Emily's Reads

‘Tales from the Back Row:’ Inside an Outsider’s Fashion Perspective


Tales From Back Row Amy Odell

No holds barred. Odell provides great access inside the fashion industry.

Since I graduated college, I started catching up on books and TV shows I’ve always wanted to see and read. (Insert importance of pop culture spiel here.) One of the first books I read was “Tales From The Back Row” by Amy Odell, which I read right out of school in January, but it’s taken a while to create (and publish) the post.

Why did I start with this? Well, Cosmopolitan is everything and Odell works for Cosmopolitan.com, which coincidentally is where I first read about the book. Second, I love fashion, and an outsider’s perspective is always welcome in my book, especially an outsider from Texas who moved to NYC. That’s GOALS right there. Third, Two words: KICKASS #GIRLBOSS.

I got the book for my birthday and started reading it because the book appealed to my instincts. Why you ask? Because I wanted to start a fashion blog and figure out how to launch a career in fashion, and I learned there’s plenty of ways to do that. I also learned that the industry is not comprised of the glamour we make it out to be.

I had read “Leave Your Mark” by Aliza Licht in the fall (which I recommend by the way), where I learned about fashion PR so I wanted to know about the other side: journalism and blogging, and Odell did not disappoint. Her tone matched her views and insights perfectly. And her personal anecdotes were relatable. I was screaming “me too” and highlighting away when she talked about her discomfort trying to be a street style star as well as trying to brand and promote herself. It’s hard and I don’t like it because it almost makes you feel like an imposter or like one of those people you really dislike, so I get it.

Odell breaks her book into sections discussing bloggers, trendsetters, designers, celebrities, editors, models, everyone else, and you and me. She starts each section with an anecdote she refers back to throughout the story. Often she tells more than one. They involve mistakes, faking it till you make it, job interviews that went well or that didn’t, and more.

The book was anecdotal, and because of that it was wonderful. You can always benefit from reading about others’ experiences, especially when you are interested in the subject as a career. Although, I’m not sure I want to go into fashion journalism, I would love to go into fashion public relations, and I would love to work for a place like Hearst. Odell’s “Tales From The Back Row” gave me insight into all of that.

Would I recommend the book? Absolutely. It’s perfect for people on both sides of the fashion industry, or for those who just love fashion and don’t want a career in it. It’s hilarious. It’s relatable. And it’s truthful and insightful. I loved it.

Want the book? I always buy things on Amazon. You can find “Tales from the Back Row” here. And, no, I don’t get money from the sale or for the review. I just really like the book.

Emily’s Reads:

I love books; I love reading. But, more importantly, I love the power the written word has. GOAL: I will post at least one of these a month. After all, it is a series. Come back the first Wednesday of the month, and I’ll have another one for you. Cheers! Happy Reading!

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