Looks from books II
By Kasia Hastings, 3 March 2016
Long before fashion filled the pages of glossy magazines, the most lit looks were often found in some of our most beloved books. Back in autumn we delved into a few of our favourite works of fiction for three prize-worthy outfits but with spring now in our sights, we’re back at the books for another dose of literary sartorial inspiration
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
“The hunting cap prevented head colds. The voluminous tweed trousers were durable and permitted unusually free locomotion. Their pleats and nooks contained pockets of warm, stale air that soothed Ignatius.”
When you’re a lone ranger trudging through a world full of dunces (or New Orleans) you need a kit that is equal parts comfortable, eccentric and, in Ignatius J Reilly’s case, accidentally cool. While we don’t advise adopting this anti-hero’s satirically dark worldview, we are advocating his weatherproof outfit.
Absolute Beginners by Colin MacInnes
‘College-boy smooth crop hair with burned-in parting, neat white Italian rounded-collared shirt, short Roman jacket very tailored (two little vents, three buttons), no-turn-up narrow trousers with 17-inch bottoms absolute maximum, pointed toe shoes and a white mac lying folded by his side.’
Although this doesn’t sound like a description of your average adolescent, MacInnes perfectly pinpoints the birth of the ‘teenager’ and his young protagonists (including the narrator, Mr Cool, Dean Swift, the Fabulous Hoplite) were the absolute embodiment of cool early mod style. Swift’s 1950s getup still resonates sartorially today and this shirt, suit and lightweight parka will look as sharp on the streets of London today as it did in 1958.
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
‘It is the easiest thing in the world for a man to look as if he had a great secret in him.’
Surprisingly, Melville wasn’t big on outfit description but he did offer us this insight and we can only reasonably assume that the great secret relates to how to look good while on an insane mission to kill a whale. Large mammals aside, a nautical outfit is still a surefire way to make sartorial waves. We’re gonna need a bigger wardrobe.