[Alternative Muses] Writerly Style: Margaret Wise Brown

“Over the years I have learned that what is important in a dress is the woman who is wearing it.”–Yves Saint-Laurent

Iconic children’s book author Margaret Wise Brown had style to match her writing: timeless, straightforward yet unique, and unforgettable.

The stripes and strong shoulders, though clearly from the 1940s, are streamlined, edgy, and relevant:

Margaret Wise Brown Writing

Her bouncy, easy-going hairstyle is impeccably modern, and is the perfect accompaniment to her sleek, minimally accessorized dress:

Margaret Wise Brown

 Some would say that a favorite doggo is the best “finishing touch” of all:

Margaret Wise Brown by Consuelo Kanaga, circa 1940-1950

It’s no secret that Margaret Wise Brown was very outdoorsy and active, a lifestyle which effortlessly merged with her sophisticated and relaxed dress sense. She’s wonderful inspiration for anyone who values style, practicality, and a dash of whimsy. 

[Alternative Muses] Writerly Style: Dressing Like a Work of Art with Djuna Barnes

“One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.”-Oscar Wilde

Our dear Djuna, who wasn’t always so dear, encompassed both of Wilde’s dictates.

Why wouldn’t she?

Djuna Barnes was not afraid to overstep the accepted boundaries of writing, art, behaviour, or fashion. She knew that, sometimes, too much wasn’t nearly enough.

Our favourite tetchy lady knew what she was doing. Here’s why.

Lessons in How to Dress, Djuna Barnes-style:

Tip #1-It’s okay to wear too many layers and accessories, as long as it is artfully done:

Djuna Barnes

Djuna, daring you to find her anything short of magnificent.

A lesser woman would be weighed down by all those layers and accessories, but not our Djuna. She looks resplendent. The open collar, delicate jewelry, and commandingly vibrant lipstick pull everything together.

Tip #2-The key to wearing a bold print is to conquer it by the pure force of your personality:

Djuna Barnes, circa 1921

Djuna Barnes taking charge of some giant dots,  circa 1921.

Clothes smell fear. If you’re scared to wear something, you probably shouldn’t. Otherwise, don it with the conviction that no one else on earth could ever pull it off like you can.

Surrounding a huge pattern with solids never hurts, either.

Tip #3-Shoes and Hats! Shoes and Hats!

Solita Solano and Djuna Barnes

Solita Solano and Djuna Barnes were exceptionally chic in Paris, 1922.

Shoes and hats are all you need to be stylish and memorable. It doesn’t matter if you are wearing a ball gown or a T-shirt dress, as long as you are shod and topped with wit or taste, or even creative vulgarity. Swap those gorgeous 1920s frocks for  modern minis and logo shirts, and Solita and Djuna would still look phenomenal.

Think about that.

Now go out there and face the world with confidence and a bit of writerly style!

[Alternative Muses] Writerly Style: Françoise Sagan

Re-posting in honor of the tenth anniversary of her death.

A Small Press Life

“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.

Sagan 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.

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