100 books like Fashion on the Ration

By Julie Summers,

Here are 100 books that Fashion on the Ration fans have personally recommended if you like Fashion on the Ration. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz

Linda Stewart Henley Author Of Kate's War

From my list on young women in WW II in the UK.

Why am I passionate about this?

Two of my three novels have young women protagonists. I find young adulthood a fascinating time in women’s lives and I enjoy creating a character and putting her in a historical setting. The Second World War offers fertile ground for storytelling, and I grew up south of London after the war. My father’s unpublished memoir, in which he describes an event that he experienced in the war, inspired me to write about it, but I told the story through the eyes of the protagonist, Kate. 

Linda's book list on young women in WW II in the UK

Linda Stewart Henley Why did Linda love this book?

This well-written book taught me a great deal about WW2. I especially appreciated learning more about Mary Churchill, Winston’s youngest daughter, who was seventeen at the start of the war. The author obtained access to her diaries, and he quotes from them often, so I got a feel for the life of a young woman in society during wartime. Mary had a conscience and good insights and became a main character in this historical book.

It’s not a novel, but at times it reads like one.  

By Erik Larson,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Splendid and the Vile as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The author of The Devil in the White City and Dead Wake delivers an intimate chronicle of Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz—an inspiring portrait of courage and leadership in a time of unprecedented crisis
 
“One of [Erik Larson’s] best books yet . . . perfectly timed for the moment.”—Time • “A bravura performance by one of America’s greatest storytellers.”—NPR 
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • Time • Vogue • NPR • The Washington Post • Chicago Tribune • The Globe &…


Book cover of Wartime: Britain 1939-1945

Jillianne Hamilton Author Of The Hobby Shop on Barnaby Street: A Heartwarming WW2 Historical Romance

From my list on daily life on the British homefront during WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell in love with English history around age 10 when I began reading historical fiction and non-fiction. I have maintained a history blog, The Lazy Historian, since 2015 and I published a casually written non-fiction book, The Lazy Historian’s Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII, in 2018. When I began writing my Homefront Hearts WWII romance trilogy, I threw myself into researching the well-documented daily lives of the English and the various challenges that came from “keeping calm and carrying on.”

Jillianne's book list on daily life on the British homefront during WWII

Jillianne Hamilton Why did Jillianne love this book?

Written by one of the most respected and well-known British historians living today, Juliet Gardiner’s Wartime Britain is a bulky collection of anecdotes and details on homefront life, ranging from devastating to joyful. She covers many topics in depth and in a very human way: the Blitz, homefront crimes, evacuation, the enlistment process, food rationing, and a lot more. It includes quite a few photos from wartime Britain as well. 

By Juliet Gardiner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wartime as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Juliet Gardiner's critically acclaimed book - the first in a generation to tell the people's story of the Second World War - offers a compelling and comprehensive account of the pervasiveness of war on the Home Front. The book has been commended for its inclusion of many under-described aspects of the Home Front, and alongside familiar stories of food shortages, evacuation and the arrival of the GIs, are stories of Conscientious Objectors, persecuted Italians living in Britain and Lumber Jills working in the New Forest. Drawing on a multitude of sources, many previously unpublished, she tells the story of those…


Book cover of How We Lived Then: A History of Everyday Life During the Second World War

Jillianne Hamilton Author Of The Hobby Shop on Barnaby Street: A Heartwarming WW2 Historical Romance

From my list on daily life on the British homefront during WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell in love with English history around age 10 when I began reading historical fiction and non-fiction. I have maintained a history blog, The Lazy Historian, since 2015 and I published a casually written non-fiction book, The Lazy Historian’s Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII, in 2018. When I began writing my Homefront Hearts WWII romance trilogy, I threw myself into researching the well-documented daily lives of the English and the various challenges that came from “keeping calm and carrying on.”

Jillianne's book list on daily life on the British homefront during WWII

Jillianne Hamilton Why did Jillianne love this book?

This book contains a multitude of stories from people who lived in Britain during WWII and dealt with things like wartime preparations, rationing, “Dig for Victory,” travel, homefront war work, and lots of other daily life details—even something as mundane as the types of books people were reading during that time makes it into this thick and comprehensive social history book. Also includes quite a few very nice photos.

