I'm someone who absolutely loves all kinds of fashion books, and I am always reading a fashion book. I want to share my knowledge on these books, no matter if they are photography books, books on designers, books with outfits or fashion sketches in them, or any other type of books on fashion. So read my reviews and feel welcome to give me tips on other good fashion books that I have not read yet!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 recap

So now that the year is ending, I figured it might be interesting for those of you who follow this blog to have a small recap of what has happened on the blog during the past year.

First of all, I only wrote 13 reviews of fashion books this year, which is not very impressive, but I do think I have actually read more fashion books during the year than that. I guess I just didn't think they were all interesting enough to blog about?
Also, I must say my interest in books has shifted more into business books and history books lately, so while I do still read fashion books, I do think I read less of them generally.

I also recall some technical issues with the blog during the year, so that could be partly to blame too.

The 5 most popular reviews of the year were:
Trinny and Susannah's Who do you want to be today?
Amy de la Haye's A to Z of Style
Carrie McCarthy's and Danielle La Porte's Style Statement
Kira Jolliffe's and Bay Garnett's Cheap Date Guide to Style
Natalie P McNeal's Frugalista Files.

And the main keyword that brought people to this blog was "fashion book blog", which makes a lot of sense, I guess.

Happy New Year to all my readers, looking forward to 2013 and many new and amazing books (and hopefully more blog updates than 13!) already!

(pic from The Cube)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Review: Sleeping with the Enemy - Coco Chanel's Secret War by Hal Vaughan

I must admit I haven't read many Coco Chanel biographies, which is kind of weird, I guess, but I think it's because I've read her life story in so many magazines and also seen at least 2 movies about her life, so I never really thought a book about the same subject would interest me a lot. But Hal Vaughan's Sleeping with the Enemy - Coco Chanel's Secret War tells a different story than the one we are used to hearing about Chanel, namely that she was in fact a Nazi spy and had a very long and passionate affair with another Nazi spy, living in France for parts of the Second World War. So this sounded like something a bit different, and I decided to read Vaughan's book for that reason.

I must say the book changed the way I think of Chanel. I never thought her to be a saint, I did know she grew up in an orphanage and stuff, after all, and things like that are bound to affect you in one way or another, I think, but if even half of the stories in the book are true, she was a much, much worse person than I ever could have imagined!

This being the first Chanel biography I've ever read, I am not sure if this part of her life is covered in other similar books as well, but Vaughan does dig quite into the subject of Chanel's war time activities. He does write about other aspects of her life too, so the book is not all about the war by any means.

So I can definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a good Chanel biography! I must warn hardcore Chanel fans that the book paints quite a negative picture of Chanel, though, so if those are things you'd prefer not to hear, this book might not be to your liking (especially if you've spent tons of money on Chanel items in the past, I was actually really happy that I haven't after I read this!).

Friday, November 30, 2012

Looking for some great fashion books to give away as presents?

Well, in that case the fantastic website Fashionista has compiled a list of 25 hot fashion books right now, which is well worth looking into for some present ideas. You can see the list here, and I know I want several of the books featured in it!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Review: Amazing Face by Zoe Foster

While I love make up, I must say that I am not an expert on applying it and trying new styles, since when it comes to beauty, I tend to focus on skin care instead. I've always kind of wished that I could create amazing looks by myself, and I also have to admit I've learned everything I know (or think I know) about beauty products by trial and error, and to some extent from blogs. So I decided a while ago that I should get some beauty books, in order to try to improve my knowledge on the matter.
The first beauty oriented book I got was Amazing Face, written by an Australian beauty journalist called Zoe Foster, who has been working in the industry for years, which means she has worked with a huge amount of cool make up artists and has tried most talked about beauty products. So I figured she would know what she is talking, ehm, writing about.

And it turns out she does! While beauty is a huge interest for me, I still found plenty of tips in the book that I found useful, and Zoe has a really cute way of writing too, since she mixes some short jokes with actual tips, and the book covers everything from skin, make up, eyes, complete looks and much more, so if you want to improve your knowledge on everything related to beauty, you can really get started pretty well just by getting this one book.
I also liked that Zoe actually gives tips for actual beauty products to try. Because what good does all this theory do if you have no idea on how to try it yourself? So not only will you learn, for instance, how to apply foundation or eye shadow in the best possible way, you will also get advice on what kind of foundation or eye shadow you might want to consider buying to do so.

