The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own - Nina Garcia, Ruben Toledo It's a bold title: The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces EVERY Stylish Woman Must Own. But is it true? Yes and no. While the full one hundred won't apply to everyone, there is at least something to appeal to nearly everyone (since when is Champagne a fashion accessory?). There are items that fall into classic categories, and nearly every woman will own them no matter what their personal style statement is. I would say great jeans, a trench coat, a great sweater, a black dress and that one wear-with-anything pair of shoes all fit into the American/Western wardrobe in some shape or form. But there are definitely things I consider unnecessary or just not for me on Garcia's list:

Havianas. I'm not a flip-flop kinda gal.

Champagne. If I'm going to imbibe alcohol, it most likely won't be champagne.

L.L. Bean Tote. I don't own an L.L. Bean anything. Ever. My heart still rebels against The North Face, too. I blame bitchy high school girls for this prejudice.

A caftan. Do I look like Mrs. Roper?

A Blackberry. Well, technically I do own a Blackberry Pearl (I don't recommend it), but this entry just shows how this book has already dated itself. The Blackberry is on the way out as the tech du jour, ladies.

I am glad that Garcia included things like Converse sneakers (a must!) and vintage t-shirts along side "investment bags" (read: big name, splurgerific bags by the likes of Prada and Hermes) and cashmere sweaters. I have a lot of fun combing through this book, especially as each alphabetical entry includes little bits of trivia and history to take the topics beyond merely constructing a catalog of acquisition.

I won't lie: I like clothes. I like shopping for clothes and putting pieces together our of a pure love for aesthetic expression. I also like reading about fashion, because it reflects who we are as a culture. Every decade has it's costumes, and that is fascinating. This book takes elements from various decades to create an essential foundation for a great wardrobe. I don't use this book as a guide to my own clothing choices, but rather I like to look at it as a fun inside look at how we, as a culture, look at clothes: what is classic? What is just a fad? How does this reflect our culture? How can I enjoy clothes and accessories without letting acquisition take over my life? Well, this book doesn't help so much with that last question, but it does help give perspective as to what things are worth investing in for the long term, which is one way of avoiding the consumer money pit. And Ruben Toledo's watercolor illustrations are adorable.