We spent 25 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Perfect for students looking to get their start in the industry or for those with an eye on style, our selection of fashion books includes how-to guides, historical comparisons, and lots of great pictures. Whether you are seriously considering entering this highly competitive field or just looking for some tips on how to dress for success, one of these books will see you right. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work.

10. The Fashion Designer Survival Guide

The Fashion Designer Survival Guide is meant for aspiring professionals and gives practical information describing how to get your start in the business, and how to navigate common pitfalls. Unfortunately, the writer can be a bit harsh at times.


  • Tips from famous designers
  • In-depth business plan guide
  • Text heavy and not many illustrations












Publisher Kaplan Publishing
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

9. Fashion Illustration: Inspiration and Technique

Fashion Illustration: Inspiration and Technique shows the industry from a designer’s point of view, and provides detailed lessons on how to hand draw styles, including unique tools for making illustrations look realistic. It’s a wonderful gift for fashion students.


  • Simple to follow instructions
  • Teaches fabric rendering techniques
  • Author injects her own style too much












Publisher David & Charles
Weight 15 ounces
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

8. Vogue: The Covers

Vogue: The Covers contains more than 300 of the most beautiful, provocative, and fashion-forward covers ever produced, highlighted alongside the history and stories behind them. It goes all the way back to rare, hard-to-find covers from the 1800s.


  • Has cardboard inserts of some photos
  • Illustrations by famous artists
  • Chronology jumps around at times












Publisher Kazanjian, Dodie
Weight 4.4 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

7. Chanel: Fashion/Fine Jewellery/Perfume

Chanel: Fashion/Fine Jewellery/Perfume is a 3-volume set that covers the spirit and heritage of the Chanel fashion house, with well-chosen advertising images and iconic photos of Coco from the last three decades. It also has a detailed timeline of many of the shoots.


  • Housed in a sleek slipcase
  • Writing is simple and succinct
  • Not enough close-ups of the styles












Publisher Baudot, Francois
Weight 2.7 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. 100 Years of Fashion

100 Years of Fashion is an all-inclusive look at style, covering not just haute couture but also trends in uniforms, streetwear, and sportswear from 1900 until today. Of the over 400 captivating photographs, many of them are published for the first time in this book.


  • Detailed descriptions of the images
  • Closely tracks changes in female apparel
  • Missing some major designers












Publisher Blackman, Cally
Weight 3.6 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Fashion: The Definitive History

Fashion: The Definitive History is written for all audiences, tracing the evolution of style from the garments of ancient times all the way to today’s trends. It explains historical influences of current styles, helping you see fashion through an informed lens.


  • Profiles notable style icons
  • Takes an international approach
  • Doesn’t define many of the key terms












Publisher DK ADULT
Weight 6.1 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. That’s What Fashion Is

In That’s What Fashion Is, author Joe Zee offers an insider’s account of the industry, and tells numerous comical stories about his long career in the business. It also offers realistic tips on how to look good at any age, and what to wear to work.


  • Includes private color photographs
  • Discusses fashion successes and failures
  • Equal parts memoir and style guide












Publisher That’s What Fashion Is
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

3. Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent is the first comprehensive retrospective book about the Algerian designer’s life’s work. It covers his early days working under Dior, as well as his muses and cultural inspiration. It has full page profiles of YSL’s most revolutionary styles.


  • Has critical moments in fashion history
  • Writing is enjoyable and conversational
  • Iconic photos of top models












Publisher Fondation Pierre Berge
Weight 4.8 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. The Little Dictionary of Fashion

The Little Dictionary of Fashion is written by the honorable Christian Dior and is an indispensable resource for women, packed with timeless tips to help them learn how to dress well for any occasion. While the author is a high-end designer, the book costs less than $20.


  • Fashion tips are based on simplicity
  • Lots of b&w photos and drawings
  • Handbag-sized book for on-the-go reading












Publisher Dior, Christian
Weight 10.6 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Tom Ford

Tom Ford is authored by the fashion icon it is named after, in addition to top influencers, including editors from American Vogue and Vanity Fair. The book details Ford’s design work for Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent and how he has pushed the boundaries of style.


  • Has runway shots and commercial stills
  • Year-by-year portraits of ford himself
  • Great conversational piece for your home












Publisher Ford, Tom
Weight 10.7 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0