Just before the holidays I mentioned that Nostalgia in Vogue might make a fun present. This anthology, compiled by Features Director Eve MacSweeney, celebrates the 10th birthday of the famous “Nostalgia” columns. Essays based on stunning fashion photographs, paired with coming-of-age stories and artists’ personal musings on life’s big themes.

In The One Hundred – A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own, Nina Garcia shares the one hundred pieces that have become her wardrobe essentials. A style guide intended as a source of inspiration, rather than the ultimate must-haves list, to help you develop your trademark style.

While preparing the YLF entry for Mrs. Garcia’s book, I kept going back and forth between the two cover options. The hardcover with simple light grey background and black and pink lettering, and the colourful shoes and bags of the paperback version. In the end, the paperback won. Ruben Toledo’s illustration gives a fun taste of the playful drawings inside, and perfectly reflects this style guide’s tone and message.

It got me thinking though. Do looks matter with books? After all, this is one area where content trumps appearance, right. Yet, I admit to poring over web archives with beautifully designed covers. I have spent time tracking down the original version of a book just because the reprint cover wasn’t wowing me. No movie tie-in editions in my shopping cart if I can avoid it. And am I the only one who’s not amused when a publisher suddenly changes design themes bang in the middle of a favourite series?

Seems I’ve developed very specific style criteria for my bookshelves too. I like my covers strong and bold, with clean simple lines and an element of surprise thrown into the mix. I definitely smell a whiff of Modern Classic with minimalist tendencies here… Come to think of it, all this might match my overall style persona more than I realized.

How do your style preferences affect your book purchases? Or is there really no connection at all? And just for fun, tell us which Nina cover you would have picked.

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