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Book Review: Fashion 101 – A Crash Course In Clothing by Erika Stalder

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The highest display of fashion facts in my home is when I yell for my husband to get me my camisole.

“No, those are jeans. Do high heels sound like a camisole? Never mind. I’ll get it.”

I pick on him, but really “camisole” is one of the only pieces of clothing I can officially name. So basically I’m just showing off, because that’s all I can say about this tank top. I can’t tell you where it came from, who created it, or who made it famous.

So if you like to show off like I do but don’t have substantial knowledge to back it up, then Fashion 101: A Crash Course In Clothing by Erika Stalder is the perfect book for you. It was written for teens but is a great source of knowledge for over three centuries of clothing.

Erika Stalder is a San Franciscan writer who collaborated with illustrator Ariel Krietzman to create this fun, fact-packed guide. This is Stalder’s third book produced by Zest, a line of nonfiction teen literature. Her other titles include The Date Book and 97 Things To Do Before You Finish High School.

Stalder’s Fashion 101 categorizes hundreds of clothing items and accessories, including everything from the teddy to the cardigan to the kilt. Each article of clothing has a colorful drawing by Krietzman, a short description, and information on “who made it,” “who made it hot,” and “how to rock it.” Stalder also adds tidbits about fashion in general. She explores different textiles, fabrics, necklines, and fashion technology such as the zipper.

My favorite part of this book is her advice on how to wear certain clothing. I would probably tell people in this day never to wear stirrup or parachute pants, but somehow Stalder manages to instruct teens on how to make these styles surprisingly trendy. Also, the historical information is certainly fascinating, such as women constructing the first sports bra from jockstraps!

Stalder’s book is entertaining and informative and would make a perfect gift for teens exploring their personality through clothing. But this book is also much like Rebecca Apsan’s The Lingerie Handbook. It’s a great tool for anyone wanting to learn more about clothing.

So whether you’re buying your own clothes for the first time or just want to know what your favorite dress is called, pick up Fashion 101: A Crash Course In Clothing, and who knows? You may end up learning something that you can brag about later!

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About Janica Unruh