Fashion books are not only meant for display on a coffee table. They are an excellent guide for anyone who’s looking to dive into the fashion world. Here are ten fashion books you should read and display on your bookshelf.

The End of Fashion: How Marketing Changed the Clothing Business Forever by Teri Agins

What readers say:
“This book is much more than a review of fashion. Was it the author’s intention to write an all-encompassing book about social structure, social order, consumerism, and commerce? It certainly is that, as well as a comprehensive discussion on the numerous aspects and shifts in fashion.

The book is a historical recounting of changes that took place primarily between the fifteenth and twenty-first centuries. More than a visual recording of changing social trends, fashion has and continues to be a significant influence on the fabric of society. Truthfully, it is sobering to see the impact that yards of cloth, designs, marketers, and corporate giants have over the lives of people worldwide.

It isn’t just about the clothes in your wardrobe: it is about the nail polish on your fingers, the cutlery in your kitchen, and the plates that you put your food on. From agriculture to pharmaceuticals, from Wall Street to Hollywood, from Washington to international money markets, there is a connection to fashion, of which the majority of people are unaware.”

Fashion (Oxford History of Art) by Christopher Breward

What readers say:
“It is far deeper than the average history of fashion. Covers not only the main designers, but also fashion as an industry and its promotion and relation with mass culture.

Very informative, well written and thought provoking.”

Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline

What readers say:
“Reading this book helped me make sense of why most of today’s clothes seem cheap and poorly made. They ARE! This book also takes you behind the scenes into the world of fashion, garment making and marketing, but don’t get turned off if you are not a fashionista! This is a book every consumer should read.”

Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster by Dana Thomas

What readers say:
“This book will make you think twice about the luxury products you buy. Having just entered the job market and being in need of good quality wardrobe staples this book was right on time. I’ve learned that some so called luxury products aren’t even worth the wrapping they come in. While other products still retain the quality of a hundred years ago. Being a seamstress I already had suspicions about some of the things called luxury nowadays and this book has not only confirmed my suspicions but informed me greatly.”

The Fashion Designer Survival Guide, Revised and Expanded Edition: Start and Run Your Own Fashion Business by Mary Gehlhar

What readers say:
“This book explains the inside workings of the fashion design world to beginners. Lots of tips and first hand opinions and advice from people working in the industry. Only small downside for me was it is oriented in the US system and not everything applies worldwide but I don’t think this could be avoided in any way. Definitely worth a read if you are trying to find your way in fashion design.

Dior by Dior Deluxe Edition: The Autobiography of Christian Dior

What readers say:
“I’ve recently become obsessed with Christian Dior. Not just the products but the man himself as well. I have been reading up on him and find we have a lot in common. So I recently picked up one of the few books he ever wrote, “Dior by Dior.”

This short biography gives a fascinating look into what it took for him to create the Dior fashion house that we know today, as well as an in-depth look into the Paris Haute Couture scene of the 40s and 50s. Dior built his fashion house with what was called the “New Look” with his first collection in 1947.

The book really details how he found himself creating his own fashion house and everything it took behind the scenes for him and his employees to create his first fashion show. Dior writes in such a fascinating and detailed way that you are instantly drawn into the book from the first chapter. It is too bad that he didn’t write more because he tells a story beautifully.”

The Beautiful Fall: Fashion, Genius, and Glorious Excess in 1970s Paris by Alicia Drake

What readers say:
“I have always been fascinated with fashion and specifically, the 1970s period when YSL and Lagerfeld were creating the foundation of today’s fashion industry. This book describes, in great detail, the growth and changes of the French couture industry in the 1970s and how it has changed and evolved over time. A lot of emphasis is on St. Laurent and Lagerfeld and how their personalities were reflected in their work. There is also a lot of detail about the ‘seamy underbelly’ of this industry, the egos, pettiness, power plays and struggles that seem to go hand in hand with prestige and celebrity.”

The Battle of Versailles: The Night American Fashion Stumbled into the Spotlight and Made History by Robin Givhan

What readers say:
“The Battle of Versailles is an excellent social history. Yes, it is all about a great fashion event. More importantly it is a record of the country at the time. Because of the surrounding social and political events you get a well-rounded account of why the fashion show at Versailles had such impact.”

Hijacking the Runway: How Celebrities Are Stealing the Spotlight from Fashion Designers by Teri Agins

What readers say:
“When I saw that fashion journalist Teri Agins, author of The End of Fashion, had written a new book I was excited to read it. I have always been a devoted follower of fashion but Agins first book, The End of Fashion, made me realize I could come at fashion with a slightly more academic approach, something that appealed to my intellectual side and spawned personal undergraduate work in the same area. This book did not fail my high expectations. As a devoted follower of the fashion industry in all its aspects, much of what she wrote about wasn’t brand new to me, however the connections she made among brands and lines put the significance of the celebrity in fashion in a new perspective for me.”

Dressed: A Century of Hollywood Costume Design by Deborah Nadoolman Landis

What readers say:
“This book is incredible. The photographs and costume illustrations are really high quality. I haven’t read this entire massive tome yet, but I’ve really loved what I’ve read and looked at so far. The book is basically comprised of 4 components. There are text chapters addressing costume design in each of the last 10 decades, then there are the gorgeous photos (lots and lots of color), many sketches that you probably will not see anywhere else, and finally, and this is the really juicy part, are the captions that accompany the images. The captions are quotes from directors, actors and designers and they are really lively and funny. You feel like you were in the fitting room with the actor.”