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Nina Garcia's Style Library

By CaitlinBergmann Tue., Mar. 30, 2010 ,11:58 am EDT

"Project Runway" judge Nina Garcia knows good style when she sees it, so who better to write a book about attaining high-end looks at lower prices?



Read an essay from her latest book "The Style Strategy" to find out what it takes to hone your very own style.

Nina Garcia on "The Style Strategy"

I am a working mother and a wife. I am a sister and a daughter. I am a student of fashion and a shopper of everything. Each experience in my life fuels what I do, who I am and, more important, who I see myself evolving into as tomorrow dawns.

I have goals — for myself, for my son, for my family and for the people who listen to what I have to say about fashion and style.

Every day I plan, I organize, I schedule, I strategize. The most important thing I’ve learned is that although no amount of planning fully prepares one for life’s inevitable speed bumps, knowing that I’ve built a strong foundation enables me to negotiate such bumps with assurance. I must problem-solve at a moment’s notice, and sometimes even change course altogether to adapt to whatever circumstances are thrown in my path. I have to be quick. I must embrace spontaneity while always keeping my feet on the ground. I must have unwavering trust that I’m making the right decision. If I even begin to doubt myself, I crumble and nothing gets done. Or, rather, nothing gets done correctly.

It is with this goal in mind — of imparting my strategy for achieving this level of self-assurance and confidence while also economizing — that I decided to write this book. As I look at the women around me — on television, in the news and throughout the world — I realize that although different circumstances may rule each of our lives, we share the core elements of who we are. We’re survivalists. We’re nurturers. We’re women.

An essential aspect of being a woman is not only taking care of everyone around us, but also taking care of ourselves and each other. We figure out new ways to look and feel gorgeous. Sharing our not-so-secret tips with each other is probably the easiest, and definitely the most fun, way we care for ourselves. As women, it is in our nature to reach for perfection, and although perfection may not be 100 percent possible, getting close is. In fact, I see women getting closer to perfection every day.

I witness this striving toward an aesthetic ideal in the wonderful designs I handle as a fashion director. I see it in pristine garments, astute styling and impeccable tailoring, among many other examples of the craftsmanship I’ve come to adore. But I also see perfection embodied in the women walking down my street. Fearless, creative, stylish women who inspire me.

But getting there is a process. It requires a strategy. Taking command of your style and staying chic is but one step in this process — an important one, mind you, but not the only one. Shopping smart and saving our hard-earned money is another very important step. Although it can be a challenge, being practical while honing your style can also be a damn good time. Trust me.

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