Are you gals getting excited yet about Project Runway coming back?  I sure am!  I can’t wait!  Thankfully there have been some really nifty things come out of our favorite folks from PR while they have been on hiatus (and I don’t mean babies from Heidi Klum!).  This is one of them – The Little Black Book of Style, written by Nina Garcia.

I usually don’t read too many fashion books, as my obsession lies a little (ok, a lot) more towards the beauty side of things – and spending 95% of my time in a little office out on a ranch, well, beyond some good wellies and jeans, I just don’t have much need for couture (*sniff*).   But, this book was very intriguing to me, and I have been eyeing it on Amazon, along with Tim Gunn’s book (A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style).  So I started with Nina’s.  This is a great little book – especially for those of us like me who aren’t quite ready for the super intellectual side of fashion.  This book in some ways reminds me of The Preppy Handbook – those of you who are my age will no doubt remember that one.   I think it is mostly the many references to the Little Black Dress (LBD) that is bringing back those memories.  I saw a question on Ask Metafilter not too long ago about how one can give the illusion of being wealthy on a small budget, and as I read this book, I thought about that question, and thought that this book completely answers it. 

Now, I don’t mean to say that this book is at all telling you how to be stylish on the cheap, because it isn’t, believe me, it isn’t.  But it is absolutely chock full of the little details that mean a lot when you are trying to put your best foot forward.  Nina’s South American background gives her an incredibly interesting and different view of beauty and style that is both charming and highly informative.  Honestly, I really didn’t have much of an opinion on her prior to reading this book – she doesn’t have the charm of Tim Gunn or the presence of Heidi – I liked her just fine, but didn’t feel like I had seen her really enough to form a real opinion, so that has made this book even more interesting to me – I now really love her!

So what does she talk about in this book that is really helpful, you might ask.  Probably the most useful part is at the beginning of the book – The Basics.  Nina puts the basics into a list of 10 concise things that every stylish woman should know.  How do you fit in here?

  1. How to edit.
  2. To invest in “the bones” (classics, basics)
  3. To buy with drama.
  4. The utmost importance of shoes
  5. The power of accessories
  6. A good tailor
  7. How not to be the fashion victim
  8. It is not about the money
  9. How to mix it up
  10. How to be imperfect

The remainder of the chapter digs deeper into each one of these things, and REALLY made me want to go shopping (which is somewhat of a feat).  It also made me want a $10,000 bag, but that’s another tale for another day.  Also worth noting in the book are scads of short interviews with style icons and designers on specific topics.  There are little gems absolutely all through that section. 

Have you read this?  Did you enjoy it as much as I did?  I hope so, let me know.  This book is available at Amazon for $12.21 at the time of this writing, and is being sold as a package with Tim Gunn’s book for $21.44.  A small price to pay for tons of useful info, beautiful illustrations (by Ruben Toledo) and entertainment to boot!  Do check it out!