I have three weaknesses when it comes to spending money - Clothes, magazines and books. More precisely, clothes I don't truly need but seriously want, fashion magazines that stack up to quite a hefty monthly cost, and beautiful looking fashion books. In total the three lead me towards the same destination by the end of each month: being utterly broke!
Perhaps the most expensive habit of all is my unpenetrable addiction to heading over to Amazon and typing "fashion books" into the search bar. I just can't resist the allure of a shiny cover, beautifully written chapters and the opportunity to sit and stare in awe at amazing fashion photography. It's too much. Considering the fact that I'm constantly walking you through my wardrobe and favourite pieces within it, I thought perhaps it was time to show you around my book shelf and some of my favourite fashion based books.
The Fashion Book by Richard Martin
This is one of my Amazon finds as well as one of my first fashion book purchases. For anyone that wants to be in the industry, this book is honestly one of the best for knowledge about the people within fashion that I've seen. Each page looks at an influential designer, photographer or model from the past 150 years with a paragraph about them and a photograph that summarizes their work. It includes both well known and less famous names along with information about how they made an impact in fashion.
The visual dictionary of fashion design by Gavin Ambrose and Paul Harris
As opposed to the previous, this book is more focused on textiles and the technical side of creating clothes. It's arranged in alphabetical order and puts a definition to fashion terms from placket to petticoat. It was quite pricey at around £20 new, but again I think it's an essential book to have gracing your desk if you're hoping to work in fashion one day.
20th century fashion by Ernestine Carter
This book was an absolute bargain at just £3! I got it last week in a second hand book shop and think it's really wonderful. It focuses on fashion from 1900 to the 1970s (when it was published) and is amazing for anyone who's interested in fashion through time. The whole book is full of beautifully photographed black and white images peppered with paragraphs about individual eras in fashion. It gives a great idea about how clothes became to be those we know today.
Another surprisingly cheap find at the same wonderful second hand book shop as the previous book; again it was only £3. "World of Fashion" is not a book for the feint hearted and is instead focused at those with a true dedication to exploring everything about fashion. The whole thing is pure text with no pictures but gives an unbelievable amount of information about the clothes worn throughout different continents. Each section of the book is dedicated to a particular part of the word with in depth looks at their culture and how it effects what the people wear. It's also written by Eleanor Lambert, someone clearly well qualified to produce such a book.
This book is a lot less heavy to read and I think that anybody remotely interested in fashion would enjoy it. Instead of looking at couture and high fashion, it's based on the clothes that normal people would wear on a daily basis throughout the past 50 years. It's informative without being overwhelming and it almost feels like reading a magazine due to the pictures placed on every page. I was given this book, but it's available at a really small cost on Amazon at the moment and I would honestly suggest buying it for a detailed and well illustrated look at retro fashion.
Ballgowns: British glamour since 1950 by Oriole Cullen and Sonnet Stanfill for The V&A Museum
This is probably my favourite book ever. I purchased this beautiful piece of work at The Victoria and Albert Museum in London after going to the exhibition that shares the book's title last year and can't express how much it means to me. Firstly the memory it holds is absolutely amazing as the exhibition was such a huge experience for me and secondly, the book is pure elegance. The photography of the ballgowns in the later part of the book is stunning and the writing included in the first section is simply perfect in terms of information and how its crafted. It's not essential to have visited the exhibition to have the book, however I think that the majority of it would have a much deeper meaning to you if you did happen to.
Fashion: The 50 most influential designers of all time by Bonnie English
Fifty fashion looks that changed the 1960s by Paula Reed
Valentino: Master of Couture, a private view
This is another book that I deeply love perhaps mainly due to the memory of the exhibition that I got it at. Apart from the fact that the exhibition was amazing and actually made me emotional, the minimal inside of this book makes it extremely lovable. The whole thing is dedicated to looking at the private life of Valentino through pictures in his photo albums; there's no overcrowded spaces or an abundance of writing throughout the whole book which means looking through it is incredibly easy and enjoyable. If you love Valentino as much as myself I would recommend this book, but at the quite high cost it would be foolish to buy it if you aren't a big fan of his work.
Minxy vintage by Kelly Doust
I was extremely lucky to get this book for my 16th birthday. It focuses on how to customise vintage clothing found in retro and charity shops as well as markets throughout the UK. For me this is a dream book as I adore both buying vintage clothes and customising my own, as clearly my family know! Each section is amazing and looks at the projects of Kelly Doust as she tries to achieve her perfect wardrobe. It's really inspiring and has fantastic tips for any DIY lovers!
So there you have it, a look at the books within my collection that I have a deep rooted love for. Do you know of any fashion books that you would recommend, please let me know!
Thanks for reading,
Bethany Paige x