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Writing (fiction and non-fiction) on Clothes, Fashion, Style

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I'm hoping you guys can help me out. I'm doing some research on the literature (fiction and non-fiction) of clothing, fashion, and style. We had a great thread about this I think, but I can't seem to find it. What is the best? What stands out? I'm looking from Shakespeare to Sex & The City, predominently on women's fashion, but also on menswear (Gatsby, Wolfe, etc). Thoughts? What would you consider the best? What's the most fun?
post #2 of 24
The decadent writers did put a lot of discussion into descriptions of clothing. As well, I've noticed Raymond Chandler stresses clothing as well, calling pocket squares a display handkerchief. Of course, there are a fair number of reference tomes on haute couture and its designers, from Chanel to Pierre Balmain to YSL to Charles James.
post #3 of 24
Baudelaire, of course.
post #4 of 24
If you are looking for something similar to Gatsby you could try Mr Britling Sees it Through by HG Wells. Written around 1916, it has a section that compares American dress with perceived and actual English country gentleman attire. An interesting novel to read with the historical context of WW1.
post #5 of 24
Dreiser in SISTER CARRIE has some great passages about the emotional experience of shopping, especially in department stores. Greil Marcus even quotes him in LIPSTICK TRACES.
post #6 of 24
May I humbly suggest American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis?
post #7 of 24
In Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe series, the sidekick character, Archie Goodwin, places great emphasis on clients' clothing, often judging them on it, and he is a noted clotheshorse. This would probably be in the fun category, rather than those with studious attention to clothes like Wolfe (Tom, that is). A quote I remember, describing a client in a "suit of quiet brown with a faint tan stripe, light tan shirt and green challis four in hand." Regards, Huntsman
post #8 of 24
The characters in Balzac's Lost Illusions - young men on the make, every one of them - are obsessed with clothing. The cut of a coat can make or break one in boulevard society, they always buy something new for important evenings, and they are, in the grand tradition, perpetually in debt to their tailors. Brideshead Revisited has a nice passage contrasting the chocolate brown striped suit and suede shoes of the dandy Anthony Blunt (I think that's his name) with the rough tweeds and brogues worn by the other college men, scions of country gentlemen. I'll bet Franny and Zooey has some pointed passages about mens clothing.
post #9 of 24
It's Anthony B-B-B-Blanche. There are several theories as to who the actual model for the figure was, but Harold Acton seems to be in the lead.



Edit:

From: http://www.abbotshill.freeserve.co.u...htm#Brideshead

EVELYN WAUGH AND BRIAN HOWARD
Robert Murray Davis (University of Oklahoma)

Quote:
"In A Little Learning, Evelyn Waugh announced that "the characters in my novels often wrongly identified with Harold Acton were to a great extent drawn from" Brian Howard, another would-be arbiter of society and art at Oxford and later in London (...). With the publication of Brian Howard: Portrait of a Failure, edited by Marie-Jacqueline Lancaster (...), Waugh's readers can now appreciate the extent to which Johnnie Hoop of Vile Bodies as well as Ambrose Silk of Put Out More Flags and "Basil Seal Rides Again" and Anthony Blanche of Brideshead Revisited were caricatures or portraits of Howard.

Because Howard was an inveterate social climber and self-styled leader of the Bright Young People, Waugh's first cut at him as Johnnie Hoop must have been felt most deeply. Hoop and Archie Schwert, another climber, are taken in by Adam's hoax in his "Mr. Chatterbox" column about block suede evening shoes, and Hoop's mother, like her son athirst for modernity and elegance, is one of those drawn to the tube station mentioned in the column as a fashionable literary haunt."
post #10 of 24
Of course, Tom Wolfe, whose Bonfire of the Vanities used clothing and brands as signifiers.
post #11 of 24
Kyril Bonfiglioli wrote a series of crime books featuring the semi-autobiographical figure Charlie Mortdecai that have a lot of clever passages pertaining to style.
post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baron
Kyril Bonfiglioli wrote a series of crime books featuring the semi-autobiographical figure Charlie Mortdecai that have a lot of clever passages pertaining to style.

Just read them over Christmas - great fun. Something between Wodehouse, Waugh and Fleming.

Wodehouse, of course, can also be very good in describing dress and style. He's also very quotable, I have found.
post #13 of 24
Ah, just forgot - John O'Hara for the Trad. And Waugh's Vile Bodies and Scoop are possibly even better at dress descriptions - and far funnier - than Brideshead.
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Bateman
May I humbly suggest American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis?

May I also suggest Glamorama? (Which is all about the fashion industry)

Jon.
post #15 of 24
I read alot of F. Scott Fitzgerald and he always tends to embellish both clothing and poise, as well as the way they affect each other. Specifically, This Side of Paradise analyzes the 1920's college student very articulately.
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