The Gloss recently asked me to do a piece offering fashion advice from some literary celebrities. I live to serve:
The world of fashion is can be troubling; are tea-length skirts ultra-fashionable, or do they just exist to make your calves look fat? Does a romper say “fun and free-spirited” or “I like to take 20 minutes to go to the bathroom?” Sometimes, the rules of fashion seem self-contradictory, and sometimes, it seems like people are just making things up. In that spirit, who better than a fictional character to answer these fanciful questions? Here, we turn to some of the leading ladies of the literary tradition for their takes on the stylish debacles we face every day.
Dear Literary Ladies, I’m going to have lunch with my ex this weekend and I need to wear something impressive- something guaranteed to win him back. Help! What should I do?
Lady Augusta Bracknell: (The Importance of Being Earnest)
There is nothing so vulgar in the world as the new fashion called “jeggings.” It is an abysmal state of affairs when a garment can be dishonest as well unattractive. A thorough abomination. Therefore, my dear, you simply have no choice but to wear them on your date. It is a well acknowledged fact that there is nothing so attractive to a man as a display of utter tastelessness. How else can you account for the popularity of that Kim Kardashio? Any half-way respectable man will always endeavor to earn the respect of his peers through the garishness of his wife’s clothes. Debase yourself you must, if you want to win him back, and what better way to do it then with deceitful elastic legwear? Then it is only natural to later use his credit card to reward yourself with a scandalously elegant hat.
Scarlett O’Hara: (Gone With the Wind) Take it from someone who’s had three husbands and all sorts of beaux: You don’t need to be beautiful to attract a man. I never claimed I was. In fact, it’s the God’s honest truth that I’m not. But you know what I do have? A dress that “set off to perfection the seventeen-inch waist, the smallest in three counties, and the tightly fitting basque showed breasts well matured for sixteen years.” So there you go. Cinch cinch cinch. If you want that man to fall in love, you find a dress that makes your waist look small and your breasts “well developed.” I’m inclined to favor a whalebone corset, but it seems that fashion today has adopted a ridiculous bias toward clothes that actually allow a woman to inhale. So I suppose a tight little leather belt around your dress will have to do. That and one of those “miracle bras.”
Miranda Priestly: (The Devil Wears Prada) Wear something with class. Like a scarf by Hermes. Silk. Not one of those knobbly woolen abominations. You’ll look like a cheap turkey with a thyroid problem. Wear that thing I saw that one time, at that show. If you want a man to love you, you have to dress like you deserve to be loved. And for God’s sakes don’t wear flats.