The most recommended fashion books

Who picked these books? Meet our 42 experts.

42 authors created a book list connected to fashion, and here are their favorite fashion books.
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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 Jean Paul Gaultier

Emma Baxter-Wright Author Of Chanel Paperscapes: The Book That Transforms Into a Work of Art

From my list on the provocative talents of the fashion industry.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a failed fashion designer, the history of twentieth-century fashion, represented both visually and in the form of narrative text, make up the bulk of my ever-increasing library of fashion books. In order to write about fashion, either as a biographer of one of the great designers or cutting-edge photographers, it is crucial to acknowledge what was deemed as desirable in a previous generation and a previous context. As Yves Saint Laurent famously said, "Fashion fades, Style is eternal." Fashion in its broader sense has never existed in a vacuum and an understanding of fashion history and fashion imagery, that so clearly evokes a specific era, is the very best way to appreciate the cyclical nature of this creative business.  

Emma's book list on the provocative talents of the fashion industry

Emma Baxter-Wright Why did Emma love this book?

In his early career, Gaultier was a regular visitor to London and took inspiration from Soho’s indie art school clubs, Billy’s, The Blitz, The Wag. As a fashion student at St. Martins at the time, we were often on the same dance floor together and I identified with his rebellious attitude, which continued to challenge the fashion status quo and never waned. Glossy catwalk pictures of a distinct tribe of models, (not the usual crowd of supermodels) original design sketches, quotes from JPG the "enfant terrible" of Parisian fashion who famously broke all the rules on gender in the 1990s, and an intelligent text by Colin McDowell, a renowned fashion historian, all contribute to a wonderful book that brilliantly captures the truly unique talent of this designer. 

By Colin McDowell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Jean-Paul Gaultier is fashion's polymath. His name is a byword for outrageous, witty and even revolutionary fashion. As a designer, a TV star and gay icon he has used his subversive sense of humour to make us question our attitudes towards sex, social values and cultural morality. But it would be wrong to assume that he is merely the court jester of the international fashion world. He has never failed to produce collections of total originality that inspire as much as they shock. He has been designing for twenty years, and never once has he followed the fashion: he has…


Book cover of Worn in New York: 68 Sartorial Memoirs of the City

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 prefer something more visual when it comes to books about style, Worn in New York is certainly that.

It’s a fun look at specific pieces of clothing that were, well, worn in New York by influential people. Each one is a first-person account of a specific item and it corresponds to a photo of the piece. One of my favorites is the story and image of actress Aubrey Plaza’s page uniform that she apparently stole when she worked at NBC. 

By Emily Spivack,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Worn in New York as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The boots a passenger had on when his plane landed on the Hudson River.
The tank top Andy Warhol's assistant wore to one of their nightclub outings together.
The jacket a taxi driver put on to feel safe as he worked the night shift.


These and over sixty other clothing-inspired narratives make up Worn in New York, the latest volume from New York Times bestselling author Emily Spivack. In these first-person accounts, contributors in and out of the public eye share surprising, personal, wild, poignant, and funny stories behind a piece of clothing that reminds them of a significant moment…


Book cover of Fashion Victims: The Dangers of Dress Past and Present

Cora Harrington Author Of In Intimate Detail: How to Choose, Wear, and Love Lingerie

From my list on the history of fashion.

Why am I passionate about this?

Clothing is one of the most important aspects of our humanity, of the things which make us who we are. We use fashion to identify allies and enemies. To express our interests, politics, and belief systems. To make a statement about who we are to the outside world. To show our identity or ethnicity. Or to indicate our affiliation with certain groups. Fashion is everywhere, but compared to other disciplines, is very rarely talked about. Though I'm a lingerie expert, fashion in its totality interests me. I’m excited every time I learn something new, not just because I enjoy pretty garments, but because I also learn something about the nature of who we are.

Cora's book list on the history of fashion

Cora Harrington Why did Cora love this book?

From poisonous gowns to flammable petticoats, Fashion Victims shares the dark side of fashion history. What was the human cost to those beautiful gowns, both in terms of the wearers and the makers? This book is a little grimmer than my previous recommendations but no less interesting. A fascinating read.

By Alison Matthews David,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From insidious murder weapons to blaze-igniting crinolines, clothing has been the cause of death, disease and madness throughout history, by accident and design. Clothing is designed to protect, shield and comfort us, yet lurking amongst seemingly innocuous garments we find hats laced with mercury, frocks laden with arsenic and literally 'drop-dead gorgeous' gowns.

