We're entering the icky days of winter when the parade of puffy coats and Sorels make for a fashion-free foreseeable future. Get your style fix from a design read tailored to haute or humble tastes.
World War II and the postwar 40s were tight times for fashion designers, who had to get creative with rationed materials and sober tastes. Canadian fashion follower Jonathan Walford's new style review of the decade, Forties Fashion: From Siren Suits To The New Look, seems timely for spending-cautious 2009, when the old "make do and mend" motto makes perfect sense ($50, Theatre Books, 11 St. Thomas, 416-922-7175).
"This is fashion porn," proclaimed one Type bookworm when we picked out Laurence Cutler and Judy Goffman Cutler's collection of illustrations by J.C. Leyendecker. His drawings filled publications like the Saturday Evening Post, but the Arrow Collar Man became his most iconic image and the first male sex symbol of the advertising age ($55, 883 Queen West, 416-366-8973, and others).
The Smart car company and high fashion glossies like Dazed & Confused and Neo2 tapped an international group of style types like Bernhard Willhelm and Steven Klein to explore consumerism and ecology for the Sideways Art Project. The compilation book includes bold photography and graphic design ($75, Magic Pony, 694 Queen West, 416-861-1684).
The often-asked list of personality-revealing queries named after Marcel Proust gets posed to a cast of today's biggest fashion talents in Fashion Questionnaire (Assouline). Find out Thom Browne, Karl Lagerfeld and Diane von Fürstenberg's favourite colours, historical muses and the fashion faux pas they best tolerate. John Galliano loves a look loaded with oodles of backfiring effort ($40, Lileo, 55 Mill, building 35, 416-413-1410.)
Books are great, but fashion people are magazine people. Since Vogue has fallen out of favour, fill its spot on your magazine rack with the Worn Fashion Journal. The Canadian indie rag's seventh edition is full of quirky articles and editorials on spandex, photo-realist weaving and alt prom style ($6, Freedom Clothing Collective, 939 Bloor West, 416-530-9946, wornjournal.com).