Oh and by the way, this is a book to fit all ages, since she gives tips based on your age too. So no matter if you are young or a bit more mature, you'll probably find this book useful! Highly recommended!

Review: Normal Gets You Nowhere by Kelly Cutrone

I am not very familiar with Kelly Cutrone, besides knowing who she is and what she does, that is. I haven't watched any of those reality shows she's apparently on, for instance, and I also haven't read her first book If You Have to Cry, Go Outside, but when I saw her second book Normal Gets You Nowhere, it seemed interesting, so I picked it up and got it.

And despite not being a huge Kelly fan (because I simply don't know enough about her to be a fan), I really like the book. It's basically about being yourself, instead of striving for being normal, since Kelly believes normal people are less interesting than people who are really unique, a statement I would have to agree with. Kelly also gives you tips on how you can reinvent yourself, become your own brand and she also promotes being a good person and caring for others, which is just wonderful, and probably not something that is very common in other books written by celebrities in the fashion industry.
So this book is well worth reading, but I think you might enjoy it even more than I did if you are a fan of Kelly Cutrone, since the book includes a lot of anecdotes from her own life as well.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Review: Gunn's Golden Rules - Life's Little Lessons for Making It Work

I am a huge Tim Gunn fan, I think he is amazing, and I love Project Runway as well, which is why I have read basically all Nina Garcia's books (which reminds me, I should really review those here as well), as well as at least one of Tim Gunn's previous books.

So I was super excited to find out that Tim Gunn actually had a new book come out, called Gunn's Golden Rules - Life's Little Lessons for Making It Work, and immediately got it.

And the book is definitely very Tim Gunn, with a lot of tips on how to make your life in general better, meaning the book is not only about fashion (but of course it is about that TOO). Gunn uses a lot of real life examples to illustrate his points on behaviour, attitude and more, which is nice, but at times the book is a bit too filled with name dropping, in my opinion, and not all the things Tim Gunn says about people in the book are all that nice, which was somewhat dissapointing, since he seems so nice on the show and otherwise. So I think he could definately left some of the more bitchier parts out, but as a whole, the book is really worth reading, especially if you are a fan of the show, but probably for anyone interested in manners and fashion in general too.

So I recommend the book, even though it is not my favorite book among the ones the Project Runway participants have published.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Review: The Frugalista Files by Natalie P. McNeal

I like true stories, especially true stories that end well. So I enjoyed reading The Frugalista Files, about Natalie, who decided to cut her spending, while staying fabulous at the same time, after she found herself in $20 000 of debt.
In order to do this, she started a blog, still active over at The Frugalista.com and the book basically describes what happened after she started blogging.

I like Natalie's way of writing and also think the topic - spending less while getting more - is great as well, so I really liked this book (it's kind of similar to Save Karyn, to those of you who know it) and would definitely recommend it to anyone who is thinking of cutting their spending and loves fashion, manipedis and stuff like that.

The book is available over at Amazon if you want to get a copy of your own.
The Frugalista Files: How One Woman Got Out of Debt Without Giving Up the Fabulous Life

Review: A to Z of Style by Amy de la Haye

If you don't know who Amy de la Haye is (don't worry, I didn't either until I read this book), she is actually a professor of dress history and curatorship and has worked at many prestigeous schools, including the London College of Fashion, so she really knows a thing or two about fashion.
That does not necessarily mean that she is well suited to write a book, of course, and actually, Amy de la Haye has not been doing a whole lot of writing for this book. Instead, she has collected useful quotes by people like Christian Dior, Claire McCardell, Caroline Herrera, Hardy Amies, Coco Chanel, Madeleine Vionnet, Genevieve Antoine Dariaux (who I loooove!), Roland Mouret, Elsa Schiapparelli, Bill Blass, Gianni Versace, Yves Saint Laurent, Diana Vreeland, Carmel Snow and many others and written short pieces herself, creating a very fun book to read, especially for anyone who is slightly into fashion to begin with.

So I would say her A to Z of Style is not a book well suited for anyone just starting to dabble in fashion or who needs serious fashion advice, instead it is a better fit for fashionistas who want to be reminded of what the various masters of fashion (see some of them listed above) had to say about accessories, tailoring, tartan, sportswear, perfume, pockets, labels and logos and much more.

