousness of queen bee Nina Garcia--she of the sharp-tongue and dry wit, who can make a designer shrink into a swath of pathetically crinkled linen with one simple withering stare. Personally, she's my kind of girl.
However, in her real life, Ms. Garcia is the fashion director at Marie Claire Magazine, was formerly at ELLE mag for many years, and needless to say, the woman knows her fashion stuff. She has written three tomes on style--two bestsellers available now, one recently released in August and already a bestseller. Clearly the Her Chicness has a following and for good reason.
Garcia's fashion advice is smart, chic, and just makes fashion sense. If you ever wanted a book that you could stash in your bag and take shopping with you, this one would be it: The 100: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own. Illustrated magically by Ruben Toledo (you know him--he does the Nordstrom catalogs and is married to fab designer Isabel Toledo--who did Michele Obama's lime-green ensemble for the inauguration--not her best work, but that's just me).
Asked to drill down from one hundred the five absolutely essential pieces a stylish woman must own, Ms. Garcia commands us to have the following:
"The DNA of a wardrobe and perhaps the all time best items are:
The White Shirt: Endlessly versatile, it can from the weekend to the boardroom to the red carpet. When worn correctly, the white shirt can assume so many different roles.
The Little Black Dress: Reliably chic, the LBD can go from classic to dangerously sexy.
Stiletto Heels: One of our most powerful feminine weapons of seduction are Stilettos. No need at all to go into what the potential here is.
Jeans: One of the most personal items in your closet, always practical, comfortable and carefree. Truly American.
Great Jewelry: Real or fake, big or small, jewelry adds a 'personal touch' and can instantly transform an outfit."
Garcia encourages us to identifying our personal likes and dislikes, what we identify with, and use what we already have as building blocks for creating our own personal style. The beauty of this book is that many of these one hundred items may already be in our closets--it's just a matter of putting them together with class, a sense of style, and perhaps learning the ability to edit (for some poor souls out there). This book addresses all these topics and more in an easy, witty, yet helpful manner with the utterly gorgeous and chic drawings by Mr. Toledo. Fabulous just doesn't cover it.
Take a peek here at the book and some Q&A with Miss Nina herself. Her first book, The Little Black Book of Style is also available. Though not quite as bottom line, it's still filled with lots of great fashion insider insights.
To order her new book The Style Strategy: A Less is More Approach to Staying Chic and Shopping Smart, click here.
Definitely on my list this shopping season.