As the bloggers behind GoFugYourself.com, a site chronicling the hits and misses of celebrity fashion, and New York magazine's Fashion Week coverage, we know that clothes can say as much about the man or woman wearing them as any words ever could. So, when we sat down to write our novels, "Spoiled" and "Messy," we tried to style our girls accordingly: The protagonist Molly favors Converse and tank tops, for instance, because she's got bigger problems than wondering if her Tory Burch mini is too short. Conversely, her half-sister Brooke is likely to wear that exact mini to school, in part because she has great legs, but also because she loves both attention and expensive things. In the course of outfitting our characters, we often found ourselves staring across our desks at our bookshelves, and thinking about some of the best-dressed fictional characters from our own most well-worn books. Here are six of the most fashionable characters on our own shelves, in books ranging from great literature and classic beach reads to childhood favorites… to stuff we may have pilfered from our mothers’ stashes.
It is the mark of a truly well-dressed woman that she is capable of carrying off a gown made of curtains. Bonus points for fully embracing the DIY aesthetic back before "Project Runway" was even a glint in Harvey Weinstein’s eye.
Gatsby dresses the part of the dandy throughout Fitzgerald's novel, but it's his closet packed full of perfect shirts that provides one of the most memorable moments in the book. Sure, his shirts are about more than just being well-turned-out--just ask the countless students who've written essays about their symbolism--but just because
Anne Shirley's best friend may have lacked Anne's own rollicking imagination (and her tendency to get into scrapes), but what she was missing in joie de vivre she made up for in countless leg-o-mutton-sleeved frocks.
Even when we were kids, Claudia's outfits seemed… bizarre. She wore a lot of giant tunics and leggings and earrings shaped like sushi, and it wasn't until recently that we realized Claudia wasn't weird. She was just prescient. Seriously, there are at least four kids down at American Apparel who look exactly like her right now. So while Claudia's wardrobe might not go exactly to own personal tastes, you have to give the kid points for being a trendsetter.
Few writers use clothing as well as Edith Wharton does--Lily Bart could have made this list, if we hadn't misplaced our copy of "House of Mirth" after senior English--but few Wharton characters are as turned out as Olenska, whose clothes are consistently called "unconventional" but seem enviable to us. After all, wouldn’t you wear a diamond headdress to the opera, if you had one? Case closed.
Billy Winthrop Ikehorn Orsini Elliott
So Judith Krantz's "Scruples" series may never be taught in the same classroom as Wharton's works, but as great, trashy reads go, it is at the top of the pile --thanks in no small part to the amazingly over-the-top 80s fashions that, at the time, were the apex of all clothing fantasies. Billy WIOE (as we like to think of her) not only gives herself a triumphant makeover from a dowdy teen to a glamorous woman who strides around wearing fabulous capes and caftans, but she actually goes the extra mile and opens her own store so that other fictional women can be as stylish as she is. That's not just being a well-dressed fictional character, that's being a considerate one.