I enjoyed reading the book myself, especially since it is also filled with cute illustrations by Emma Farrarons, but I have a feeling my friends who are less into fashion than me would not have enjoyed it as much. So this is a great book, but not for everyone!

You can get the book over at Amazon if you are interested and think you'd be one of the fashionistas who would enjoy reading various fashion quotes.
A to Z of Style

Review: True Prep by Lisa Birnbach

The prep lifestyle has always intrigued me, even though I have to admit I am not always very prep myself. But that of course does not mean that I don't enjoy reading about this lifestyle. And one of the best books on the topics that I have run into lately is True Prep by Lisa Birnbach and Chip Kidd.
This book is half serious, half funny and has over 200 illustrations in it, and covers everything about the prep lifestyle, from the place preppy people call home, to their vacations, to their style and much more.

You'll also be able to read about several truly preppy celebrities, as well as about what exactly makes them prep, including Julia Child, Stockard Channing, Tory Burch, Jane Fonda, Jodie Foster, Christopher Reeve, David Hyde Pierce, Brooke Shields, Kate Spade, Meryl Streep, Oliver Stone, Vera Wang, Edith Wharton and many others.
The books also includes topics like money, where a preppy person goes to school (including lists on where famous preps studied), why they need a second home, what events are particularly important in socialite circles, prep fashion rules and much more.

So True Prep is actually not a book that focuses only on the fashion part of prep, but on the whole lifestyle. So if you are looking for a how to dress preppy-kind of guide book, this book may not be for you (it is very tongue in cheek as opposed to genuinely helpful, after all), but if you are looking for an easy book to read on the phenomenon as a whole and as a lifestyle, this is a great buy!

I really enjoyed reading True Prep and will probably re-read it again after a while. I particularly liked the fact that this book is way funnier than most other books on the topic.

(the photos in this review are all taken by me)

This book is available over at Amazon if you want to get a copy of your own.
True Prep: It's a Whole New Old World

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Adorable fashion candles with a book theme

Not books per se, but a must for any book loving fashionista none the less!

I personally think these quotes are just wonderful!

You can get the candles here and here.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Bonjour, Happiness! by Jamie Cat Callan

If you like the French way of dressing and living (I certainly do!), there are several different books and style guides on this topic out there. I recently read Bonjour, Happiness! which is a book about "Finding your Joie de vivre" or the ability to enjoy the moment to the fullest, but also about French style, eating the French way, how to create a million euro look on a budget of just a few francs, and much more, and I have to say this is one of the better guides on this topic that I have read.

The reason is that this book actually explains how all aspects of life for a Frenchwoman are connected, so instead of focusing just on style, it also explains how she lives her life otherwise. So it gives you a more complete look on the French way of living than most books.

Some of the advice I really liked in this book include:
Minimizing the time you spend on the internet/reading e-mails and so on when you are not working. Constantly checking your Facebook/your blog stats/Twitter/the stock market or whatever it may be that you are into at the moment is a huge distraction that may prevent you from actually enjoying the moment at hand to the fullest.

Buying fresh, small quantities of food from a market or similar daily or almost daily instead of stocking up on food for weeks at a time. If you do shop for a week at a time, you often end up buying frozen/ready made/less healthy ingredients or foods, and it also does not make cooking as much fun as using only fresh, gorgeous ingredients when you spend time in the kitchen.

Making meals a priority and working up an appetite for them instead of snacking between meals or eating whenever you have the time to spare. Instead, make dinner an event and don't eat for several hours before it, so you really enjoy the meal. If you can, you should also make it a habit to eat with your family or friends so you can have interesting conversations as you eat too.

Buy delicate underwear that needs to be hand washed and learn to enjoy the process on washing your underwear and drying them somewhere in your apartment. Very French and something people who are not French rarely do. But can really make you more aware of the things you keep closest to your skin and help you pay more attention to the parts of your outfit that aren't visible to all too!

Adding small, personal and almost invisble splashes of color, such as the red soles on a Louboutin shoe or a hot pink camisole under a blazer. Makes you more interesting and your dressing less obvious!

Try to think of one way, no matter how small it may be, to make yourself feel better when you are down, and then DO IT! Even if you aren't sure that it will work, but you think it might, it is always worth a shot!

