You all know that I believe before you can really assess your wardrobe or add to it, it's necessary to define your style. Sometimes it's helpful to see how others have achieved this, even if their style is 180 degrees away from yours. Here's a book that does just that: The Ellements of Personal Style by Elle Magazine editors Joe Zee and Maggie Bullock.
This book is different from other instructional fashion books because there are no lists of "must-haves" or discussions of body types. Instead, this book focuses on the personal style of 25 "icons". There are a few that I'm not entirely convinced by - Ashley Green? Lea Michele? I doubt that these young starlets have really solidified their personal style (maybe Joe Zee knows something I don't) but aside from them, the majority of the women profiled are true fashion icons.
Each profile includes short bios, interviews, and intimate photos of the icons' closets, homes, and wardrobes. For each, there is a moodboard of an outfit with accessories in her style, a "fashion obsession", a "style study" of a few of her real life outfits, and a list of her favorite shops.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Anjelica Huston: Iconic Simplicity
"Black and white is a good background for embellishment."
Dita von Teese: Pinup Precision
"Her taste in vintage began in high school, as a matter of economics. 'I went to a vintage store and thought, Oh, I can make that look like a Westwood if I pinch in the waist and pad out the hips. That was my goal - to get that look for less.' "
Charlotte Gainsbourg: Utilitarian Chic
"'My parents gave me this idea that you sort of find a uniform that fits you and feels comfortable,' she says - once you find it, you stick with it for years."
Diane von Furstenberg: Relaxed Glamour
"My mission in life is to empower women. I do it through fashion, through mentoring, through philanthropy."
Milla Jovovich: Free Spirit
"...she dresses a bit like a child who happens to have an exceedingly well-stocked costume cupboard, following her heart instead of the trends and gleefully embellishing. 'Simplicity is hard for me' ".