The Top Ten Fashion Books to Read this Summer

From sun-kissed hair to salty sea air, the signs of summer linger around us for three short months out of the year. The beach is packed, the pool is open, and maximum effort is put forth to soak in the rays before the leaves turn red. In addition to all the clichés about summer, it is the perfect time to get lost in a good book. There are hundreds of fashion related books out there to choose from, but below is a short list of best sellers to get you started. This list combines old and new, as well as authors ranging from industry icons to the average joe. Utilize this summer to delve into what interests you and be one step ahead in an industry filled with passion and endless possibilities…because it’s just as fun to dive into a book as it is to dive into a pool.

1. The Little Dictionary of Fashion by Christian Dior

A bestselling fashion classic, The Little Dictionary of Fashion is a must read for every woman, especially fashionistas. Originally published in 1954, Christian Dior reveals the secrets of style. The book provides timeless style tips on everything from wedding to travel attire. The Little Dictionary of Fashion is a guide ranging from what to wear, how to wear it, and how to walk in it. Who better to get style tips from than Christian Dior himself?

2. The Woman I Wanted to Be by Diane von Furstenberg

Written by one of the most influential women within the fashion industry, The Woman I Wanted to Be walks you through the journey of how Furstenberg became the woman that she is today. In the book, she defines what it means to be a woman. She opens up about her family, career, overcoming cancer, building a global brand, and devoting herself to empowering other women. This book is extremely powerful and inspiring, categorizing it as a must-read for women of all ages.

3. The Beautiful Fall by Alicia Drake

The Beautiful Fall reminisces the story of two men who were essence of (and who remain some of the sole survivors of) an era. The story focuses on 1970s Paris, a time in which Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld divided Paris into two halves amidst their rivalry. Filled with passion and intensity, the book reveals part of the industry’s rich history. The Beautiful Fall is a great read for the fashionista who is simultaneously a history buff. It is important to understand the history of the industry and how it evolved into what it is today.

4. Always Pack a Party Dress by Amanda Brooks

Always Pack a Party Dress is a memoir reflecting Amanda Brooks and her 20-year-career within the industry. During this span she held positions such as the photo assistant to Patrick Demarchelier, as well as fashion director at Barney’s. Brooks shares thoughts and lessons learned from the industry, along with career advice and caveats on personal style. Always Pack a Party Dress is a great book for the young fashionista that is venturing out into the industry. Brooks’ memoir is filled with valuable lessons and advice that build the path to a successful future.

5. My Journey by Donna Karan

My Journey, named one of the best books of the year by Harper’s Bazaar, is an inspiring memoir of Donna Karan’s life and journey within the industry. Karan shares intimate details about her lonely childhood, her four-plus decades in the fashion industry, her two marriages, motherhood, and her ongoing quest for self-acceptance and spiritual peace. That being said, My Journey is about much more than just the fashion world. It is the story of a young woman whose vision and hard work made her a role model for women everywhere.

6. I’ll Drink to That: A Life in Style with a Twist by Betty Halbreich

I’ll Drink to That is a lighthearted memoir reflecting on the career of a legend: Betty Halbreich, Bergdorf Goodman’s most legendary personal shopper. In this memoir she shares tales and advice from a career that spanned over 40 years. She discusses the fascinating life that led her to dressing the fashionably elite. A wise and talented woman, Betty Halbreich shares nearly eighty years of knowledge and advice in writing. I’ll Drink to That is a must read for any young fashionista hoping to make it in the industry.

7. Leave Your Mark by Aliza Licht

For those of you that have heard of the handle @dknyprgirl, meet the women behind the handle, Aliza Licht. Licht, former DKNY SVP of Communications, shares personal stories and advice in her book on how to build your personal brand in the fashion industry and beyond. Building your personal brand has become a vital part to success in recent years. Learning to build your brand from an expert could jumpstart your career, or at the very least, formulate a clear picture of who you are. Leave Your Mark is a great book to read for those fashionistas about to embark on their final chapter before they enter into the industry.

8. American Dreamer: My Life in Fashion and Business by Tommy Hilfiger

American Dreamer is the first time Tommy Hilfiger shares his extraordinary life story. The memoir covers Hilfiger’s life as a kid and entrepreneur in 1970s New York as well as insights into the exclusive collaborations ranging from Mick Jagger and David Bowie to Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein. More than a fashion memoir, Hilfiger discusses how to build a brand, both professionally and personally. American Dreamer offers advice on leadership, business, team-building, and creativity, reminding fashionistas everywhere that it’s okay to dream big.

9. Coco Chanel: An Intimate Life by Lisa Chaney

Coco Chanel: An Intimate Life focuses on the most influential designer during the twentieth century, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. The biography highlights the designer’s influence in the modern world as well as the origins, creative power, and secret suffering of Coco Chanel. Coco Chanel: An Intimate Life is a must-read for anyone within the fashion industry. Though it is important to learn about the future of fashion, it is just as critical to learn about its past and those designers that have paved the way.

10. The End of Fashion: How Marketing Changed the Clothing Business Forever by Teri Agins

The End of Fashion focuses on the perception of fashion and the way in which it has drastically changed. “Fashion” was once defined by French designers whose clothes were affordable to only the elite. Nowadays, designers aim to please mainstream consumers and creativity is channeled more into mass-marketing clothes than into designing them.In this book, Agins explores all aspects of a changing industry ranging from manufacturing, retailing, and licensing to image making and financing. The End of Fashion is an eye opening read about an industry that has drastically changed from its origins and continues to do so without warning.

Briana Harrison, '20

Born and raised in Cleveland and proud of it. Lover of dance, music, and good times. Some people find it concerning the number of shoes I have, but I call it impressive.