Nina Garcia

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Project Runway judge and mega fashionista Nina Garcia gives E! Online the skinny on being stylin with tips from her new book, The One Hundred, which hits stores today.

E!: Tell us about your new book.
Nina Garcia: It [features] iconic pieces that have been there for a long time. Being in this business for a long time, I’ve seen a lot of seasons and fads come and go. And these hundred are the ones that have always come back. They’re like the bones of our home. Designers build on them, they might change somewhat, they come back in different versions, but the original designs and ideas are always there.

E!: You’re able to find items like the Birkin bag, that are expensive, and it ranges down to Hanes t-shirts, which are five bucks.
NG: Right – it’s anything from the Birkin bag to the LL Bean tote. Yes, the Birkin has had a lot of press because it’s a bag that would still be chic if you bought it ten years ago or bring it out fifteen years from now. It would still hold its own because the design is there and it’s a classic. The same goes for the LL Bean bag. It’s very functional and a simple design idea. It’s one of those things – you can always wear it.

E!: Is there any one thing that you want us to know? Aside from your “if it comes in cashmere, buy it in cashmere” maxim?
NG: Yes, it’s really about value. Especially now, in these trying economic times. It’s not about the price because inexpensive or expensive could both be wrong. It’s about buying something that’s going to endure. It’s really about buying wisely and buying something you can keep in your wardrobe. You just have to look for things that you’ll like and wear in five or ten years from now. [Ask yourself, will it] add something to my wardrobe that I don’t have and will it work with the pieces I own?

E!: Is there anything you regret buying?
NG: Many, many things! I’ve been to so many shows and sometimes you just get carried away with the season. I remember there was this incredible cape and I got carried away in the moment and I brought it home and I looked like Elvis. My husband looked at me and said, “Where are you going in this cape, woman?”

E!: Did you ever wear it?
NG: No, I think only Kate Moss could wear it.

E!: Do you do edit your closet?
NG: Editing clears your eye. When you have so much in your closet, you can’t really focus on the good pieces you have. It’s the same as when you go shopping – you see so many things, it takes longer to focus on the good pieces. I have the same philosophy for my closet, edit as much as possible so you can appreciate the good things that are there.

E!: What inspires you?
NG: I’m inspired by the movies, TV shows, exhibitions and places I visit. Travelling is important because you find incredible things. There’s art in every culture. You can tap into that and buy trinkets and incorporate them into your wardrobe and make them your own. Personal style is really a reflection of you and what you want to communicate that you like. It could be a charm that your grandmother gave you – it’s about communicating the taste that you have.

E!: I wanted to go back to something you said about being inspired by television shows. I really love Mad Men
NG: Ah! Fantastic!

E!: Isn’t it great? Michael Kors was inspired by that and he said that everyone will be dressing more conservatively and dressing up more. I know you’re not a fan of showing too much skin. Why are we moving towards that now?
NG: I think the economy has a lot to do with it. It’s time to shop more conscientiously and look for value. I’m not saying it’s conservative, but it’s a more classic style. It’s a better investment.

E!: What are some key pieces in terms of classic style?
NG: I have a hundred of them in this book! Some of my favourites – every woman should have a white shirt and a perfect jacket or blazer. Those things are very much in this season. A little black dress, a pair of high heel pumps, a fantastic bag. If you can afford an exotic skin bag, great. If you can’t, get something that doesn’t say logo or brand. A statement piece of jewellery – it could be anything, it’s that idea of personalizing your wardrobe. So make it yours, make it something that has sentimental value.

More tips are available in Nina’s book, The One Hundred, available on amazon.ca.

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