If you haven’t met, the Dorky Medievalist who is responsible for the brilliant (and in this case I mean “brilliant” both literally and figuratively, because she is an intellectual) blog, In Professorial Fashion, the time has come. Being just plan dorky with no qualifiers, the first time I saw the title of her blog I thought it said “professional fashion.” No matter. She is hilarious and works with two other, I can only assume, equally bright individuals — A-Dubs and E-Jo (don’t ask I have no idea) — because they are definitely amusing
I don’t know about you, but maybe it’s because I’ve lived in France for so many years. I cannot recall meeting someone with an intimidating mind accompanied by a sense of humor. (Oh yes, there is one exception, Jean d’Ormesson. He has a deprecating humor and a seductive twinkle in his bright, blue eyes.)
D.M. was in the middle of — are you ready for this? — correcting Chaucer term papers while she was writing this post. (Chaucer was one of the reasons I wondered why I majored in English literature. I mean, really, if the man was speaking English, why did he have to be translated for heaven’s sake!)
‘Tis the season to be thinking about giving something fashionable to our stylish friends, so why not a book on the subject? Now we’re talking major fashion investment. I think you will be enchanted by her chic choices.
In her own words. . .
Dear readers, let’s talk reading. The elegant, swellegant Tish asked me to post about my favourite fashion books, those books that we who live for fashion would kill to have in our libraries, and of course I giddily agreed. And then I realised that my library—and it is an extensive one—is sadly lacking in fashion books and I began to fear for my style blogger cred (I have that, right?). Oh StyleNation, what is a savvy, fashionable, literate woman to do?
She makes a list.
This is a list of what is missing from my library, and maybe from yours.
These are fashion books I have owned but no longer do; fashion books I have given as gifts but wish I had kept for myself; and fashion books that I would love to own but do not.
And if this list happens to fall into the hands of someone elfin and generous, then so be it. I have been a very good girl. Very, very good.
Ann Likes Red by Dorothy Z. Seymour (Purple House Press)
This was the first book I could read all by myself. It was a gift from my grandmother—who was never without a hat andgloves—and it was about shopping. The only word that I didn’t understand in it was “tan.”
Now I love to shop and I always wear SPF 30. Clearly this is an influential and important book.
The Dress Doctor by Edith Head (Little, Brown & Co.)
I can’t believe that Edith Head never dressed me. I was never a film star, but, really, she missed an opportunity. This book is wonderful and not just because s
he solves the dilemma ofwhat to wear to go bowling. I don’t know about you but I am always at a loss, sartorially and otherwise, when I am asked to go bowling.
Warning: this is only available used. There is a drastically expurgated version called The
Dress Doctor: Prescriptions for Style from A to Z, but give that poor cousin amiss and go for the real thing. You won’t be sorry.
Erte Fashion Paper Dolls of the Twenties by Erte (Dover)
Because who doesn’t love Art Deco and paper dolls?
Closet Confidential: Style Secrets Learned the Hard Way by Winona Dimeo-Ediger (Sasquatch)
The hysterically funny blogger behind Daddy Likey wrote a hysterically funny and practical guide for those of us who are unafraid of fashion, despite its potential for humiliation. Ever wondered how to look good while jogging?
I admit nothing, but I read this book.
Fashioning Film Stars: Dress, Culture, Identity by Rachel Moseley (Palgrave)
Fashion is significant. We, the well-shod and well-versed, already know this but in case your humourless Marxist colleague looks down his nose at your knee-high, lace-up boots, this kick-ass study of fashion, identity politics and celebrity will make that guy take you seriously. If that doesn’t work, take names.
Emilio Pucci by Vanessa Friedman (Taschen)
This is bound in a Pucci print fabric. Pop art perfection.
I love Taschen books. I love that they are often all the same size and I love their exquisite layout and sumptuous pictures. When I lived in London I would pop into the Taschen shop in Covent Garden and fantasy shop. I am a lover of eye candy and a lover of books and Taschen is both. Perfect for the well-ordered bookshelf and the bathtub.
Here’s what would be truly fashionable: an endless array of Tashen 25 editions stacked on a white Sapien bookshelf in a white tiled bathroom, beside an enormous stand-alone copper tub. Plus a nubile youth to refill the champagne and to fetch you another book. And whatever else you need.
Did I mention I was good?
Thanks for inviting me to the party. I had a wonderful time. Happy reading, revelers!