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As spring blooms, time to bone up on fashion

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By Janet Bennett Kelly
Thursday, March 21, 2013, 7:36 p.m.

Before spring blooms beckon us outdoors, prep for the new season with one new and two not-as-new titles on fashion and beauty. Photographer Kevin Davies paints a portrait of a fanciful milliner, fashion historian Elyssa Dimant analyzes the to-dos of women famous for their signature style, and Good Housekeeping editors offer ground rules about aging well.

• From the editors of Good Housekeeping, “7 Years Younger: The Revolutionary 7-Week Anti-Aging Plan” is a book chockablock with tips for improving skin texture, nutrition and state of mind. Some suggestions are familiar, but the impact of too much sugar in your diet and the ill effects of sitting more than six hours per day bear repeating. And the book is full of good ideas that may be new to you. Consider this: Okinawans limit their calorie intake by leaving the table when they're 80 percent full. $17.13 at

• Why diminish the good looks of your fashionable reading material with undistinguished bookends when you can support it with these Leaning Ladies? Made of sturdy stone resin, they illustrate the wisdom of the old saw about form and function. Set of two, $45 at National Museum of Women in the Arts shop, 1250 New York Ave. NW in Washington, D.C., or

• In “The Style Mentors” (Harper Design), Dimant dissects the dress of trendsetters past and present, including Marie Antoinette and Diana Vreeland. Particularly helpful is the way she points out ways readers can incorporate elements of their spirit and/or looks into theirs. Audrey Hepburn your fashion heartthrob? Go for little black dresses, capris and ballet flats. Prefer rocker Alison Mosshart of the Kills? Pair ripped jeans with gold, designer boots. Study up. $19.80 at

• Top fashion designers such as Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen have tapped the singular creations of British hatmaker Philip Treacy, for whom greenhouses filled with exotic tropical plants are inspiration. He's likely on speed dial for the Duchess of Cambridge and other royal family members' custom-made fascinators. In “Philip Treacy by Kevin Davies” (Phaidon), the author accompanies the almost 200 photographs with anecdotes about this mad hatter's imagination and complex craftsmanship. $37.77 at

Janet Bennett Kelly is a writer for The Washington Post.

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