Fabulously gory and gruesome, Fashion Victims takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the lethal history of women's, men's and children's dress, in myth and reality. Drawing upon surviving fashion objects and numerous visual and textual sources, encompassing louse-ridden military uniforms, accounts of the fiery deaths…


Book cover of The Heiress Effect

Edie Cay Author Of A Lady's Finder

From my list on misfits that should totally be your best friend.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer of relatable misfits, and a misfit myself. My outsides and insides have never matched, and my accent has always been wrong. I’ve lived all over the United States, and no matter what, I’m always from somewhere else, no matter how long I’ve lived there. I usually end up good friends with other interesting folx who are the same as me: a little different, a little crafty, and a hell of a lot of fun. 

Edie's book list on misfits that should totally be your best friend

Edie Cay Why did Edie love this book?

This is the book that made me want to write a historical romance. The protagonist, Miss Jane Fairfield, is outlandishly rich. But she can’t get married and leave her younger sister, who has epilepsy, to the well-meaning but cruel treatments recommended by their uncle, who is also their guardian. Since her money makes her an appealing target for many an impoverished rake, Jane has to work extra to become unappealing while still seeming like she’s trying to attract a man. She wears obnoxiously bright clothing, insults people with the kindest tone, and—in one desperate attempt to make a man be mean to her—takes the food right off his plate. This is a book about people trying to put you in your place and keep you small. And let me give you a hint: it’s a romance, so there’s definitely a Happily Ever After, and that includes small-minded people getting their…

By Courtney Milan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Miss Jane Fairfield has made a career of social disaster. She wears outrageous gowns and says even more outrageous things. The only reason she's invited anywhere is because of her immense dowry--which is all part of her plan to avoid marriage and keep the fortune-hunters at bay. Mr. Oliver Marshall is the illegitimate son of a duke. His acceptance in society is tenuous as it is. If he wants any kind of career at all, he must do everything right. He doesn't need to come to the rescue of the wrong woman. He certainly doesn't need to fall in love…


Book cover of D.V.

Dana Thomas Author Of Fashionopolis: Why What We Wear Matters

From my list on fashion in Paris.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dana Thomas is the author of Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes, Gods and Kings: The Rise and Fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano and the New York Times bestseller Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster. Thomas began her career writing for the Style section of The Washington Post, and for fifteen years she served as a cultural and fashion correspondent for Newsweek in Paris. She is currently a contributing editor for British Vogue, and a regular contributor to The New York Times Style section and Architectural Digest. She wrote the screenplay for Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams, a feature documentary directed by Luca Guadagnino. In 2016, the French Minister of Culture named Thomas a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters. She lives in Paris.

Dana's book list on fashion in Paris

Dana Thomas Why did Dana love this book?

Vreeland begins by telling readers: “The first thing to do is to arrange to be born in Paris. After that, everything follows quite naturally.” And that declaration sets the tone for this delightful, witty monologue, as told to Paris Review editor George Plimpton and originally published in 1984. D.V. makes you laugh out loud, and long for Paris, beauty, and really, really good lingerie.

By Diana Vreeland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“An evening with D.V. is almost as marvelous as an evening with D.V. herself—same magic, same spontaneity and, above all, never a boring moment. —Bill Blass

Brilliant, funny, charming, imperious, Diana Vreeland—the fashion editor of Harper's Bazaar and editor-in-chief of Vogue—was a woman whose passion and genius for style helped define the world of high fashion for fifty years. Among her eclectic circle of friends were some of the most renowned and famous figures of the twentieth century—artists and princes, movie stars and international legends, including Chanel, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Isak Dinesen, Clark Gable, and Swifty Lazar.…


Book cover of The Prince and the Dressmaker

S.H. Cotugno Author Of The Glass Scientists

From my list on a spicy queer romp through history.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a queer, nonbinary author and lover of historical fiction, I’ve spent countless hours thinking about how to tell stories I care about in a genre that has traditionally excluded people like me. We all know that life was hard for LGBTQ+ folks growing up in, well, basically any time in recent history. There’s a time and place for realistic depictions of those hardships, but we also need space to imagine ourselves in more joyful, fantastical depictions of the past. After all, if straight people can enjoy Jane Austen without thinking too hard about the legal rights of women during that era, why can’t queer people do the same? 

S.H.'s book list on a spicy queer romp through history

S.H. Cotugno Why did S.H. love this book?

I’ve been a fan of Jen Wang since Livejournal was still a thing. Her stories have an indie yet accessible vibe, and her elegant brushwork is equally adept at capturing cute, expressive faces as it is at depicting detailed, flowing ballgowns. 

In this gorgeous graphic novel, a young seamstress becomes the confidante of a shy prince as he embarks on a journey of gender exploration (with soooooo many pretty dresses.) It captures the warm, nostalgic feeling of an intimate childhood friendship, the kind with its own secret language and lore.