By Norman Longmate,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How We Lived Then as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Although nearly 90% of the population of Great Britain remained civilians throughout the war, or for a large part of it, their story has so far largely gone untold. In contrast with the thousands of books on military operations, barely any have concerned themselves with the individual's experience. The problems of the ordinary family are barely ever mentioned - food rationing, clothes rationing, the black-out and air raids get little space, and everyday shortages almost none at all.

This book is an attempt to redress the balance; to tell the civilian's story largely through their own recollections and in their…


Book cover of Millions Like Us: Women's Lives In War And Peace 1939-1949

Jillianne Hamilton Author Of The Hobby Shop on Barnaby Street: A Heartwarming WW2 Historical Romance

From my list on daily life on the British homefront during WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell in love with English history around age 10 when I began reading historical fiction and non-fiction. I have maintained a history blog, The Lazy Historian, since 2015 and I published a casually written non-fiction book, The Lazy Historian’s Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII, in 2018. When I began writing my Homefront Hearts WWII romance trilogy, I threw myself into researching the well-documented daily lives of the English and the various challenges that came from “keeping calm and carrying on.”

Jillianne's book list on daily life on the British homefront during WWII

Jillianne Hamilton Why did Jillianne love this book?

Many British women spent the wartime years taking on jobs they would never have had the chance to do before and it provided them with a new confidence and independence that made going back to domestic life a challenge when the war ended. Millions Like Us takes an exhaustive look at wartime work for women, how women dealt with rationing, the struggle of maintaining a marriage while separated, the heartache of having to evacuate children or losing a partner, romance between British women and American troops as well as the awkwardness of marriage when husbands returned from abroad, often times for years. Another hefty tome, this book also includes 24 pages of photos.

By Virginia Nicholson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Millions Like Us as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1942 Cora Johnston is grieving over the death of her young husband, torpedoed in the Atlantic; Aileen Morris is intercepting Luftwaffe communications during the siege of Malta - and Clara Milburn, whose son was captured after Dunkirk, is waiting, and waiting ...

We tend to see the Second World War as a man's war, featuring Spitfire crews and brave deeds on the Normandy beaches. But in conditions of "Total War" millions of women - in the Services and on the Home Front - demonstrated that they were cleverer, more broad-minded and altogether more complex than anyone had ever guessed.…


Book cover of Great War Fashion: Tales from the History Wardrobe

Cynthia Harrod-Eagles Author Of Goodbye, Piccadilly

From my list on most readable books on World War 1.

Why am I passionate about this?

Cynthia Harrod-Eagles is the author of the internationally acclaimed Morland Dynasty books. Five volumes of this comprehensive historical series focus on WW1, covering the military campaigns and the politics behind them. With the approach of the WW1 centennials, she was asked to write about the period again, this time from the point of view of the people who stayed at home. The result was the six-volume series, War At Home, which views the war from a more personal perspective, through the eyes of the fictional Hunter family, their servants, and friends.

Cynthia's book list on most readable books on World War 1

Cynthia Harrod-Eagles Why did Cynthia love this book?

On a lighter note, this book is a wonderful journey through what everyone wore, not just the fashions but the uniforms, the make-do-and-mend, maternity wear, underclothes, knitting for the soldiers, wartime washing-day, trousers for women (shock! horror!), a kit for lady footballers and lady drivers, and how the war changed women’s clothing along with their lives. Full of illustrations, delicious cartoons, and WW1 advertisements, this book is quite simply a wonderful read, as well as wonderfully informative.

By Lucy Adlington, L.J. Adlington,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Great War Fashion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Imagine 'stepping into someone else's shoes'. Walking back in time a century ago, which shoes would they be? A pair of silk sensations costing thousands of pounds designed by Yantonnay of Paris or wooden clogs with metal cleats that spark on the cobbles of a factory yard? Will your shoes be heavy with mud from trudging along duckboards between the tents of a frontline hospital... or stuck with tufts of turf from a football pitch? Will you be cloaked in green and purple, brandishing a 'Votes for Women' banner or will you be the height of respectability, restricted by your…


Book cover of Vogue 100: A Century of Style

Claudia Joseph Author Of Diana: A Life in Dresses

From my list on inspirational fashion.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I was a child, growing up in Gloucestershire, England, I have been passionate about fashion and made and designed my own clothes. I originally wanted to be a fashion designer but feared my drawing wasn’t good enough so studied journalism at the London College of Fashion and went to work for Condé Nast Publications. I later became a newspaper journalist but my love of fashion never went away - I did a millinery course with designer Edwina Ibbotson and a bag designing course at my alma mater. Since then, I have written many articles on fashion and the Royals as well as a number of books.

