Summer is the perfect time to catch up on reading. But for the fashionista, it's also the chance to catch up on everything fashion, before the fall runway event known as Back to School comes along. Here, then, is the ultimate summer reading list especially for the fashion-minded, with books ranging from heartfelt page-turners to tell-alls about top fashion design houses to fun style guides. So before you hit the beach or the mall this summer, you might want to hit the books, too.
"The Carrie Diaries" by Candace Bushnell. Before "Sex and the City," what was Carrie Bradshaw like? This prequel, set during Carrie's senior year of high school, chronicles her life before she becomes a famed columnist and fashion design icon. It's a must-read for fans of the series and movies.
"Fierce Style: How to Be Your Most Fabulous Self" by Christian Siriano. The Project Runway winner finally has his own book, and it's as funny and outrageous as the designer himself. Most importantly, he shares tried and true fashion tips that can help turn anyone from a "hot tranny mess" to a fierce fashionista.
"101 Things I Learned in Fashion School" by Alfredo Cabrera and Matthew Frederick. How do designers spot trends? What's the fashion calendar? How does a collection go from concept to retail? Whether you're interested in a career in fashion design, or are just fascinated by the business, this book answers these questions, and 98 more.
"Gucci Wars: How I Survived Murder and Intrigue at the Heart of the World's Biggest Fashion House" by Jenny Gucci. This juicy tell-all gives us an up-close look at the scandalous lives of the fabulously wealthy Gucci family, as well as the inner workings of its fashion empire. Written by one of the Gucci wives, the book shows that truth is stranger than fiction.
"The Thoughtful Dresser: The Art of Adornment, the Pleasures of Shopping, and Why Clothes Matter" by Linda Grant. Lovers of fashion know that clothes do more than cover our bodies; they're an extension of our personalities. The thinking person's guide to what we wear, this book examines the significance of clothes in our lives, and how they shape our identity.
"A Vintage Affair" by Isabel Wolff. Every piece of vintage clothing has a history, and in this novel, set in a vintage shop in London, two women find a common past in the same child's coat.
"The Color of Style" by David Zyla. We've heard of color theory in fashion, but never like this. The Emmy-nominated fashion expert builds on the "what season are you?" approach with 24 different variations, so you can pinpoint the different colors that will not only make you look better, but do magical things like attracting love into your life, or enhancing your power at work. It's as much fun as going to a psychic.
"How to be a Hepburn in a Hilton World: The Art of Living with Style, Class and Grace" by Jordan Christy. In today's culture, it's cool to be a tabloid headline, and many young girls aspire to be bad girl celebutantes. This book shows how the 21st century female can be beautiful, glamorous and desirable - without a stint in rehab.
"The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons from the World's Most Elegant Woman" by Karen Karbo and Chesley McLaren. Coco Chanel changed the way women dressed, and in doing so, challenged women's roles in society. This is the book on "What would Coco do?" Anecdotes from the fashion design icon's life shed light on topics from style to love to money.
The Teen Vogue Handbook: An Insider's Guide to Careers in Fashion. For anyone interested in a career in beauty or fashion, this book provides "real world" information and advice about all types of professions, from designers to makeup artists. Find out how top designers like Marc Jacobs got into the business, and whether fashion school is for you.
"Sima's Undergarments for Women" by Ilana Stranger-Ross. Sima runs a successful lingerie shop in Brooklyn, but is unhappy about her dull life until she hires a seamstress who becomes the daughter she never had. In this celebration of friendship, it takes someone who sews to show that even people with nothing in common can have a relationship that's beautifully stitched together.
Who knows, maybe this summer you'll read one of these best-sellers, and in a few years, you'll be creating one of fashion's best-sellers.