The One Hundred

Nina Garcia was already well known within the fashion world as the editor of Elle Magazine, but she exploded into our national consciousness as a fashion authority when she appeared as a judge on Project Runway.  During her tenure on the show, Garcia published a book called The One Hundred, intended to identify the one hundred fashion items no woman should live without.


The book is a quick read with minimal editorial content.  That said, it’s surprising how good the information is and how precise the advice.  You can hear Nina’s sage, no-nonsense tone as you read, and her advice recalls her presence on Project Runway in that she refuses to accept that anything at all can be stylish as long as you love it.  With Nina Garcia, fashion is personal, but there ARE rules!

Just as a fun exercise, I went through the one hundred items to check my progress on building a timeless, complete wardrobe.  Here’s how I did:

Items I already own: 82

I owe quite a few of these boxes checked to my stylish grandmothers, from whom I have inherited treasures including silk scarves, surprisingly modern furs, gloriously gaudy cocktail rings, and even a classic Pucci dress.

Items I don’t own, and have put on my list: 12

  • Camel coat
  • Cape
  • Hobo bag
  • LL Bean tote
  • Mad money (the spare large bill you keep somewhere secret for emergencies!)
  • Man’s white shirt
  • Minnetonka moccasin
  • Peacoat
  • Signet ring
  • Tuxedo jacket
  • Vans
  • Wide leg trousers

Items I don’t own, and don’t see as essential: 6

  • Aviators – I’ve tried and tried, but they just don’t look good on my face
  • Caftan – I find them overwhelming
  • Exotic skin bag – I find this an unfortunate combo of possible ethical implications and extreme expense
  • Frye harness boot – I’m just not into the look, especially since I already own another item from the list: cowboy boots!
  • Missoni knit – I'm not into this look either
  • Old concert t-shirt – as I’m not a particularly big music fan and have only been to a few concerts in my life, all of which are embarrassing (hi, Spice Girls Reunion Tour!), this would feel disingenuous

Next time you organize your closet, consider reading The One Hundred first and using it to inform your decisions.  A more streamlined yet fashion forward wardrobe awaits you!