The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

Ask BB: 4 Good Reads for Great Style

A reader from San Francisco asked me if I had any books to recommend that include good tips on incorporating more color, textures, patterns, and jewelry into one's wardrobe. She says she's got the basics down pat, and is now looking for a little guidance on how to take her style to the next level, as well as advice on which statement pieces to splurge on. I think this is a fabulous question, so I did a little research and put together the following list. Budget Tip: Hit your local bookstore or library for hours of free entertainment before you buy.

How to Have Style by Isaac Mizrahi ($18.85 at

I'm a visual learner, so I was drawn to the many photos that can be found in this book by the darling Isaac Mizrahi. And I'm a huge Isaac fan, so there. He shows you what to do, what not to do, and gives you style exercises to help inspire and elevate your own look. Accessories are such a huge part of having "style" as opposed to just wearing fashions, so right from the get-go, Mizrahi's book is singing our tune.

The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own by Nina Garcia ($14.93 at

If you're looking for an excuse to splurge, Nina Garcia gives you 100! But buying everything on her list isn't the point of this book, rather, it's meant to get you dreaming about your own essentials, things you will want to have in your closet for years to come. I'm also partial to illustrator Ruben Toledo, whose beautiful drawings enliven the pages.

The Lucky Guide to Mastering Any Style: How to Wear Iconic Looks and Make Them Your Own by Kim France and Andrea Linett ($18.80 at

This book is also full of photos and features ten versatile archetypes (Euro Chic, American Classic, Gamine, etc.) that can be customized to fit your personal style. Lucky breaks down each iconic look by its various components, so you can hone in on the key accessories and figure out how to mix and match essentials while staying true to your own style. Ok, so Omiru is not a book (yet) but I had to mention this fashion blog because it does a marvelous job of deconstructing on a granular level such topics as "how to wear color," "how to wear patterns," or "how to wear statement jewelry." The writing is straightforward and the visuals are all clickable (thank you world wide web).

What books have you found most useful when it comes to defining your personal style?

I've definitely checked out all three of those books and personally I like the last one the best. The layout is fun to look at and it's easy to read.
#1 Celeste (Homepage) on 2009-02-25 13:10 (Reply)
I buy all the books I get used on Amazon with pretty good results, and I consider it recycling.
#2 Justine on 2009-02-25 13:46 (Reply)
i love the marykate and ashley book!
#3 rosalie on 2009-02-25 16:44 (Reply)
i love love love The One Hundred. Great Book!

Although, Nina Garcia's other book, The Little Black Book Of Style kind of sucks.
#4 Crista (Homepage) on 2009-02-25 19:47 (Reply)
"Dress Your Best: The Complete Guide to Finding the Style That's Right for Your Body" by Stacy London and Clinton Kelly is another good one to check out.
#5 janelle (Homepage) on 2009-02-26 00:31 (Reply)
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