Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The One Hundred

It’s no secret that I love to shop. And watch Project Runway. I’ve wanted to read Nina Garcia’s The One Hundred since it came out a couple years ago. When I was reminded of it recently and added it to my to-read list on Goodreads, I was gratified to see that at least four of my friends added it to their list also. So as an aid to at least four people in the world, here is my review.

When you read The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own, please keep your laptop handy and your browser page set to Google. I imagined Nina Garcia’s book would be huge, and covered with beautiful color photographs showing examples of all the important pieces that should grace your closet. Instead, this book is a modestly sized hardback, with a gorgeous silver exterior and showcasing beautiful illustrations on every page. I am now enamored of Ruben Toledo’s artwork, if I was not already in love with illustrated art (I was). This guide is also a lesson in fashion history, with all one hundred entries giving background and interesting facts about the piece. I had to look up many, many women who were mentioned, and there were occasionally specific instructions on what to google to find examples of a certain piece or style. While Garcia does give some specific examples of brands and iconic pieces, she often sticks with general descriptions of pieces, and really encourages buying pieces that work for you, despite trends, brands, or prices.

In the end, I was thrilled with Nina Garcia’s book, which has enough writing for me to have read every word and to classify it as non-fiction, and plenty of pretty things to look at too. For most of my adult life, I have had a running document on my computer called Classic Wardrobe. I add and subtract things, mark items off as I acquire them, and basically keep track of the things I think I need to be considered stylish and well-dressed, at least in my own mind. Obviously Nina’s top 100 items doesn’t match up with mine, but I’ll make a few lists here that show the intersections of my real life with Nina Garcia’s One Hundred.

Top Ten Pieces for a Mormon SAHM
1. Jeans
2. Havaianas (or your favorite brand of flip-flop)
3. Ballet Flats – for when you need something fancier than flip-flops
4. Watch – to pick up the car-pool on time
5. Statement Necklace (important when your blouse selection is mainly solid-colored t-shirts)
6. Spanx (or the Target equivalent) – to make you look like you’ve only birthed two children instead of five)
7. L.L. Bean Tote – to carry your primary/Cub Scout/Young Women’s stuff
8. Hobo Bag – to contain the detritus of four children and still have room for your chapstick and keys
9. iPod/Blackberry – to keep track of soccer/dance/date schedules and to contain some vestiges of your pre-Mommy music (or to drown out Veggie tales CDs in the car)
10. Boyfriend Cardigan – or any cardigan that can keep you a little warmer and hide some of that baby weight (from three years ago) around your middle

Top Ten Items I Still Want to Bring Home to my Closet (for reals, Honey, be prepared)
1. Statement bag (I’ve been eyeing Coach bags for almost ten years and think someday I can drop the $300 for one of those more easily than the four bags that Nina listed that run more like $3000)
2. Camel Coat, trench style
3. Cashmere sweater
4. Pencil skirt
5. Wrap Dress
6. Blazer
7. Striped Sailor Shirt
8. Suit
9. Aviators
10. Polo Shirt

Luxe Items I’d Love to Own But Can’t Easily Justify
1. Frye boots
2. Luchesse Cowboy boots
3. Exotic Skin Bag (Nina’s exact words) – I would love to own a black alligator bag, preferably satchel/doctors bag shaped
4. Gloves – something beautifully soft and expensive
5. Luggage – maybe once my boys are all grown
6. Gentlemen’s Hat
7. Wellington Boot – maybe when I move somewhere where it rains more than 4 inches a year
8. Clutch
9. Driving Shoe
10. Missoni Knit – maybe when I lose 50 lbs

Check out my other book reviews on Goodreads.


wesley's mom (sue) said...

I loved this book too. Just this evening found my "to get list" that I made when I read it.

Rebekah said...

Thanks for your lists! I've just spent the last two days drooling over Frye boots (sigh).