Wednesday, December 31, 2008
The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own
I very much WANT to be a stylish woman. That is why The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own by Nina Garcia seemed like the perfect book for me. I watch Project Runway and have long been a fan of Nina Garcia's frank commentary about the designers' work. So I figured she must know what she was talking about, and I borrowed her book from the library. It was indeed SUCH a good book that I stayed in for an entire Saturday evening and read it cover to cover. The advice is straight forward, well researched, and funny. The illustrations by Ruban Toledo are beautiful and inspiring. Ultimately, the book really is like a little bible of fashion. It may just help me become a VERY stylish woman in 2009 (I can't lie, I think I already have a bit of style coming out of '08).
The book is broken into chapters alphabetically by items, with several pages dedicated to history, descriptions of item worn in notable outfits in the past, how-to-wear-it instructions, and illustrations of each item. Not all of the 100 are actually items of fashion. Rather some veer into the decidedly non-clothing, like a BlackBerry and good champagne. I can't say I understand the logic behind these items. I mean, if we are expanding the list into vital things every stylish woman must have, the list might also include things like a fully-funded-annually Roth IRA, the complete volume of Shakespeare's works, and at least one great non-stick skillet. And of course if we start creating a list of all the vital things a fashionable, intelligent, kind, and self sufficient woman must possess, then the book will be well over 100 items, and we might have to categorized some other way than alphabetically. Anyhow, most of the chapters are about clothing and accessories, and I agree with almost all of them.
However, after reading and reviewing the below list, I can tell you there are several items on Nina's list that I do not ever aspire to own or wear, including: Caftans, Cable Knit Sweaters, Espadrilles, Leather Pants, LL Bean Tote, Polo Shirt, and Vans.
Yet things I would like to acquire immediately include Cocktail Rings, Cashmere, Cuff bracelet, Fur, Knee Boots, and almost anything vintage. I went ahead and bolded my below list of items to acquire, in case any of you become millionaires and want to refashion my closet in 2009. I am also proud to say that I own almost every must have from the final chapter (chapter WXYZ), including a nice watch, wide-legged pants, wrap dresses, yoga gear, and a zip up hoodie. The last chapter is by far the easiest to manage! Anything with a zip up hoodie and yoga gear has me sold, although Nina does instruct me NEVER to wear my yoga gear anywhere except yoga class (doh!).
Here are the must-haves listed alphabetically and by chapter:
A: A-line Dress, Animal Print, Ankle Bootie, Aviators
B: Ballet Flat, Bangles, Belts, Bikini, BlackBerry, Black Opaque Tights, Blazer, Boyfriend Cardigan, Brooch
C: Cable-Knit Sweater, Caftan, Camel Coat, Cape, Cashmere Sweater, Charm Bracelet, Clutch, Cocktail Ring, Converse, Cosmetics Bag, Cowboy Boots, Cuff
D, E, F: Denim Jacket, Diamond Studs, Driving Shoe, Espadrilles, Evening Gown, Exotic Skin Bag, Fishnets, Frye Harness Boot, Fur
G, H, I: Gentleman's Hat, Gloves, Havaianas, Hobo Bag, Hoop Earrings, Investment Bag, iPod
J, K, L: Jeans, Jewelry Pouches, Khakis, Knee Boots, Leather Pants, Lingerie, Little Black Dress, Little White Dress, L.L. Bean Tote, Luggage
M, N, O: Mad Money, Man's White Shirt, Mary Janes, Minnetonka Moccasin, Missoni Knit, Monogrammed Stationery, Motorcycle Jacket, Nail Polish, Old Concert T-Shirt, One-Piece Swimsuit
P, Q, R: Pajamas, Peacoat, Pearl Necklace, Pencil Skirt, Perfume, Plain White Tee, Polo Shirt, Pucci, Push-Up Bra, Quality Champagne, Red Lipstick, Robe
S: Safari Jacket, Sandals, Sarong, Signet Ring, Silk Scarf, Slippers, Spanx, Statement Necklace, Stilettos, Striped Sailor Shirt, Suit, Sunhat
T, U, V: Trench, Turquoise and Coral Jewelry, Tuxedo Jacket, Umbrella, Underwear, Valid Passport, Vans, Vintage
W, Y, Z: Watch, Wayfarers, Wellington Boot, Wide-Leg Trousers, Wrap Dress, Yoga Gear, Zippered Hoodie
As Nina says, "There is no ultimate list, as it would go against the very nature of fashion and style, and the frenetic rebelliousness inherent in a truly stylish woman walking down the street wearing that perfectly unexpected mix of color and fabric. Style is dangerously unpredictable...if you are not altering each or some of the items on this list to suit your personal style, you are not playing the style game correctly or for your benefit."
I can tell you that since reading the book, I have looked at every item in my closet, ever item I try on in the dressing room, and every stylish woman I see on the street a little bit differently. I look at it all with a plan, a purpose, and a blueprint for how I can achieve my best look based on classic, tried and true style. Also, my poor husband is fatigued of hearing "Nina Garcia says..." every time we are out in public. Cheers for style.
Now, of course, we all know that style does not equal happiness, and all of these 100 mean nothing without a well developed personality, good work ethic, a sense of kindness, and the loving company of friends and family. But combine these with a with a stylish me in 2009, and I think it is a shaping up to be a good year.
Happy New Year. Here's to a stylish, happy, and prosperouse us in 2009!