The Literary Gentleman

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I really enjoyed writing Fine Art, (which, wow, was already a full year ago) so I have been thinking about doing another. We’ll call this a spin-off.

As it turns out, matching style to literary eras, is a lot trickier than art. Art comes with colors and shapes and things you see in clothing. Literature…does not. So the resulting piece is a little bit about the style of the , a little bit about the style of the writing, and a little bit about the flavor of the authors…I hope.

The Lost Generation – World War I 

The most recent of the three eras I’m going to touch on, the Lost Generation is marked by notable figures like Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, and T.S. Eliot. The phrase supposedly comes from Gertrude Stein telling Hemingway the following, “That is what you are. That’s what you all are … all of you young people who served in the war. You are a lost generation.”

Wartime and the experiences there are fundamental to the Lost Generation aesthetic, as is the rejection of wealth. Think Great Gatsby – the moral, not the man.

Wear: Tight Short-Sleeved Button-ups, Suspenders, Khakis, Cuffed Jeans, and Coats with Sheepskin Collars.

Lit Gent

The Victorian Era – 1837-1901

Ah, the fin de siècle, what a wonderfully weird time in literature and history. Now, we often think of the Victorian Era as very buttoned-up, conservative, and proper, but oh hoho, is that ignoring so much of what was churning below. One of my favorite classes in Uni was called Fin de Siècle: Decadence and Degeneration. That should tell you something. While the visible culture was often quite proper, monsters, faeries, murderers, and debauchery were increasingly popular in books and entertainment.

Wear: Deep Blues and Purples, Crisp Button-ups, Tall-Collared Coats, Subtle Mixed Patterns

litgent

The Romantics – approx. 1770 – 1848

Right up front, we should address the fact that the Romantic Period is my favorite literary period, partly due to my overwhelming love for John Keats. (How many times can I legitimately mention Keats on a fashion blog? We shall see).

The Romantics are in part a rejection of the Industrial Revolution, embracing nature and individuality in a rapidly changing Europe. They were introspective, restless, and extremely emotive writers. They ranged from the elderly William Wordsworth to the, uh, lusty Lord Byron, and their works span a myriad of subjects.

The Romantic’s love of aesthetic and the marrying of awe and horror, results in some of the most purple and rich language and messages informed by true emotion first and foremost.

Wear: Floral Prints, Pastels, Overly-large Wool Coats, Rumpled Suits, Disheveled Hair, Layers

Lit Gent1

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Blast from the Past

The Inspiration 

“I look just like Buddy Holly, Oh-oh and you’re Mary Tyler Moore” -Weezer

buddyholly

Buddy Holly was a musician and songwriter who pioneered a lot of many of the hallmarks of modern rock and pop music. Although Holly died in 1959 at only 22, he remains immortalized in numerous songs, movies, musicals, and books about his music and influence. Critic Bruce Eder described him as “the single most influential creative force in early rock and roll.”

The Modern Translation

Modern Buddy Holly

Style-wise Buddy Holly is the perfect embodiment of the late-50s good-guy rocker. He’s clean cut, well-kept, and charmingly genuine looking.

Tailored suits with floppy bow ties, shawl-neck cardigans, button-ups and ties, and knitwear tees are classic callbacks, that have a new life in modern fashion. Thick-rimmed glasses paired with any of these looks are the real kicker.

John Mayer is known as almost anything but a “good-guy” rocker, but his outfit at the (otherwise dull) 2015 Grammy Awards invoked classic Holly. The blue jacket, glasses, well-coiffed hair, and pink guitar were down right swoon-worthy. Especially the pink guitar.

While John Mayer may have nailed the look this time, check out consistently Holly-esque looks on New Zealand musician Willy Moon.

The Inspiration

“‘Cause you got that James Dean daydream look in your eyes.” -Taylor Swift

James Dean

James Dean was an actor that turned into a bonafide icon. He is the poster child for teenage angst and rebelling without a cause. Like Holly, Dean died young in a tragic crash. He was only 24 in 1955 and, again like Holly, has been immortalized in film, biographies, and as the bad boy of everyone’s dreams.

The Modern Translation

Modern James Dean

James Dean is angst and apathy embodied. He’s a little bit dangerous, does what he wants, and is somehow above judgement and vain.

Moto-style black leather jackets, tight white t-shirts, slim black jeans, and sunglasses make up the modern James Dean look. Largely monochrome, or at least neutral, this guy would blend in if he didn’t exude so much cool. While James Dean’s hair was usually pretty done, as per the era, the modern version can either be a slick pompodour or disheveled and a little longer.

Jamie Campbell-Bower owns the pretty, bad boy that couldn’t care if his shirt has holes in it or not, but if you are looking for the whole James-Dean-reincarnated experience, check out Milo Ventimiglia as Jess Mariano in Gilmore Girls. He’s got the outfits, hair, and angst in droves.

The Best Part of Holiday Dinners is the Dressing

It’s that time of year where no matter where you are or what religion you do or do not observe, you will probably be participating in some sort of holiday dinner or celebration. If you are in the US, you’ve already had one this season.

Now, I’ll admit, my family is pretty casual when it comes to our holiday outfits, but it is always nice to dress up a little bit. Here are a few options for your holiday fest.

If you are a formal crew, or your mom makes you wear a jacket to family events, you can still mix it up. Different colors or patterns on your jacket make it a little more personal. You can switch out a tie for a pocket square, which keeps it formal, but not formal. Just make sure your shirt is crisp and everything is clean.

A Dressed Up Holiday

If you still want to look nice, but don’t want to go full suit, there are three basic go to’s: The Cardigan, The Blazer over a T-Shirt, and the Sweater.

A cardigan or blazer instantly dresses up a t-shirt, but are still comfortable. Also you probably already have one in your closet. A sweater is cozy and grown up and totally no fuss.

A Comfy Holiday

But, let’s be honest, there is one choice that stands above the rest. It walks the line of cozy and formal and it is hard to mess up.

What is this unicorn? It’s a button-down shirt under a sweater.

The Perfect Holiday

(Normally I crop pictures, but there was no way I was getting rid of those animal balloons)

If you don’t believe me, that this look is great for almost anyone, check out this testimonial:

Thoughts on Sweaters and shirts

Happy Holidays, whichever one you celebrate!