Claudia's book list on inspirational fashion

Claudia Joseph Why did Claudia love this book?

As a former journalist on Tatler and Vogue magazines, I was desperate to go and see the 2016 exhibition Vogue 100 at the National Portrait Gallery.

Not only was it a trip down memory lane but it included two photographs of the Princess of Wales in the exhibition - I was the first person to write a biography of the then Kate Middleton. This book is a reminder of a stunning exhibition and fun day out.

By Robin Muir,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Vogue 100 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since its founding in 1916, British Vogue has acted as a cultural barometer, placing fashion in the context of art, literature, and politics. The magazine has captured the zeitgeist of each decade-the austerity and optimism that followed two world wars, the swinging London scene of the sixties, the radical seventies, the image-conscious eighties-and continues to be on the cutting edge of design and photography.

Decade by decade, Vogue 100 presents the greatest moments in the magazine's history-the photography, illustrations, and essays that recorded the fashion and taste of the time. Complete with essays that detail the rich history of each…


Book cover of The Value of Nothing

Uwe Westphal Author Of Ehrenfried and Cohn: Goodbye, Berlin - The Last Fashion Show

From my list on fashion and the fashion industry.

Why am I passionate about this?

I published the novel Ehrenfried & Cohn in 2016 about the decimation of the Jewish fashion industry in Berlin by the Nazis. I studied at the University of Arts in Berlin and became a fashion reporter for newspapers. Later I worked as a producer and journalist for German Public Broadcasting, the BBC in London, and PBS and CBS in New York City. I currently share my time between London and Berlin writing fact books on Jewish fashion and as a lecturer on fashion history in the US.

Uwe's book list on fashion and the fashion industry

Uwe Westphal Why did Uwe love this book?

Fashion is, without any question, a matter of one's own taste. Or so one would think. But no other successful fashion designer has ever analysed and observed the New York fashion world of the 1950s to mid-60s as mercilessly and literarily as John Weitz did in his novel published in 1970. With his clearly English-influenced men’s designs he kept his distance from New York’s high society. Perhaps this was due to his unusual life path.

John Weitz, born to a famous Berlin Jewish family. To guarantee his education, in 1936 his parents send him to London. After his A-levels, John and a short apprenticeship emigrated to the US and worked after 1944 for the OSS (now the CIA) during the Second World War as an under-cover agent in German-occupied France and witnessed the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp Dachau.

Weitz's reputation as a men's fashion designer had the name…

By John Weitz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Value of Nothing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Here is the world of haute couture, racing cars, Seventh Avenue, Palm Beach, Sebring, New York, where the Beautiful People - and their vultures and hangers-on - pretend to live. It is a world where young Philip Ross, through a sexual arrangement that provides him with his first break, crawls onto the lowest rung of the fashion ladder and begins the great climb, over backs and bodies, from couturier's assistant to nationwide fame as an avant-garde American designer.


Book cover of Champagne Supernovas: Kate Moss, Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen, and the '90s Renegades Who Remade Fashion

Alyssa Hardy Author Of Worn Out: How Our Clothes Cover Up Fashion's Sins

From my list on style.

Why am I passionate about this?

Fashion has been the love of my life since I was a little kid pouring over magazines and watching shows on fashion TV in the middle of the night. But I’ve always known fashion is not about clothing, its about feeling and it’s about people. That’s why I love to read the stories about people who work in fashion, who have been impacted by fashion and those who love it just as much as I do. 

Alyssa's book list on style

Alyssa Hardy Why did Alyssa love this book?

If you have any interest in the supermodel era of fashion, Champagne Supernovas is a great look into a piece of it.

The book gives you an inside look at the style scene in the 1990s highlighting moments with Kate Moss, Alexander McQueen, Marc Jacobs, and more. It details some of the most powerful people’s personal struggles, and how the culture they had been thrust into only made it worst. It’s glamorous, sure, but the exploration of the underbelly of popular culture makes it that much more exciting to read. 

