style stalkingGet set to build your best ever wardrobe featuring the hardest-working looks from around the globe with Refinery29 – the world’s leading style destination – as their editors break down the essentials of the everyday chic, straight from the street in Style Stalking.

What transforms a look from on-trend to trendsetting? Editor-in-Chief Christene Barberich and Executive Creative Director Piera Gelardi deconstruct their favorite outfits to reveal what trailblazing looks like on the real-life fashion front, including: * How to Wear modern metallics, mixed prints, everyday ladylike, tomboy chic, lots of layers, and more. * Cleaver Tips such as wearing one piece in three fresh ways, building blocks for discovering your own signature style, and updating your closet each season. * And a Zoom Lens on all the details and accessories that totally make the look.

Featuring the fashion world’s coolest tastemakers, designers, stylists, and editors, these fearless iconoclasts challenge conventions and inspire a whole new generation of women to dress for themselves and discover their true inner style stars…just like YOU. (description from publisher)

The hilarious, beloved cohost of TLC’s What Not to Wear examines the universal obstacles all women–including herself–put in their way With her unique talent for seeing past disastrous wardrobes to the core emotional issues that caused these sartorial crises, style savant Stacy London has transformed not only the looks but also the lives of hundreds of guests who have appeared on What Not to Wear. Now for the first time in print, London turns that expert X-ray insight on herself.

Like the women she’s transformed, London has plenty of emotional baggage. At eleven, she suffered from severe psoriasis that left her with permanent physical and mental scars. During college, she became anorexic on a misguided quest for perfection. By the time she joined the staff at Vogue , London’s weight had doubled from binge eating. Although self-esteem and self-consciousness nearly sabotaged a promising career, London learned the hard way that we wear our insecurities every day. It wasn’t until she found the self-confidence to develop a strong personal style that she finally became comfortable in her skin.

In The Truth About Style , London shares her own often painful history and her philosophy of the healing power of personal style–illustrating it with a series of detailed ‘start-overs’ with eight real women, demonstrating how personal style helps them overcome the emotional obstacles we all face. For anyone who has ever despaired of finding the right clothes, or even taking an objective assessment in a full-length mirror, The Truth About Style will be an inspiring, liberating, and often very funny guide to finding the expression of your truest self. (description from publisher)


Come on, admit it – the real reason you watch is the Oscars isn’t to find out who won Best Achievement in Sound Editing; it’s to see the dresses! Looking at gorgeous dresses being worn by beautiful people has been a favorite past time since celebrity began. Now you don’t have to wait for the next Red Carpet event – just check out some of the most amazing dresses ever in 100 Unforgettable Dresses by Hal Rubenstein.

Highlighting more than just Red Carpet dresses, this book has lots of other famous dresses such as the wedding dresses of Princess Diana and Kate Middleton, Marilyn Monroe’s white halter dress from The Seven Year Itch, and  Julia Robert’s red gown from Pretty Woman. And while many/most of these dresses are for the famous and svelte, there are dress styles that made their way into every woman’s closet like Coco Chanel’s “little black dress” and Diane von Furstenberg’s wrap dress.

There are also chapters (with lots of photos) of some our favorite style icons including Audrey Hepburn, Cate Blanchett, Grace Kelley and Jacqueline Kennedy. This is a fun and inspiring look into the world of high fashion, a time-line of modern styles and a homage to fine craftsmanship. And you can see it here, all without the boring Oscar acceptance speeches.

I’m normally wary of anything that has too much hype surrounding it, because generally I feel like it can’t possibly be as good as everyone says it is.  I’m sure you’ve heard of Mad Men, as it is constantly hyped as one of the best shows on TV and has won multiple Emmys and Golden Globes.  If you’ve never seen it, it’s set in the 1960s in New York City, and it’s all about  the “golden age” of advertising on Madison Avenue and the glamorous life that the ad men led.  Last week I finally checked out a couple of episodes and I have to say, it really is fantastic.  What I’m enjoying most about the show is the look and feel of it.  Not only does it seem very historically accurate, it’s such a beautiful period piece.  Everything from the clothes and the hair to the scenery is lovely to look at.

