• Home
  • News
  • Culture
  • 10 fashion books to read when isolated at home

10 fashion books to read when isolated at home

By Robyn Turk


Scroll down to read more


The global COVID-19 pandemic has left the majority of the fashion industry working from home. As we navigate this new routine, it can become very easy to experience boredom. Even when working from home, we all find extra time in our days. Try using this time to for your own professional development, or simply for expanding your own knowledge of fashion, through reading. While you can search your bookshelf for the reads you've been putting off, here are ten recommendations for fashion books.

1. Fifty Years of Fashion: New Look to Now, by Valerie Steele

Written by fashion historian and director of the Museum at FIT Valerie Steele, Fifty Years Of Fashion outlines the evolution of style and the industry in the second half of the 20th century. This entertaining and educational read breaks down eras by decade, discussing the socioeconomic factors that affected trends and tastes.

2. A Dedicated Follower of Fashion, by Holly Brubach

This collection of fashion essays pulls together a carefully selected array of pieces originally published in either The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker or The Atlantic during the 1980s or 1990s. Each essay examines clothing in the context of cultural influences. These essays are an excellent way to reflect on styles of past decades through opinions of the time.

3. Gods and Kings: The Rise and Fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano, by Dana Thomas

Published in 2015 by journalist Dana Thomas, Gods and Kings discusses the biographies and careers of McQueen and Galliano, framing the careers of both designers in the context of the 1990s. The book describes the ways in which the relentless state of the couture industry affected the men psychologically.

4. Items: Is Fashion Modern? by Paola Antonelli

Items was published as the companion catalog to the MoMA's 2017 exhibition, "Is Fashion Modern." Through an alphabetic arrangement of 111 clothing items from the 20th and 21st centuries, this book examines each piece as a piece of modern art, looking at each in terms of culture, labor, marketing, aesthetics, technology and pop culture.

5. Elsa Schiaparelli: A Biography, by Meryle Secrest

An eye-opening telling of the life and career Elsa Schiaparelli, Meryle Secrest's biography is well-written and easy to read. This holistic take on Schiaparelli educates the reader on the designer's personal life, design influences, friendships with notable artists and the ways in which the political landscape of her time affected her work. The book leaves you with an understanding of the impact Schiaparelli's work had on fashion today.

6. The End of Fashion: How Marketing Changed the Clothing Business Forever, by Teri Agins

Journalist Teri Agins wrote The End of Fashion in 2000, exploring the impact of consumerism and marketing on creativity in fashion. It examines business-facing factors like manufacturing, retailing, licensing and financing and how these modern concepts have evolved fashion from an art to an industry.

7. The Glass of Fashion, by Cecil Beaton

Published by historic fashion photographer Cecil Beaton in 1954, The Glass of Fashion has become a classic of fashion literature. Beaton reminiscences on figures and icons who influenced fashion and culture in the 1940s and 1950s.

8. Women in Clothes, by Sheila Hart, Heidi Julavits and Leanne Shapton

This 2014 book is a fun yet informative read. Its editors surveyed over 600 influential women including Cindy Sherman, Tavi Gevinson, Lena Dunham, and Molly Ringwald to explore the importance of style decisions on women as individuals. It examines the ways in which clothing choices can allow confidence, illustrate personality, express values and act as armor.

9. Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, by Andrew Bolton

The companion catalog to the famed retrospective exhibition on Alexander McQueen's work, Savage Beauty examines the designer's career through an introduction by Susannah Frankel, an interview by Tim Blanks with Sarah Burton, quotes from McQueen himself and beautiful photographs of his works and presentations.

10. Silk For The Feed Dogs, by Jackie Mallon

Written by FashionUnited's Jackie Mallon, Silk For The Feed Dogs is a fictional novel set in the international fashion industry. Told from the perspective of thoughtfulness, profundity and humor, this novel draws upon a decade of experience in the industry.

Keep up-to-date on news in the fast-moving fashion world by subscribing to our newsletter! Click here >>

Image: Pexels

fashion books