By Maureen Callahan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Champagne Supernovas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Terrifically exciting and fun” (Publishers Weekly), Champagne Supernovas is “a lucid, smoothly executed look at a pivotal decade in the legacy of American fashion” (Kirkus Reviews) as told through the lives of Kate Moss, Marc Jacobs, and Alexander McQueen—the three iconic personalities who defined the time.

Veteran pop culture journalist Maureen Callahan takes us back to the pivotal style moment of the early 1990s—when supermodel glamazons gave way to heroin chic, when the alternative became the mainstream, and when fashion suddenly became the cradle for the most exciting artistic and cultural innovations of the age. Champagne Supernovas gives you the…


Book cover of How to Murder Your Life: A Memoir

Paige Harbison Author Of Anything to Have You

From my list on wasted women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent my entire life in the literary industry, first being raised by an author and her two published sisters, then signing my own book deal at age nineteen. So basically, I am completely incapable of seeing the world through anything but a bookish lens. For this little project, I was asked to make some recommendations based on a subject I care about. I chose Wasted Women. These are books about women who deserve more out of life than they have—and about the consequences of letting a clever woman stay caged.

Paige's book list on wasted women

Paige Harbison Why did Paige love this book?

This one is literally about a wasted woman. It’s a fascinating non-fictional journey to be taken on by the author, who has led a fascinating, glittering New York life working for Conde Naste and other high-profile jobs. A life that she is consistently self-sabotaging through the abuse of drugs—particularly the ones prescribed to her by her father when she was a child. She is smart, sharp, interesting, interested in the world around her, and yet she continues to burn everything down time and time again.

By Cat Marnell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Murder Your Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'I was twenty-six years old and an associate beauty editor at Lucky, one of the top fashion magazines in America. That's all that most people knew about me. But beneath the surface, I was full of secrets: I was a drug addict, for one. A pillhead. I was also an alcoholic-in-training who guzzled warm Veuve Clicquot after work alone in my boss's office with the door closed; a conniving and manipulative uptown doctor-shopper; a salami-and-provolone-puking bulimic who spent a hundred dollars a day on binge foods when things got bad (and they got bad often); a weepy, wobbly, wildly hallucination-prone…


Book cover of Consuming Fashion: Adorning the Transnational Body

Sue Blundell Author Of Women in Ancient Greece

From my list on women in classical Greece and how to think about them.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since I retired from lecturing in Classical Studies I’ve been writing more pieces on women in the ancient world, and also some plays. One of them, 189 Pieces, is about the Portland Vase, a beautiful example of Roman glass whose label in the British Museum tells us that it was owned by the Duke of Portland. This is true—he’d inherited it—but it was bought at great expense by his grandmother, the wonderful Duchess of Portland. Giving women their place in history has been my aim in much of my work. Nowadays I’m obsessed with female footwear, and Cinderella, Goody Two-Shoes, and Carrie Bradshaw take up a lot of my time. 

Sue's book list on women in classical Greece and how to think about them

Sue Blundell Why did Sue love this book?

"The statements we make just by getting dressed in the morning." This book about fashion and dress codes, and how they interconnect with gender, sexuality, and class, is lively and thought-provoking. My own study of the women who appear in Greek vase paintings led me to look more closely at women’s relationship with their clothing. In particular their handling of shoes became a source of fascination, and in my current research I’m focussing on narratives around female footwear. In the book, Brydon’s chapter "Sensible Shoes" has been an inspiration. Stilettos, for example, are seen as being entirely ambiguous in their significance, items which can both empower and disable the wearer. Like the knife they are named after, they are double-edged. 

By Anne Brydon (editor), Sandra Niessen (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Consuming Fashion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Clothing the body is one of the most complicated acts of daily existence. When a nun ponders red shoes, an architect knots his bowtie, a lesbian laces her Doc Marten's, or a nude model disrobes, each is engaging in a process of identity-making that is both intensely personal and deeply social. In an increasingly material world, negotiating dress codes is a nuanced art, informed by shifting patterns of power and authority, play and performance, as well as gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity and race. Drawing on ethnographic knowledge to connect theory and practice, authors reveal links between material culture, social and…


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