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Nina Garcia’s Look Book is Looking Good

Nina Garcia’s Look Book, the third book by Marie Claire fashion director and Project Runway judge Nina Garcia, debuts in bookstores today. The book, illustrated by the sensational Ruben Toledo, is filled with styling and outfit suggestions for an encyclopedic amount of dressing occasions, ranging from job interviews to gallery openings and even simply running errands. For Nina Garcia, there is no occasion where a lady should not look fabulous, and this book gives women not only the suggestions to make that happen, but the confidence with which to do it.

One of the most delightful things about the book, actually, is the empowering tone Garcia uses throughout, making it clear that any woman can be stylish, regardless of the amount of money in her wallet. Nina Garcia is the friend every girl wishes she had—the girl who always knows what to wear, and knows how to make her friends feel good about whatever is in their closets. She really knows, as Tim Gunn would say, how to make it work.

Many of the points Garcia raises in the book are enlightening even for a person who is well-versed in fashion. As a person who works in the fashion industry every day, Garcia has insight into the fashion world that few other books in this “Style” or “What to Wear” category have—unlike a fashion designer who may write a similar book, Garcia is one of the people who actually gets to decide whether or not this designer’s work is worthy of the pages in a magazine. The reader’s knowledge of Garcia’s critical eye gives her words that much more weight. When Garcia speaks or airs an opinion, the reader genuinely listens to what she has to say. She is, in all forms of the word, an expert. She also wields her authority with elegance, which is greatly appreciated.

There are some aspects of the book that are questionable, and most questions that arise have to do with the intended audience for the book. Sometimes it seems the book is written for fashion novices, other times for those a bit more seasoned; Garcia writes to both teach and to reinforce already instituted practices so the tone changes fairly often and can get confusing. Additionally, the book is written for a very specific age group—one that is not only job hunting and going to weddings, but getting married, having children, and perhaps even going to therapy. For someone not yet in these stages of life, like the Her Campus reader, those chapters probably won’t have as much use as others and can even be a bit alienating. However, the Her Campus reader can use so many of the other chapters, like dressing for the first day of work, a first date (and even a second date), Christmas, getting a haircut, and many more. Though the audience for the book is very specific, anyone can find information they need if they look for it (in the very easy to use and adorably labeled Table of Contents.)

Overall, Nina Garcia’s Look Book is a truly helpful book written by one of the fashion world’s most influential women. It is encouraging and inspiring, giving the reader faith in her own dressing abilities which, as Garcia points out, is one of the most important skills in the world to have. After finishing Nina Garcia’s Look Book, the reader will doubtlessly feel enlightened and empowered to go forth and be fabulous, however they themselves choose to define the word.

Elyssa Goodman likes words and pictures a lot. She is a Style Consultant at Her Campus, was previously the publication's first Style Editor, and has been with the magazine since its inception in 2009. Elyssa graduated with honors from Carnegie Mellon University, where she studied Professional Writing, Creative Writing, and Photography. As an undergraduate, she founded and was the editor-in-chief of The Cut, Carnegie Mellon's Music Magazine. Originally from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Elyssa now lives and works in New York City as Miss Manhattan, a freelance writer, photographer, stylist and social media consultant. Her work has appeared in Vice, Marie Claire, New York Magazine, Glamour, The New Yorker, Artforum, Bust, Bullett, Time Out New York, Nerve.com, and many other publications across the globe. Elyssa is also the photographer of the book "Awkwafina's NYC," written by Nora "Awkwafina" Lum. She loves New York punk circa 1973, old-school photobooths, macaroni and cheese, and Marilyn Monroe. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @MissManhattanNY.
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