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Back-to-School Fashion Reading List



    From Tim Gunn's "Golden Rules" to the next generation of the preppy life, there are loads of new books for your fashion reference library.

    Gunn's Golden Rules: Life's Little Lessons for Making it Work

    The wisdom of Tim Gunn's "make it work" philosophy on Project Runway has turned the dapper fashion academic and tv-personality into the industry's papa hen--he's not just handy for the right hemline, but for a nurturing presence in an often not-so-warm-and-fuzzy business. His latest book of advice teaches kindness, courtesy and humility, but dips into some juicy gossip, calling out diva turns by Vogue's Anna Wintour and Andre Leon Talley in a wickedly Capote-esque tone.

    True Prep

    Lisa Birnbach, author of the pop-culture smash hit The Official Preppy Handbook has written a follow-up with Chip Kidd for today's new class of old-world prep. The all-encompassing lifestyle guide adds updated blue-blood-centric material (PDAs, homosexuality are two big ones), covering everything from education and entertaining, to the psyche of a prep dog. The strict guidelines for a preppy wardrobe are priceless: "Every single one of us--no matter the age or the gender or the sexual preference—owns a blue blazer." Other pieces of advice include: "Remember, we are the people who brought you duct-taped Blucher moccasins, but summer white must be spotless," and, "Don't knock seersucker til you've tried it." Our favorite: "The best fashion statement is no fashion statement." 

    Luella's Guide to English Style

    We're New Yorkers, yes, but at the end of the day, there's no denying that British chicks own the rights to the title of coolest girls on the planet (wait, or is it the French?). Short of bottling that attitude for mass consumption, Luella Bartley's forthcoming bible on English style looks to be brilliant. The prolific it-Brit style icon and one-time designer covers good ground, compiling a primer on adventures to the Cornwall coast, the storied countryside, London's punk scene and club evolution over the decades, and of course, what it means to be quintessentially British.

    Our glossiest, slightly guilty pleasure comes in the form of decadently gigantic coffee table tomes bursting with photographs of all that's beautiful in the world. The latest and greatest from the queen bees, Assouline and Taschen are breathtaking.


    The newest additions to the house's repertoire include American Dior, which follows France's (and fashion's) prodigal son to New York; America's Fashion Designers at Home, a glimpse into how the CFDA's illustrious members have designed their own lives; and Over the Top: 50 Years of Fantasy Gifts from the Neiman Marcus Christmas Catalogue, a page-turner through the store's infamous offering of too-crazy-to-be-true gifts from camels to cupcake cars. The Assouline Ultimate Collection also just released an epic on Tommy Hilfiger that's more coffee table than coffee table book at 14"x17" (and $550), for the designer's 25th anniversary.


    Emilio Pucci,—alimited-edition history told through the designer's iconic prints, and bound in a selection of recent fabric patterns—is obviously meant to be judged, and adored, by it's cover. On a cheekier note, Vintage T-Shirtstakes the pop-culture penchant for logo-screened tees high-brow, in a hardcover volume of some of the best from the last several decades. The list is curated from the collection of Patric and Marc Guetta, owner of LA's World of Vintage T-Shirts.