Always Pack A Party Dress

And Other lessons Learned From A (Half) Life In Fashion

Amanda Brooks

Published by Blue Rider Press (Penguin Random House US) in Hardback (£20.00) on 18-06-2015

An authentic voice in the world of fashion and how-to, Amanda Brooks’ unique yet accessible style has inspired thousands of women of all ages to explore their identities through the clothes they love and wear. In her new book, Brooks recalls her early career aspirations and explores the evolution of her own personal style along with stories of successes and failures alike, as well as fashion and beauty tips and inspiring photographs.

Brooks has created a unique place for herself in the fashion world over the past two decades. After a coincidental meeting at a Manhattan restaurant, she landed a photography internship with fashion photographer Patrick Demarchelier and travelled the world assisting on photo shoots for Kate Moss and Madonna. At twenty-five, she began consulting for fashion designers; in her thirties, Brooks wrote her first book, I Love Your Style: How to Define and Refine Your Personal Style, and a few years later found her dream job as the fashion director for Barneys New York.

ALWAYS PACK A PARTY DRESS is equal parts fashion and career memoir. Brooks explores her sartorial and professional growth while confessing outfits and jobs she bungled along the way. She candidly relates the wisdom learned from moments of both success and failure (like her rejection from Graydon Carter for the Vanity Fair fashion director job; “It has motivated me ever since.”) and mentors like Diane von Furstenberg (“All women need a dose of humility from time to time. Few things are as effective as a bad haircut,”).

With beautiful photographs from Brooks’ personal collection and from her professional experiences, accompanied by warm, candid and witty prose, ALWAYS PACK A PARTY DRESS is an inspirational book to be dipped into, referenced and re-read for years to come.


Fashion Lessons:

Embrace Your History
“It was too exhausting to try so hard to reinvent my look all the time. I also started to feel like when I dressed in clothes that were familiar to my life and my history, I felt more comfortable, more like myself.” (p32)

Style Influences:

My Mother
“I can relate to how she evolved towards a place where she spends less time and money on her clothes, and I look at her and aspire to look half as chic as she is even though her life is so much more dynamic than thinking about what to wear all the time.” (p40)

Professional Advice:

Rules for Consulting
“When you have reached the position of being able to use your knowledge and expertise, here’s how you get started:
– How to know what your rate should be
– Logistics: In order to have a well-functioning freelance work life that maximizes your time effectively, you need to establish some ground rules with your employer.
– Making time for your own creativity: The final key to happiness through consulting is having a project that is just yours.” (p200)

PR Collective’s current campaigns

See more campaigns →

Nine Nasty Words

Language evolves with time, and so does what we consider profane or unspeakable. Nine Nasty Words is a rollicking examination of profanity, explored from every angle: historical, sociological, political, linguistic. In a particularly coarse moment, when the public discourse is shaped in part by once-shocking words, nothing could be timelier.

Read more →

I Can’t Believe It’s Baby Food!

My aim is to help parents make both cooking and mealtimes as enjoyable and stress-free as possible. It’s all about sharing food that the whole family will love, with your baby in a highchair pulled up to the table. Apart from the first few weeks of weaning, there really is no need to cook twice. In fact, it’s much better that you don’t! Your baby will benefit both nutritionally and developmentally from eating with you; and, if you are not stuck in the kitchen all day preparing endless different meals, you’ll be happier and less frazzled, too.

Your child’s development depends on three key areas of health that are intertwined and are interdependent – these are the Brain, the Immune system and the Gut (BIG). The first thousand days seems to be the critical window to get this essential BIG nutrition trio functioning well, as that is when your baby’s mind, immune-resilience and intestinal health are being primed for the future.

Read more →

Extra Life

Steven Johnson will present a four-part television series with historian David Olusoga, also titled Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer. As with the book, the series, set in the context of today’s COVID-19 crisis, explores the lessons learned from previous global pandemics—including smallpox, cholera, the Spanish flu, and others—and reveals how scientists, doctors, self-experimenters, and activists launched a public health revolution, saving millions of lives, fundamentally changing how we think about illness and ultimately paving the way for modern medicine.

Read more →