• Welcome to our newest affiliate vendor, Passus Shoes. We are very happy to welcome our newest affiliate vendor, Passus Shoes. Passus shoes was founded by long term members of the forum and veterans of the shoes business. and is dedicated to crafting fine shoes in Budapest in a time honored tradition. Please help me give them a warm welcome in their new affiliate vendor thread.
  • STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

    Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

    Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

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

chorse123

Stylish Dinosaur
Joined
Nov 5, 2004
Messages
10,448
Reaction score
75
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?
 

LabelKing

Stylish Dinosaur
Joined
May 24, 2002
Messages
25,743
Reaction score
252
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.
 

Ed13

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2004
Messages
233
Reaction score
15
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.
 

mack11211

Distinguished Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2004
Messages
6,499
Reaction score
84
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.
 

Patrick Bateman

Distinguished Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2004
Messages
1,099
Reaction score
1
May I humbly suggest American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis?
 

Huntsman

Distinguished Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2004
Messages
7,827
Reaction score
651
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
 

modsquad

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2004
Messages
311
Reaction score
0
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.
 

Lucky Strike

Distinguished Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2006
Messages
3,458
Reaction score
27
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)

"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."
 

justlurkingthanks

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2004
Messages
179
Reaction score
0
Of course, Tom Wolfe, whose Bonfire of the Vanities used clothing and brands as signifiers.
 

Baron

Distinguished Member
Dubiously Honored
Joined
Oct 5, 2004
Messages
7,821
Reaction score
2,507
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.
 

Lucky Strike

Distinguished Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2006
Messages
3,458
Reaction score
27
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.
 

Lucky Strike

Distinguished Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2006
Messages
3,458
Reaction score
27
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.
 

Verb

Active Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2006
Messages
30
Reaction score
0
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.
 

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by

Featured Sponsor

How do you feel about spending money on non-essential goods during the Covid-19 crisis?

  • I don't want to spend money at a time of economic uncertainty, even if I could afford it.

  • I feel compelled to spend to help small businesses that are struggling.

  • I reduced my budget for non-essential goods and I'm not spending at the moment.

  • Not much has changed for me and I'm still buying stuff I can't afford.


Results are only viewable after voting.

Related Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
438,289
Messages
9,442,714
Members
197,849
Latest member
yxuhog
Top