From most of these I learned very little, other than that your average style guru's idea of unique and quirky was very different than my idea of unique and quirky, and that the supposedly classic and stylish things I 'should' be wearing were not at all what I was interested in. Nevertheless I persevered, and continued to flick through the most appallingly boring celebrity style guides whenever I came across them.
I did, eventually, find one style guide that I thoroughly enjoyed, which remains on my bookshelf to this day. I like to flick through it for inspiration when I don't have any ideas for what I'd like to wear, and whilst it's definitely best taken with a pinch of salt, I really like that unlike others of its ilk, it actually encourages readers to break the mould and try something new, fun, and different.
Believe it or not, this book is by Trinny and Susannah. I had flicked through some of their incredibly tedious passages in their other books on colour coordination and dressing for your shape and decided that they were taking all the fun out of building a wardrobe and getting dressed in the morning. (Not that colour coordination or dressing for your shape is a bad thing in itself. I just don't need four books on how to do so, thanks.) And, What Not To Wear? Don't tell me what to wear, bitches, I am capable of deciding that for myself (and if sometimes it's a disaster, at least it's my disaster).
I picked up the book because of its title and tagline: Who Do You Want To Be Today? (Be Inspired To Dress Differently). Whilst generally I want to be myself today, I liked the tagline, and the essence of this book is literally that - it presents a variety of looks and styles, with a description, moodboard, examples and a how-to for each, ranging from the Audrey Hepburn-esque Gamine to the Isabella Blow-inspired Avante-Garde Eccentric (also including Diva, Rock Chick, Androgyne, Sophisticate and many more).
It's not a serious book or a lifestyle guide (in fact some of the outfits featured border on fancy dress), but it is a bit of fun and it certainly helped to bump-start me out of a creative rut. I would recommend it to those looking to feel a bit less 'samey' or who are as confused as I was; I like to have a signature look rather than change my style from day to day, but it helped me pinpoint what sort of styles I was drawn to and what felt like 'me', which of course is the first step in creating a wardrobe.
What books help you feel inspired?