Specs: The Little Black Book of Style; written by Nina Garcia; illustrated by Ruben Toledo. Published in 2007 by Harper Collins. $15.98 new.
Pros: Project Runway's Nina Garcia condenses the wealth of her fashion knowledge into a little, purse-friendly handbook. She covers everything from finding your personal style to the basic elements of a good wardrobe to inspirations to what to wear when to tips and tricks. She also includes very useful fashion cliff's notes for style by era.
If you are looking to master Style and Dressing 101, this little black book could be your ticket. Nina's writing is as straightforward and charming as her quips as a judge on Project Runway. Her knowledge is true and deep so you can really trust what she's telling you. She walks you through great fashion icons and interviews fashion insiders and designers to get real tips to creating a polished personal style. She gets all the nuts and bolts of fashion into her little book without resulting to dry, textbook discussion or lengthy explanations.
The book is also chock full of adorable illustrations and great quotes about style, inspiration, fashion, women and art. I read this twice because I forgot to write a review after the first time several months ago. It was just as enjoyable the second time through.
Cons: The cons of this book are so limited I feel like I'm stretching a bit for this one. The interviews with fashion insiders go on for quite a while. Read them in spurts over time so they don't get tedious.
Favorite Tidbits: Nina's first "basic" of style is to edit. Good writing, good design, good art and good dressing all require good editing. Clean out that closet.
The third "basic" is to buy with drama. Fall in love with what you buy, and spend your money on something timeless that you will adore forever.
Nina has a section devoted to the importance to shoes. She also acknowledges that you can have great style without great amounts of cash.
The book lists 17 fashion films ranging from Sabrina to Pulp Fiction. Add them to your Netflix queue for non-stop style inspiration.
Nina explains Black tie, white tie, cocktial, dressy casual and casual to ensure we never again suffer a dress code misstep.
The fashion cliff's notes that sum of each decade from the 1920s on is a section worth memorizing if you're trying to learn you basic fashion history.
Favorite Quotes: Nina listed a bunch of quotes throughout the book. I love them all, but here are a few I had to pass on.
"Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world." - Bette Midler
"It's not money that makes you well-dressed it's understanding." - Christian Dior
"Style is a simple way of saying complicated things." - Jean Cocteau
"One should either be a work of art or wear a work of art." - Oscar Wilde
"Remember that always dressing in understated good taste is the same as playing dead." - Susan Catherine
"Know, first, who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly." - Epictetus