13 Best Books About Fashion Update 05/2022

Being told to stay indoors by the government is a great excuse for cracking open some of those must-have style books you’ve been coveting. There was a time when the fashion industry wasn’t seen as a very intellectual one, but those in the know realize that fashion is much more than just a show of lovely clothes on the catwalk and endless shopping trips. When it comes to how we perceive ourselves, others, and the environment around us, the clothes we wear have a significant impact. It’s possible to persuade even the most cynical fashionistas that the profession is worth their time and attention by reading the best books on the subject (and shortcomings).

Even if you’re only interested in fashion’s influence on the environment, there’s a book out there for you to read. Here are our top 17 fashion books that you should read, from historical retellings to hardcovers from your favorite companies that would make the perfect coffee book additions.

The Little Dictionary of Fashion by Christian Dior

While this book may have been written more than 50 years ago, Christian Dior’s views remain relevant today. What to wear to a wedding, packing for a trip, and even walking with grace are all addressed in the soft pink hardback. A glimpse into the Dior way of life, if nothing else.

Coco Chanel: The Illustrated World of a Fashion Icon by Megan Hess

Megan Hess’ illustrated book about Coco Chanel honors fashion’s most famous lady by depicting her in a stylish light. Hess captures 100 of Chanel’s most pivotal moments through historical narratives and elegant black-and-white sketches, all interspersed with wise words from the designer.

Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes by Dana Thomas

Fast fashion’s impact on the environment is well-documented, especially when it comes to global warming. This is not the case in Dana Thomas’ book Fashionopolis, which focuses on those who are striving for a brighter future for the fashion business. She interviews fashion’s environmental pioneers, from small craftsmen to large names like Stella McCartney, about the potential that lies in techniques like printing 3-D garments, clean denim production, fabric recycling, and more. She travels the world to do so.

D.V. by Diana Vreeland

It’s Diana Vreeland’s life that you should live vicariously through right now. It’s a fascinating journey that takes the former Vogue editor in chief and all-around fashion icon from England to New York, where she meets the likes of Queen Mary and Coco Chanel. Vreeland herself is the only person who can tell her life narrative accurately, and she does so brilliantly.

Worn in New York: 68 Sartorial Memoirs of the City by Emily Spivack

It’s like a spin-off of the iconic Humans of New York social media channels, but redesigned to feature clothing and the memories it holds. For example, at the Met Gala, a feather-covered dress and a tank top worn by Andy Warhol’s secretary on a night out are described by New Yorkers in first-person reports.

The Battle of Versailles: The Night American Fashion Stumbled into the Spotlight and Made History by Robin Givhan

The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Robin Givhan is the perfect person to tell the narrative of fashion’s colorful past. Readers will be transported to the Palace of Versailles in 1973, where a worldwide fashion show was held, and which would transform the industry forever, in the pages of this book. Get ready to eat your way through the entire book!

Inside Haute Couture: Behind the Scenes at the Paris Ateliers by Désirée Sadek

Inside Haute Couture is the book you’ve been waiting for if you’re interested in the fashion industry’s intricacies and traditions. Ateliers such as Sadek reveal the inner workings of their personnel, the dynamics of their VIP greeting rooms, and every last detail of the 10 most well-known French ateliers they include.

The Rihanna Book by Rihanna

It’s hard to imagine a more fitting tribute to a style icon than a coffee table book showcasing her most memorable looks. As many as 1,100 photos of the multi-talented mogul are included on 504 pages of Rihanna Book. Photos from her most memorable tours, her upbringing in Barbados, and her never-ending supply of stunning outfits fill this book with a glimpse into Robyn Rihanna Fenty’s full complexity.

The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion by Antwaun Sargent

The New Black Vanguard, written by critic and curator Antwaun Sargent, was published in 2019 and is an important contribution to the literature on black art. With essays and stunning photos, Sargent examines how the global network of black photographers has ushered in a new phase of diversity in fashion, fine art, and popular media through the ages.

Iris Apfel: Accidental Icon by Iris Apfel

98-year-old It-girl Iris Apfel’s self-titled book proves that she was destined to be a fashion legend, despite the fact that her rise to popularity in the industry was not planned. She deviates from the typical memoir framework, yet she still manages to pack a lot of wit into her observations and stories about her life and style. New adventures await you on every page.

Fashion Victims: The Dangers of Dress Past and Present by Alison Matthews David

It’s possible that clothing was originally designed to provide protection, but the documentary Fashion Victims reveals just how lethal one’s appearance can be. Alison Matthews David focuses on the dangers of certain clothing, like hats laced with mercury and fire ball dresses, in her book. It’s the scariest narrative you’ll ever read because it’s dressed to kill.

Camp: Notes on Fashion by Andrew Bolton

For decades, “camp” has been an expression of the links between fine art and pop culture as a way to find inspiration for the 2019 Met Gala’s theme. Camp: Notes on Fashion’s pastel pink cover features two books that explore the aesthetic’s origins as a creative outlet for the LGBTQ community and explain its position in high fashion through photographs of some really odd clothing.

Dapper Dan: Made in Harlem: A Memoir by Daniel R. Day

Known as “Dapper Dan” for his world-famous business on 125th Street in Harlem, Daniel R. Day paved the way for the present high-end streetwear movement. Gucci’s recent homage to one of Day’s original designs and subsequent collaboration with Day on a full line of products were examples of how he was disregarded by the fashion industry. Before dressing some of the most famous hip-hop artists of all time, Day tells his extraordinary story in his memoir.

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