5 Top Fives: Amanda Brooks Lists the Essentials

Meet Amanda Brooks, contributing editor at Conde Nast Traveler/English countryside dweller with a newly relaunched website — I Love Your Style, proponent of the wicker bag as an all-purpose-purse and author of Always Pack a Party Dress

“Fashion is a glamorous industry,” she told me while describing her intent behind the book during a recent trip to New York. “I was trying to have a human voice in that world.” And she does: her book speaks to two kinds of people: 1) the young girl who loves fashion to a romantic extent, who wants the stories as much as the style, who wants to one day be a part of the industry while still embracing its more decadent, even frivolous side, and 2) for the woman who, regardless of age, may be at inflection point in her career.

And at the end of the day, that’s all of us, right? Women seeking reprieves from the doldrums of daily life in slideshows of far-away runways, who are just as confused about the next job and life steps as we are about what the hell to pack…which is where Amanda Brooks comes in today. Below, five lists of her top 5…

Top 5 Pieces of Career Advice

1. Don’t be afraid to take a job without a fancy name.

2. If you’re looking for a job but are utterly unsure about what you want to do, don’t “waffle” and wait for the perfect scenario. Choose something, make a decision then take it from there. You may surprise yourself. Or you may hate it! But at least you have momentum.

3. Prepare yourself now for the career you want, for the dream job, the dream industry. Luck happens — Proenza Schouler’s  Lazaro Hernandez met Anna Wintour on a plane. But just because you’re in the right place at the right time doesn’t mean you’re always ready to talk the talk.

4. There’s getting lost (career-wise) in the romantic sense, and then getting lost to the point where you don’t recognize who you are anymore. If you’re unhappy and being disrespected but sticking it out for a paycheck or prestige, get out.

5. But she highly suggests having another job lined up first.

Besides a party dress, what are the top 5 things you pack when you come to NY from England now?

1. Chloé cargo pants

2. New Balance for J.Crew navy and white running shoes

3. Some form of hippie top from Isabel Marant

4. A camouflage L.L. Bean nylon tote for hauling without the risk of a broken bag

5. Céline sunglasses

What about your top 5 England farm-life essentials? 

1. J.Crew mid rise matchstick corduroy trousers

2. Grenson leather lace up boots

3. An old Balmain military style peacoat in army green melton wool

4. My favorite Zara black plaid flannel shirt with gold snap buttons

5. A cashmere scarf that I knitted myself

Top 5 beauty and hair products that you absolutely always have to travel with?

1. Oil of Olay face cream

2. Kevyn Aucoin gel mascara

3. NARS Dolce Vita matte lip pencil

4. Laura Mercier eyebrow pencil

5. Moroccan Oil hair serum

What’s your go-to airplane outfit?

1. A Céline mens-style button down shirt

2. Point Sur denim Reid-style blue jeans

3. Adidas Stan Smiths

4. A navy down Uniqlo jacket

5. Hand cream. “Dry hands make me nervous.”

Follow Amanda Brooks on Instagram and check out her newly launched website, I Love Your Style.

Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis


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  • Charlotte

    Love this kind of feature, getting this kind of information from figures in fashion is always intriguing. Amanda Brooks is such an interesting person in the fashion world, I was very excited to see her here! Hopefully there is more of this “5 top fives” to come ! xx ( Her new book was also fascinating, she had such an exciting life in fashion and then to in a way give it up was really eye opening to read about. I wonder if that is a common feeling, the desire to leave fashion for a bit, if it ever gets too tiring or feel like its not worth it any longer?)

    • Amelia Diamond

      that final question of yours is a really interesting one… i think that’s pretty common. there’s a general fatigue. the thing is that EVERYONE probably experiences that with their career path…it’s just that with fashion, you’re expected to be invested and love it your whole life. (unrealistic) what is realistic is taking a break and coming back to it..

      • sarahsparkle

        In my experience, turning your passion/artform into a career can be both extremely fulfilling and extremely exhausting. Having your creativity have to fit within certain guidelines, done by certain deadlines for too long can make you start to resent it and it can suppress your need to creatively express yourself on your own terms. The fashion industry is extremely demanding when it comes to time schedules, and once you lose that spark, that passion…. well then it just drains the life out of you.

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  • Beatrice

    This is a great feature! I love the photos she included. Nice to see that, while we haven’t all met Mick Jagger, we DID all experience shin-length athletic socks during childhood.

    • Amelia Diamond


  • o0o0oh! More 5 Top Fives! More 5 Top Fives! In reference to #2 in the career advice: I have a couple friends looking to switch careers and not sure what that switch should be. I told them to go on indeed.com and select a location and an amount of $ they would be comfortable living off of and see what is available or intriguing. Haven’t gotten any feedback yet if that was amazing or terrible advice. Will keep you posted.

    • Amelia Diamond

      love to know you guys are into this 5 top fives thing! and plz do keep us posted, naturally.

  • Jackie

    Looove this. Great idea for a feature!

  • She’s like my dream future self. Successful, knowledgeable, and with a beautiful simple style that says something. I love it! Great feature, keep it up.


  • Rachel

    Wait! Come back fashionable England-dweller! I have a question! I’m traveling to London at the end of October and would love to pack my Dubarry boots (so warm, so comfy, so waterproof) for beep-bopping around London! Can I get away with them with skinny black pants in the city? Or will I look silly?

  • #3 and #4 Aint that the truth!!!!!!! Great read

  • I once found this piece, found it incredibly inspiring and forgot to save it. Since I’m starting a new career beginning tomorrow, I remembered this and spent 15 minutes searching through the archives for it – totally worth it

    xo http://www.stylefile.in