The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own, by Nina Garcia

I mentioned back in my “Prettiest Me” post (which detailed my new-found awareness of all things Beauty) a book I’ve been referring to often in my research.  It’s Nina Garcia’s The One Hundred:  A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own.

This book is nearly perfect in every way.  It’s clear, straightforward, shows the hows and whys of each item, and can be used by women of different tastes, styles, and budgets.  It’s not so fashion-forward as to exclude the Average Jane, which I love.  The illustrations (done by Ruben Toledo) are divine, as stylish as the closet Garcia builds through the pages.

I say “nearly perfect” because, frankly, some of the items are not now, nor ever will be, part of my fashion repertoire.  Like animal print, for instance.  Just can’t go there.  Or fur (who in the 21st century advocates owning FUR?  trés un-pc!).  And though many of the items Garcia recommends can be bought in any brand or at any price point, she does mention several high-priced labels as “must owns.”  I don’t fault her for that, though – I mean, if you’re going to go Stylish, go $tylish (if you can).

Having flipped through the book many, MANY times now, I always keep a few items in the back of my mind when I go out, just in case I stumble upon an item that fits the list and fits my budget.  In that way, it’s kind of like a treasure hunt!  Just last night I was at Walmart and happened to coast through the jewelry department.  Jewelry figures prominently in The One Hundred:  from statement necklace to cocktail ring to bangles, Garcia shows how to cleverly accessorized any outfit.  Last night I happened upon a nice little brooch (definitely on the list) for just $2 (definitely in my price range).

The One Hundred is like a cookbook in the way that it gives you all the ingredients to something delicious, but it’s up to you to follow instructions and then follow your GUT.  If something doesn’t “taste” right, skip it, or swap it, or whatever.  It’s all about taking some staples and then making it all your own.

Some of the other items on the list which I found to be most user-friendly (and available in budget-friendly versions):

  • black opaque tights
  • cuff bracelet
  • wide-leg trousers
  • ballet flats
  • cardigan
  • belts
  • (etc)

Yes, there are also “luxe” items like an evening gown and a pearl necklace in The One Hundred, but overall I have found Garcia’s recommendations practical, and – so far – capable of adding a little pizazz to my wardrobe.  If you are at all curious about playing with the idea of Style when it comes to what you wear, I definitely recommend this book!

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