Summer Reading List

Seaside, Lakeside, or Bedside, reading is one of the best parts of the lazy days of summer.

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A FASHIONABLE LIFE 

Diana Vreeland

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D.V. by Diana Vreeland; Amazon

D.V. is the mesmerizing autobiography of one of the 20th century’s greatest fashion icons, Diana Vreeland, the one-time fashion editor of Harper’s Bazaar and editor-in-chief of Vogue, whose incomparable style-sense, genius, and flair helped define the world of haute couture for fifty years. The incomparable D.V. proves herself a brilliant raconteur as she carries the reader along on her whirlwind life—from English palaces to the nightclubs of Paris in the 1930s to the heart of New York high society, hobnobbing with everyone who was anyone, from Queen Mary to Clark Gable to Coco Chanel.

 

Grace Coddington

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Grace: A Memoir by Grace Coddington, Amazon

If Wintour is the Pope . . . Coddington is Michelangelo, trying to paint a fresh version of the Sistine Chapel twelve times a year. — Time

 

Coco Chanel

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Mademoiselle: Coco Chanel and the Pulse of History by Rhonda K. Garelick, Amazon

Certain lives are at once so exceptional, and yet so in step with their historical moments, that they illuminate cultural forces far beyond the scope of a single person. Such is the case with Coco Chanel, whose life offers one of the most fascinating tales of the twentieth century—throwing into dramatic relief an era of war, fashion, ardent nationalism, and earth-shaking change—here brilliantly treated, for the first time, with wide-ranging and incisive historical scrutiny.

 

THE GRAMMAR OF GLAMOUR

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The Little Dictionary of Fashion: A Guide to Dress Sense for Every Woman by Christian Dior, Amazon

Christian Dior reveals the secrets of style in this charming handbook that no woman should be without. An indispensable guide that covers everything from what to wear to a wedding and how to tie a scarf to how to walk with grace, The Little Dictionary of Fashion is full of timeless tips. From afternoon frocks and accessories to traveling and tweed, Dior’s expertise ensures every girl will know the three fundamentals of fashion: simplicity, grooming, and good taste.

 

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The Power of Glamour: Longing and the Art of Visual Persuasion by Virginia Postrel, Amazon

The Power of Glamour is the very first book to explain what glamour really is—not just style or a personal quality but a phenomenon that reveals our inner lives and shapes our decisions, large and small. By embodying the promise of a different and better self in different and better circumstances, glamour stokes ambition and nurtures hope, even as it fosters sometimes-dangerous illusions.

 

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Face Paint: The Story of Makeup by Lisa Eldridge, Amazon

Makeup, as we know it, has only been commercially available in the last 100 years, but applying decoration to the face and body may be one of the oldest global social practices. In Face Paint, Lisa Eldridge reveals the entire history of the art form, from Egyptian and Classical times up through the Victorian age and golden era of Hollywood, and also surveys the cutting-edge makeup science of today and tomorrow. Face Paint explores the practical and idiosyncratic reasons behind makeup’s use, the actual materials employed over generations, and the glamorous icons that people emulate, it is also a social history of women and the ways in which we can understand their lives through the prism and impact of makeup.

 

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Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster by Dana Thomas, Amazon

Once luxury was available only to the rarefied and aristocratic world of old money and royalty. It offered a history of tradition, superior quality, and a pampered buying experience. Today, however, luxury is simply a product packaged and sold by multibillion-dollar global corporations focused on growth, visibility, brand awareness, advertising, and, above all, profits. Award-winning journalist Dana Thomas digs deep into the dark side of the luxury industry to uncover all the secrets that Prada, Gucci, and Burberry don’t want us to know. Deluxe is an uncompromising look behind the glossy façade that will enthrall anyone interested in fashion, finance, or culture.

 

A LIFE OF CHARM & GRACE

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How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret, Sophie Mas; Amazon

From four stunning and accomplished French women — at last — a fresh and spirited take on what it really means to be a Parisienne: how they dress, entertain, have fun and attempt to behave themselves.

 

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Women, Work & the Art of Savoir Faire: Business Sense & Sensibility by Mireille Guiliano, Amazon

From the #1 New York Times bestselling “high priestess of French lady wisdom” (USA Today) comes every woman’s guide to navigating the world of work, living the good life, and savoring every minute of it.

 

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True Pleasures: A Memoir of Women in Paris by Lucinda Holdforth, Amazon

Meet the dazzling women of Paris: from Colette to Nancy Mitford; Marie Antoinette to Coco Chanel; Madame de Stael to Pamela Harriman; Napoleon’s Josephine to Edith Wharton. Rule-breakers and style-setters, demimondes and diplomats, these women were utterly diverse, yet all shared one common passion — Paris, the world’s headquarters of femininity.

 

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Biting the Dust: The Joys of Housework, by Margaret Horsfield, Amazon

In this witty look at our obsession with cleaning, Margaret Horsfield confronts her own dirt demons and scours the social, historical, literary and psychological nooks and crannies of the world of household chores.

 

A LIFE MANUAL

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Emily Post’s Etiquette, by  Peggy Post, Amazon

For the first time in its history, this American classic has been completely rewritten. Peggy Post gives us etiquette for today’s times. Read by millions since the first edition was published in 1922, Emily Post—the most trusted name in etiquette—has always been there to help people navigate every conceivable social situation. 

 

ALWAYS A NOVEL

Glimpses of the Moon, by Edith Wharton, Amazon

Set in the 1920s, The Glimpses of the Moon details the romantic misadventures of Nick Lansing and Susy Branch, a couple with the right connections but not much in the way of funds. They devise a shrewd bargain: they’ll marry and spend a year or so sponging off their wealthy friends, honeymooning in their mansions and villas. As Susy explains, “We should really, in a way, help more than hamper each other. We both know the ropes so well; what one of us didn’t see the other might — in the way of opportunities, I mean.” The other part of the plan states that if either one of them meets someone who can advance them socially, they’re each free to dissolve the marriage. How their plan unfolds is a comedy of eros that will charm all fans of Wharton’s work.

 

POST PHOTO: A Model Summer by Paulina Porizkova, Amazon

An incisive, beautifully written first novel by a former supermodel that explores the glamorous and gritty world she inhabited…Told with the grace, simplicity, and accuracy that can only come from real-life experience, A Model Summer is both the debut of a notably talented novelist and an unusually well-informed look behind the scenes at a world many people fantasize about, but few really know.

All quotations via Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. August 4, 2016

    I absolutely love reading so I’m saving this post! I’m definitely going to check out Glimpses of the Moon. It sounds like something I would love 🙂

    xx
    Nida | Caked To The Nines

  2. August 19, 2016

    If you are looking for summer reading lists with lots of classics on them, I recommend this three-part reading list from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The fiction and nonfiction books on it were picked for their “lasting value.”

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