Category Archives: Literary Looks

Literary Look: Jane Eyre

My Description:

Jane Eyre wasn’t totally my favorite book – it took me a while to read because I found the parts without Rochester in it a bit dull – but I have to admit, I really liked Jane. Despite the plot sort of trudging along, I really respected her sense of self-worth, independence, and her intelligence. Here, I made an outfit that plays up her “plainness” with the beige tones and sort of frumpy sweater but still shows off her feminine side with the cute but modest skirt. The matching oxfords add a bit of a smart edge to the look, and the bun, carefully arranged with wispy pieces falling down, show her conscientious attitude but her softness toward others.

From the Book:

“Bessie, when she heard this narrative, sighed and said, “Poor Miss Jane is to be pitied, too, Abbot.”

“Yes,” responded Abbot, “if she were a nice, pretty child, one might compassionate her forlornness; but one really cannot care for such a little toad as that.”

“Not a great deal, to be sure,” agreed Bessie: “at any rate a beauty like Miss Georgiana would be more moving in the same condition.”

“Yes, I doat on Miss Georgiana!” cried the fervent Abbot. “Little darling! – with her long curls and her blue eyes, and such a sweet colour as she has; just as if she were painted!”

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë


Literary Look: Hamlet

My description:

Hamlet is generally speaking a very dark, brooding character, who is constantly soliloquizing about  the essence of life, and what the point of it is. He’s also either crazy or crazy enough to pretend to be crazy, so I wanted to have a sense of discord in this outfit. That’s why the shirt is soft and feminine, paired with leather leggings and some shoes that could murder a uncle-turned-step-father. The skull necklace is an obvious connection since the iconic image of Hamlet always includes him speaking to the skull.

From the book:

“’Cannot you tell that? Every fool can tell that. It was the very day that young Hamlet was born, he that is mad and sent into England.’
‘Ay, marry, why was he sent into England?’
‘Why, because he was mad. He shall recover his wits there, or, if he do not, it’s no great matter there.’
”Twill not be seen in him there. There the men are as mad as he.'”

Literary Look: A Clockwork Orange

My description:

Because of the first person narration in this novel, there isn’t much description of what people wear and how they look. However, I always imagine dystopian-type novels to have characters walking around in jumpsuits – I don’t know why. It just seems sort of futuristic and industrial to me. The main character, Alex, and his droogs are cool and young, so this jumpsuit would be a cooler version of the ones that the adults or workers might be wearing at the time.

After that, I took inspiration from the iconic cover more than the actual text. I included a bowler hat like the one on the cover, but orange, rather than black, to add a pop of color. I also imagined curly, unruly hair and some serious heels that look like they might do a lot of damage in a fight. And I would be remiss to not include some dramatic eye make up, which is one of the most iconic images from this novel.

Picture taken by Simon Zirkunow, cover art designed by David Pelham.
Picture taken by Simon Zirkunow, cover art designed by David Pelham.

From the book:

Here is an image of the iconic cover of this book. Here’s a snippet of some of the text: “If he can only perform good or only perform evil, then he is a clockwork orange—meaning that he has the appearance of an organism lovely with colour and juice but is in fact only a clockwork toy to be wound up by God or the Devil.”

Literary Look: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

My description:

The iconic moment in James Joyce’s novel in which Stephen sees the “bird” girl at the beach with her skirt tucked up has always reminded me of these fashionable tiered lace shorts. She is a symbol of the feminine in a sexually stifled and repressed society, so she would, in modern day, have a high-necked shirt to offset the bare legs, and I chose this blue to represent the “slate blue” skirts she had tucked and bundled around her. In the description, Stephen notices emerald seaweed that is clinging to her leg, so I added a bright green sandal, and pretty leaf earrings with both blue and green in them to combine the colors in this outfit. Her hair would be messy from the salty wind, but prettily put up.

From the book:

“A girl stood before him in midstream, alone and still, gazing out to sea. She seemed like one whom magic had changed into the likeness of a strange and beautiful seabird. Her long slender bare legs were delicate as a crane’s and pure save where an emerald trail of seaweed had fashioned itself as a sign upon the flesh. Her thighs, fuller and soft-hued as ivory, were bared almost to the hips, where the white fringes of her drawers were like feathering of soft white down. Her slate-blue skirts were kilted boldly about her waist and dovetailed behind her. Her bosom was as a bird’s, soft and slight, slight and soft as the breast of some dark-plumaged dove. But her long fair hair was girlish: and girlish, and touched with the wonder of mortal beauty, her face.”

Literary Look: Catcher in the Rye

My description:

Holden – if he were a girl today – would definitely still have his iconic red hat. He would want to seem brooding and tough, so a leather jacket would give him that vibe. Of course he would conform to skinny jeans – so phony – so he might rock these boyfriend jeans, which are a little more off-beat. I gave him some black high top Chucks because he is a kid after all, and would still have his sneakers.

From the book:

“I put on this hat that I’d bought in New York that morning. It was this red hunting hat, with one of those very, very long peaks. I saw it in the window of this sports store when we got out of the subway, just after I noticed I’d lost all the goddam foils. It only cost me a buck. The way I wore it, I swung the old peak way around to the back—very corny, I’ll admit, but I liked it that way. I looked good in it that way.”