I own pretty much all of these books in a physical version. That should tell you a LOT because I do not really like to keep physical books (don’t have the space, plus.. clutter). I have 99% of my library on my Kobo Glo e-reader, and these style and photography books are the only exception as you need full colour & pages to really appreciate the info.
I bought a lot of them secondhand off Amazon (all links below), and some I found in used bookstores believe it or not!
I enjoy picking them up and just flipping through them to get inspired.
1. Dress like a Parisian & When French Women wear Vintage – Aloïs Guinut
Excellent and clear ideas / advice broken down by item (e.g. jeans), or by colour (e.g. white) with some helpful photos of women wearing certain outfits. Her writing is clear and well done.
2. Brooklyn Street Style – Anya Sacharow, Shawn Dahl, Sioux Nesi
There is a whole “Street Style” series, but the only one I liked was Brooklyn. They had Berlin, Paris, etc, but they weren’t as good because they were just shopping guides, without many photos or much substance to be honest. Brooklyn was the only one that showed me something different, interesting layers, textures, cool ideas to copy and fun interviews with women and their personal style.
3. The Cool Factor – Andrea Linett
It interviews women of various ages, styles, and has so many great styling ideas for each piece. I like to read it through, then put it down, flip to some random section, read it again, and then get inspired by something I see, like a chunky knit turtleneck or sweater over wide-legged white wool pants for winter.
4. The Curated Closet – Anuschka Rees
An excellent book to help GUIDE YOU to find your personal style, not necessarily to tell you what to wear. It asks open ended questions, makes you think about what you wore for the past 2 weeks, why, how it made you feel etc. The workbook that goes along with it is also pretty good and would be worth it if you are still trying to figure out your style (I personally have 10 style personas, I swear).
5. Overdressed: The shockingly high cost of cheap fashion – Elizabeth Cline
An excellent overview of fast fashion, why it sucks, and what to do about it. Bottom line — don’t buy anything at all, or buy secondhand as much as you can and avoid cheap fast fashion retailers. They aren’t worth the money when you wear a $20 item once, and it falls apart, versus paying $200 for something that you wear over and over again for decades to come.
6. The Art of Stripes & The Art of Denim & The Art of the White Shirt – Libby VanderPloeg
These are fun, illustrations that will give you ideas of how to style or wear each of these “iconic” items. I enjoy the illustrations and the ideas a lot, they work just as well as photographs in my opinion.
7. 50 Ways to Wear Denim & 50 Ways to Wear a Scarf & 50 Ways to wear Accessories – Lauren Friedman
Another fun collection of illustrations to help inspire you or give you ideas of how you can shop your own closet. I love a good collection of books, and so does Little Bun because he hassles me to buy the other ones “in the collection” so that we can have a complete set. Haha!
8. How to get dressed & The Accessory Handbook – Alison Freer
I have never encountered another book like this on how to dress properly – so many practical tips, tricks, and ways to look your best in whatever you own, from tailoring to getting stains out, this book is a STAPLE to refer to whenever you need help.
The second one is a great history and overview of all sorts of accessories, how to wear them and use them to their best advantage.
9. Closet Essentials: 60 core pieces – Amber McNaught
I liked the illustrations and all of the “real life” examples of those photos coming to life. Lots of great pages to flip through, stop, shop your closet to recreate the look, and so on.
10. Sartorialist, Sartorialist X, Sartorialist Closer – Scott Schuman
Great photography, style ideas, I flip to any page, and I can pick up a detail on someone I want to replicate – be it a colour, a hat, the way they cuffed their jeans or shirts…