Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The One Hundred by Nina Garcia- Book Review

Nina Garcia's Little Black Book Of Style was a fun read, though not the iconic fashion guide it aspired to be. Her second book, The One Hundred- A Guide To The Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own, might be even more ambitious, but is also delivers better.

Basically, it's a wardrobe checklist of one hundred items Ms. Garcia believes every woman must have in her closet. From the A-line dress to a zippered hoodie, she goes through classics and modern clothes (and also shoes, accessories, gadgets and beauty items), explains their importance, offers advice on how to wear them, where to shop and also tells stories and expands on their history, making this a more detailed and in-depth book than one would expect.

There's a lot of valuable information about brands, when to buy high-end and when it's OK to skimp, noteworthy designers, how to shop for vintage. The chapters are peppered with little quotes, bits of trivia and Nina Garcia's typical dry quips ("From time to time, you may see a girl wearing her black opaque tights as pants. There are, in fact, not"). It all contributes to making The One Hundred both informative and fun to read. As for her choice of these 100 items, for the most part I think she is spot on. Garcia names the cuts, styles and landmark designers (DVF, Pucci, Missoni) one should collect to build a stylish wardrobe. She doesn't forget the simple things, like basic white t-shirts (here she goes for Hanes), Spanx or sneakers (where she allows both Converse and Vans). I'm not sure what Champagne is doing as part of this guide and the beauty advice is flawed (only red, pale pink or black nail polish?). As a perfume nut, I'd rather ignore the recommendation to find a signature scent and stick to it. And, of course, I hate that fur is included (though she isn't against fake).

In the introduction, Nina Garcia reminds us to adapt each item according to individual style, body and personality. She states that there is no ultimate list and true style allows a woman to assert herself through her choices. Thus, we can make personal choices, edit according to our needs and make these items our own. I prefer my t-shirts and sweaters to have a v-neck, I don't own even one pair of khakis and I favor biker boots over cowboys. As long as one remembers to make such adjustments, the book can be a great resource.

The One Hundred by Nina Garcia ($21.95, about $15 on Amazon) is available from every bookseller online and in store. I bought it from my local Barnes & Noble.

Photo by Paulo Roversi


  1. Which biker boots do you prefer?

  2. Anon, I don't have a favorite brand of biker boots. My current pair isn't anything fancy, it just looks cool.

  3. Now I'm even more intrigued. Some are too clunky, etc. Can you tell me the brand? Love your're very up-front in your opinions with good information. Thank you!

  4. Anon, you are going to laugh (I know I would), but my current pair is a Kenneth Cole, of all things. I got them re-heeled and re-soled (the originals were crap), and it's just the perfect shape and weight, not too clunky. The leather looks better with every year and the hardware is pretty decent. I bought them four or five years ago.

  5. Thank you! Makes great sense to me!

  6. I've read The Little Black book of style and enjoyed it very much. I'm waiting for this one to arrive (again) to my local bookstore because I missed the first batch (I was too late, couldn't believe it actually) - so, hopefully I will have my hands on it soon.


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