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  • Elizabeth Little

Fashion's Favourite Books

Personal photo of the author’s book collection

Once thought to be a struggling industry, book publishing has been revitalised through the growing popularity of booktok.Booktok is a popular hashtag on the social media platform Tiktok, with over 27 billion views on the app. A single viral video can cause books to sell out nationwide, just this week a book originally published in 1934 is back ordered for weeks on end (the book is Cain’s Jawbone by Edward Powyss Mathers, if you’re curious). We here at Amelia’s Bloomers decided to hop on the trend and ask a few of our friends in the industry what their favourite fashion book is. Maybe next time you’re doing a book shop, you’ll find yourself adding one of these to your basket.

Maya, fashion writer

“I ordered Dress Scandinavian before I ever considered going to fashion school. The author, Danish Pernille Teisbæk, was my favourite influencer at the time, much due to the fact that she always seemed to concoct beautiful outfits that were easily translatable to regulars’ wardrobes (by that I mean, those who cannot afford Celine – old or new).

The book lays out some tried and tested formulas you can recreate with garments you already own. Teisbæk’s advice inspired me to revaluate my clothes and reconsider the way I wore them, minding things like colour, texture and silhouette. While maximalism is trending again, this book remains a trusted guide for the fashion conscious who want to master the basics of smart dressing.”

Rosie, art and fashion historian

“My holy bible of fashion history books is Aileen Ribeiro's "Dress and Morality.” It’s a really fantastic scope of western fashion through the lens of moralist criticism which is something I'm really fascinated in. The monarchy isn't perfect and neither was their wardrobe, and looking at those critiques are really interesting. There's also a lot in the book about the demonization of women and their interests, which I think is particularly relevant for conversations on bodily autonomy today.”

Femke, fashion writer

“I love “Battle of Versailles” by Robin Givhan because it focuses on one event, an event that is often only mentioned in fashion history or reduced to one paragraph. This book gives full context of all designers, models and the fashion industry before the event and after it, which is crucial to understand how important this event was. It’s easy to accept that it is “the night that put American fashion into the spotlight” but the importance of it all can be difficult to understand when looking at it from a 21st century perspective where American fashion is so dominant. This book is also great because there aren’t that many photos or videos from the even, so to have such a detailed description of it all is great.”

Mary, fashion writer at Wonderland

“I’m really torn by Valerie Steele’s (and some other authors) “Japan Fashion Now” or “Kawaii: Japan’s Culture of Cute” by Manami Okazaki and Geoff Johnson. Valerie Steele’s book looks more at how Japanese visual culture impacted designers influenced designers like Kawakubo and Issey Miyake while the Kawaii book looks at how Kawaii culture originated, different categories of Kawaii, and how it looks now. Both massively impacted my dissertation and I feel like that’s when I really built a strong relationship with both. Especially the book just on Kawaii culture. It was the only time I had to really delve into a subject and get completely and utterly obsessed and what I loved about the Kawaii book specifically is on the cover it is undeniably cute understandably but also incredibly well researched and has so much depth to it. Very much a case of ‘don’t judge a book by its cover,’ but I guess that’s also the appeal of it? Like it’s insanely cute, bright pink and pastel with Lolita girls, but inside it chronicles an entire culture of kawaii and not just where dress is concerned but also mango, art, and even street signs, and it completely changed my understanding of dress history and how much your surroundings and geographical location and even TV adverts for fridges or something can subtly have an impact on dress and how fashion develops. So, for that reason I’d say, “Kawaii: Culture of Cute,” is my favourite for changing my whole approach to dress history, being insanely inspiring and aesthetic whilst being incredibly extensive, well researched, and has so much depth.”

Elizabeth, writer at Amelia’s Bloomers

“My favourite fashion book was also the first book on fashion I ever bought. Paula Reed’s “Fifty Fashion Looks That Changed the 1960s,” is a short but close look at 1960s fashion. It’s part of a series of books with each book analyzing a different decade from the 20th century. The book looks at different trends, designers, models, and anyone else who had any sort of influence on fashion during that era. The book filled my 1960s obsessed heart whilst I was in high school, and I used it as a reference on every research paper I wrote about that decade (surprisingly I managed to write a number of research papers in high school about the 1960s). I wish I still had the book today, as it’s a fun, quick read that’s always informative.”

Be sure to follow Amelia’s Bloomers on Tiktok where we’ll always be updating our favourite fashion booktok books.


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