[Alternative Muses] Writerly Style: Françoise Sagan

“Fashions fade, style is eternal.”-Yves Saint Laurent

Françoise Sagan was the ultimate cool girl writer. If you believe that style should be effortless and detached, then she is your muse. Even today, a wardrobe like hers can take you almost anywhere, and anywhere it can’t you probably don’t want to go.


The writer looking brilliantly modern. Oh, that skirt! That shirt! That hair!

Her uncomplicated look remains fresh more than five decades later. Who needs nail varnish and lipstick when you can look like this? She is proof that decadent lives do not need visible gilding. Continue reading

[Alternative Muses] Writerly Style: Daphne du Maurier

“Vain trifles as they seem, clothes have, as they say, more important offices than to merely keep us warm. They change our view of the world and the world’s view of us.”-Virginia Woolf, Orlando

It is difficult to avoid peddling clichés when discussing Daphne du Maurier’s personal style: there’s just something so vigorously English about her look.

Daphne du Maurier

Daphne du Maurier

See what I mean? Her fresh-scrubbed bluntness still bewitches. Whatever the truth of her routine, she looks like a woman whose morning ablutions consisted of plunging her face into a cold stream, followed by a haphazard spritz of rose-water, mirror-less application of the perfect red lipstick, and a few deep breaths. Whether she spent the day at her typewriter or traipsing through fragrant fields with clever dogs gamboling at her heels, it’s obvious that she was sartorially prepared.


Daphne du Maurier and family

Daphne du Maurier and family

Check out that tweedy magnificence! Doesn’t it make you want to throw out all fussiness from your wardrobe, peel away the unnecessary layers of routine, to streamline, distill, simplify? That is one powerfully chic, easy, wearable silhouette. A put-it-on-and-forget-about-it-yet-look-better-than-everyone-else type of ensemble.

Daphne du Maurier at work

Daphne du Maurier at work

I don’t know many writers who look this crisply put together on the job, myself included. Yet, typewriter or no, she looks like a writer should look, doesn’t she? Serious, simply adorned, polished, comfortable. Ready to work, to create, to sweat it out, to answer an unexpected knock at the door without shame or a mad scramble for something suitable to wear. Every image of du Maurier seems to scream, “That, that was a woman who knew how to live.”



  • The Loving Spirit (1931)
  • Jamaica Inn (1936)
  • Rebecca (1938)
  • Frenchman’s Creek (1941)
  • Hungry Hill (1943)
  • My Cousin Rachel (1951)
  • Mary Anne (1954)
  • The Birds and Other Stories (1963)
  • Not After Midnight (1971)

“Writers should be read, but neither seen nor heard.”Daphne du Maurier