Excerpt: 'The Look Book,' by Nina Garcia

Photo: Book Cover: Excerpt: The Look Book, by Nina Garcia: Project Runway Judge and Style-Expert Helps You Pick Outfits for Every Occasion

In her new book, Nina Garcia, fashion director of Marie Claire magazine and style expert for Target, tackles the question every woman has asked in panic before an event: What should I wear?!

Whether you're heading out for a crucial job interview, going out for a dressy dinner or looking for a travel-friendly frock to wear on an airplane, Garcia lays out the clothes and accessories that make the ideal outfit.

Garcia has written two other best-selling books, "The Little Black Book of Style" and "The Style Strategy."

Read and excerpt of "The Look Book" below, and then head to the "GMA" Library to find more good reads.


Know first who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly. -epictetus

One of the most magical places on earth is a small island in the Caribbean called Mustique. With brilliant beaches, warm water, and lush vegetation, this tiny green swath of land is my idea of paradise. I go there to decompress from the frenetic pace of New York City and all the necessary and unnecessary pressures I place on myself at work and in life.

It was on Mustique that the genesis of this book took place, sparked by a conversation I overheard while lounging late one morning under an umbrella by the beach. I was reading a novel that wasn't nearly as interesting as the dialogue taking place between two women sitting near me. I couldn't see them and wouldn't have known they were there were it not for their animated discussion, their tempers on the brink of flaring the way they sometimes can when women are at odds. The older woman, whom I presumed to be the mother (I met her later at the hotel bar and confirmed this), was scolding her daughter about the merits of dressing appropriately now that she had graduated from college.

"You can't go around wearing sandals and jeans 24/7 anymore," the older woman almost barked. "Every occasion requires thought about how you look. You know this."

"But I didn't think I looked bad," her daughter whined.

"You can't tell me there aren't jobs out there after I ask what you wore to the interview and you tell me you put on those jeans!"

Oh dear, I thought. Jeans to a job interview. She didn't.

I instantly thought of my own mother, a beacon of elegance who would have threatened me with incarceration for that kind of transgression. In Colombia, where I was born and raised, women like my mother considered their appearance and personal grooming a matter of principle. There was never an occasion where she didn't show up looking picture-perfect.

Although I was sure the sparring pair couldn't tell I was eavesdropping, and despite the fact that I was supposed to be "on vacation" and far away from all things job related, I could not help thinking that this exact sort of conversation was probably taking place between mothers and daughters around the globe. From Delaware to Düsseldorf, I could almost hear the sea of mothers and daughters, each up in arms about the other's recurring faux pas. Frustrated moms eager to vanquish tattered T-shirts, torn jeans, dirty sneakers, and old flip flops into a bonfire of oblivion. And reversely, desperate daughters insisting they will "literally die of embarrassment" if their mothers continue raiding their closets for skintight jeans and microminis in misguided last ditch attempts to regain the rebelliousness of their youth.

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