I often look to The Sartorialist's blog, or his images pinned onto Pinterest, when I'm searching for style inspiration. The elegant women and the kooky passers by either guide me in the right direction or just make me smile, but after seeing Scott Schuman outside Somerset House during LFW AW14, I felt, oh, just a little intimidated. However, after reading his new book, X, marking a decade since the launch of The Sartorialist blog, I almost feel as if I've been in conversation with him.  I've learned about cultures from around the world and have been given an insight into people's lives who I might never meet, all through the mediums of clothing and photography.


X is powerful in that way, there are striking images and the stories behind them, which will make you wonder about the individual lives in each image. There are children dressed in rags and pensioners drenched in gold, documenting the extremes of the world we live in, but with style in common. As Schuman explains, "Much of the world is poor, but this does not prohibit people from enjoying life, music, food, art, and yes, even fashion." X is not solely about style, it's about culture and society as a whole, with bold knitwear in Peru, men in Asia sat outside their homes and European grandmothers in their aprons, and of course, the glamorous industry insiders dashing between shows during fashion week.


Whether you're interested in womenswear, menswear or something undefined, there is inspiration in this book for you. In fact, Schuman suggests analysing the style of the opposite sex for some inspiration, such as the dapper gentlemen lunching in Florence, shot in pristine black and white. A great example of unisex dressing is on pages 338-339, displaying a man and a woman both styling a bold striped jumper in completely different ways, both appealing to anyone. Within X, there are also some wonderful examples of transgender dressing, with Yueh's story in particular staying in my mind. With Schuman's camera and Yueh's bravery, you realise how powerful dressing can be in someone's life.


Of course it's not just culture or how to dress, but X teaches you how to interpret this inspiration, no matter what your tools or budget. You don't have to wait on the streets of Milan or Paris with an expensive camera to document style inspiration, you can find it in everyday things and capture it with your phone. On the topic of Instagram, Schuman says "If the camera is my paintbrush, the iPhone is like a pencil" and suggests flipping a catwalk image upside down to notice the abstracts within a look such as wacky colour combinations, textures and patterns. This technique really helps you to see fashion as art and how to interpret these ideas into your own life.

Thank you to Penguin for sending me this book to review. The Sartorialist: X* is available now.