The acting in the show has also been wildly acclaimed, and it is also superb.  Jon Hamm is fascinating to watch as Sterling Cooper’s morally-complex creative director Don Draper.  You want to root for Don because he’s so charismatic and such an advertising genius, but he is certainly no angel.  I’m also finding myself really interested in the storyline of Peggy, the naive new secretary to Don.  We’re learning about how things work at Sterling Cooper right along with Peggy as she is thrown into a world filled with double standards between the men and the women.  If you’re looking for a great drama series to watch and are especially interested in learning a little more about the past, I highly recommend checking out Mad Men.  Currently we own season one, season two, season three, and season four, so stop by any of our three locations to look for one today!

Devastated and haunted by guilt after the death of her best friend, Phoebe Swift breaks off her engagement, quits her job at Sotheby’s and starts over by opening a vintage clothing store in London in A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff.

Phoebe’s new shop soon takes off and she’s kept busy with customers and finding and purchasing new stock. This includes navigating auctions at Sotheby’s, assessing treasures her dealer in America finds, and meeting directly with owners of vintage clothes. Part of the fascination of this book is the peek behind the scenes – the work and skill and knowledge required to run such a shop from assessing the quality of fabric and workmanship, to understanding how an old dress can be fashionable again, with or without changes. Phoebe’s work brings her into contact with various people with a wide range of interests – vineyards to classic Hollywood cinema to Paris during World War II.

Light but not frothy, this charming book may be just the antidote for those “life changing” books on your list that we’re all supposed to be reading. Here, there’s a little romance, some mystery, interesting characters, history (nicely tied to the vintage clothing that Phoebe deals with) all in lovely settings in London and France. Just the ticket for something fun to read.

Coco ChanelToday is the birth anniversary of Coco Chanel, one of the most important and influential designers of the 20th century. The very epitome of effortless French style, Chanel revolutionized the fashion world when she introduced men’s clothing (slacks) for women’s wear. Her signature looks – comfortable and simple yet elegant – included the dramatic use of costume jewelry (notably ropes of pearls), sportswear, collarless jackets paired with simple skirts and the “little black dress”. She was the first designer to put her name on a signature perfume; Chanel No. 5 was created in 1921 and continues to be one of the most popular perfumes on the market.

Chanel’s life story is the stuff of Hollywood – born into poverty, orphaned at age 12, raised by nuns, she rose to wealth and status through talent and hard work. Find out more about this fascinating, controversial (both the Nazi’s and the Allies accused her of being a spy during World War II) woman through these great books:

Chanel: Her Style and Her Life by Janet Wallach

Chanel : the Couturiere at Work by Amy DeLaHaye

Chanel : a Woman of Her Own by Axel Madsen

Coco Chanel : her Life, her Secrets by Marcel Haedrich


Reminder to our Readers! Don’t forget to leave a comment on last Friday’s blog post about your favorite QC area Staycation destination! Someone’s going to win two tickets to the Putnum Museum and IMAX movie Kilimanjaro: To the Roof of Africa – might as well be you!

Ahhh, Spring!  It’s a fresh start for everything — including your home! April just happens to be National Decorating Month, so if you’re looking for some ideas to update your lovely abode, stop by the library and check out what we have to offer.  These books have beautiful photographs and offer simple (and inexpensive) solutions to your decorating dilemnas.  You know, all you need is a new coat of paint or a change of pillows on your couch! Well, maybe a little bit more.

For more detailed ideas, here are some great resources for some creative new home decorating ideas:

the-nestbefore-and-after baths style-by-nature

HGTV Before & After Decorating

Better Homes and Gardens Beautiful Baths

Style by Nature: Beautify Your Home with Pattern, Color and Texture by Rebecca Jerdee

Can’t Fail Room Makeovers by Lucianna Samu

The Nest Home Design Handbook by Carley Roney