This is just a sample of the advice I personally found in this book and found useful. I mostly want you to get an idea of what kind of advice you can get by reading the book. So if these kinds of hands on tips are what you are looking for when you are looking for a book about happiness, feeling better about yourself (those are the main themes of the book, after all!) or the French, this is definitely a book well worth getting!

I've provided a link to Amazon where you can get the book if you are interested, below.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Review: The Cheap Date Guide to Style by Kira Jolliffe and Bay Garnett

The Cheap Date Guide to Style by fantastic and fun authors Kira Jolliffe and Bay Garnett is a rather unusual fashion book. But I mean that in a good way!

This makes this book a great buy for anyone who is sick of the same advice you find in most other fashion books, since this style guide has quite a few rather unusual tips and also lists some more unique staples for your wardrobe. The authors also seem to want to inspire women to have fun while dressing and experimenting as much as they can in order to find a truly personal style, which is something I really appreciate.

The book is intended for those on a high street budget rather than fans of luxury brands, and is great for anyone who does not want to spend too much money on fashion and style, as well as for students and others on a smallish budget.

You will also find lots of fun quotes in the book, by everyone from actresses Mischa Barton and Rachel Weisz to Dita von Teese, Zac Posen, Beth Ditto and Miss Piggy herself! It also introduces us to some rather surprising style heroes, from Amelia Earhart to Tracey Emin, which is fun too.

So if your style is very traditional and you prefer the classic style guides, this book might be a bit too weird for you, but for those of us who prefer to stay open minded about fashion and have fun with it, this is a great choice!

You'll find this book at Amazon, click on the image below to get to the Amazon listing for this book.

Review: Style Statement - Live by your own design by Carrie McCarthy and Danielle La Porte

Style Statement by Carrie McCarthy and Danielle La Porte promises to inspire us to make more powerful choices when it comes to communicating who we are, in every single thing we do, from dressing to decorating our homes and much more. That's why this book is not only a book about fashion, even if a large part of the book does bring up fashion choices as well, but rather a lifestyle book.

I do think the fashion parts of this book are so good, however, that I have decided to feature the book here on Fashion Books Blog.

What I love about this book is that it features real people, and what they love and interviews that help us understand what defines their style. That makes this book a great buy for anyone who is interested in reading about other people's style (I really do!). It also has a lot of gorgeous photos and introduces fashionistas who read it to concepts and styles you might not find in other style guides.
So while this is not actually a fashion book, I think it is a good read for those interested in fashion, but it is an even better buy if you are also looking for a makeover or some kind of improvement for other parts of your life as well.

The book does not contain a lot of practical advice, however. Instead, it seems to want to make you think and question your current choices and ask yourself what it really is that makes you tick on your own.

So I would not recommend this book for anyone who needs very hands on advice, even though I quite enjoyed the book myself.

If you are interested in getting the book, I saw that they have it for as little as $10 over at Amazon. Click on the image below to buy it.

Review: Who do you want to be today? by Trinny and Susannah

Since I saw Trinny's and Susannah's original tv show several years ago, I have been a fan, even though I don't always agree with all style choices they make for people. This is why I own several of their books as well. The last one I got is called Who do you want to be today?

This is a book that is supposed to inspire you to dress in different styles and give you the courage and the confidence to do so. That's why this book is not really meant for those who are looking to develop their own signature style and a basic wardrobe, but rather for those who like to experiment with fashion and try new looks on a regular basis.
I think it's also a great buy for anyone who wants a wardrobe makeover and find a new style for themselves.

Some of the styles featured in the book are:
Bombshell (a la Marilyn Monroe and Scarlett Johansen)
Gamine (a la Audrey Hepburn)
Cutting Edge Cool
Ice Queen (a la Grace Kelly)
Avant-Garde Eccentric
Rock Chick
High Maintenance
Boho, so if you have ever wanted to try any of those looks, this could be a good read for you.

One thing I particularly like about this book is that it doesn't only explain what clothes you should get in order to achieve the look you want, it also tells you what make up and beauty products go with the look as well as what finishing touches (accessories, shoes and jewelry) fit the style. It also has tons of beautiful photos of looks and pieces you can use to achieve those looks.

So yes, if you are into experimenting with fashion and already have the basics down, or simply are a Trinny and Susannah fan like me, this book is definitely worth getting!

Click on the pic of the book below to get it on Amazon.