This book falls on the younger side of this list. I’d say it’s more sparkling than spicy, and would be an appropriate gift (one you secretly steal and consume voraciously in a single sitting) for a middle-grade or early-YA reader.

By Jen Wang,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Prince and the Dressmaker as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

A fairy tale for any age, Jen Wang's The Prince and the Dressmaker will steal your heart.

Paris, at the dawn of the modern age:

Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride—or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia—the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!

Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances—one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears…


Book cover of Sweatshop Warriors: Immigrant Women Workers Take On the Global Factory

Tansy E. Hoskins Author Of Foot Work: What Your Shoes Are Doing to the World

From my list on workers’ rights in the fashion industry.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a journalist and author writing (mostly) about labour rights and the politics of the fashion industry. This work has taken me to Bangladesh, Kenya, Macedonia, and the Topshop warehouses in Solihull. I am the author of Foot Work – What Your Shoes Are Doing To The World, an exposé of the dark origins of the shoes on our feet. My award-winning first book Stitched Up – The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion, is available in six languages and was selected by Emma Watson for her "Ultimate Book List".

Tansy's book list on workers’ rights in the fashion industry

Tansy E. Hoskins Why did Tansy love this book?

This is such an inspirational book from the heart of the anti-globalisation movement in 2001. It documents the lives of immigrant women working in underground sweatshops not just in the USA but right across the world. It resolutely stands as a monument against the ‘down trodden’ woman stereotype and welcomes you into an often ignored world where workers are fighting back against some of the biggest corporations on the planet.

By Miriam Ching Yoon Louie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this up-close and personal look at the heroines who make family, community, and society tick, Miriam Ching Yoon Louie showcases immigrant women workers speaking out for themselves, in their own words. While public outrage over sweatshops builds in intensity, this book shows us who these workers really are and how they are leading campaigns to fight for their rights.

In-depth, accessible analyses of the immigration, labor, and trade policies, which together have forced these women into the most dangerous, poorly paid jobs, dovetail with vivid portraits of the women themselves. Louie, a longtime writer/activist and well-known figure in feminist,…


Book cover of Dress Code: Unlocking Fashion from the New Look to Millennial Pink

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?

In Dress Code, fashion director Veronique Hyland makes the connection between clothing and our culture.

She argues that fashion is an integral part of all of our lives and explains the ways that it means so much more than the outfit hanging in our closets. The essays are great at helping the reader contextualize clothing in a world where social media and politics, inform the way we shop and style ourselves. 

By Veronique Hyland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A New Yorker Magazine Best Book of 2022 * An Esquire Best Nonfiction Book of 2022 * A Town & Country Must-Read Book of 2022 * A Fashionista Summer Read

"Smart, funny, and impressively thorough."-The Cut

In the spirit of works by Jia Tolentino and Anne Helen Peterson, a smart and incisive essay collection centered on the fashion industry-its history, its importance, why we wear what we wear, and why it matters-from Elle Magazine's fashion features director.

Why does fashion hold so much power over us? Most of us care about how we dress and how we present ourselves. Style…


Book cover of The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles)

Kayla Cagan Author Of Piper Perish

From my list on on art, creativity and chasing your dreams.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love reading about artists and creators because I’ve been around them most of my life and they are the people I feel I understand the best – though I’m always surprised by the new crafts, facets, and ideas I learn! I grew up in and around my mother’s ceramic shop, my best friends in high school were artists and I was their dorky theater friend, and the two YA books I wrote centered on issues that face young creators. The passion of creative people and artistic friends has always driven me to do my best and not give up on my dreams. 

Kayla's book list on on art, creativity and chasing your dreams

Kayla Cagan Why did Kayla love this book?

Spalding’s book is such a fun read! It focuses on white blog writer and fashionista, Abby, who also happens to be plus-sized and wins the opportunity of a lifetime at her favorite local boutique. It’s there that she meets fellow intern and photographer Jordi Perez, a Latinx teen who makes that Los Angeles summer so much more romantic, creative, and sweeter. Add in Abby’s surprising bro-bestie Jax for some hamburger adventures and be prepared to swoon (and get hungry!) all around. It’s a great story of love and art, art and love, and how two creative spirits learn to intertwine their gifts and their goals.

By Amy Spalding,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

Seventeen, fashion-obsessed, and gay, Abby Ives has always been content playing the sidekick in other people's lives. While her friends and sister have plunged headfirst into the world of dating and romances, Abby's been happy to focus on her plus-size style blog and her dreams of taking the fashion industry by storm. When she lands a great internship at her favorite boutique, she's thrilled to take the first step toward her dream career. Then she falls for her fellow intern, Jordi Perez. Hard. And now she's competing against the girl she's kissing to win the coveted paid job at the…