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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Hello, Professor

While we don’t condone any inappropriate behavior, I think we can all admit that there is something sexy about the professorial look. You can psychoanalyze that all you want, but we think it’s the clothes.

The academic look is basically composed of layers. This makes it great for creating a wardrobe because you can mix and match and even choose how formal you want the outfit to be.

Here are your puzzle parts and pieces:

A variety of button-ups in various shades and patterns. The most classic professorial looks are white, oxford blue, and thin blues and white stripes. Must be slim cut.

The Professor

A few basic cardigans in neutral colors. While I’m all for a variety of cardigans, all you really need are a black, grey, and maybe taupe. These are great toppers for button ups, and can even be layered under other jackets.

Slim-cut pullover sweaters for the same type of layering as cardigans. These are also great in rich jewel tones like hunter green, maroon, and navy. For more info see WAMSW’s Sweaters.

A waistcoat or two that look like they belong to three-piece suits. Waistcoats need to fit properly (aka close to the body) and can easily veer into cheap and sketchy if you aren’t careful. If it comes with a suit, or looks like it does, it won’t be a shiny, tacky mess.

Textured blazers. We’ve already written about tweed, a classic professor look, but any noticeable texture looks like old world money and knowledge. These are great over any combination of the previous tops.

Academia looks good

Every neutral shade of slacks available. Personally, I prefer flat-front, as pleated can easily go 90s, but you should figure out what you like best. Flat-front might be more likely to suit slim men. You can also mix in some dark-wash jeans and still keep it pretty academic.

Be sure to have a selection of ties, pocket squares, and leather accessories on hand to top off your outfit. Also consider scarves and maybe suspenders. Thick rimmed, curved bottom glasses are like icing on the cake for a professorial look. 

Create any combo with these and top it off with a little scruff and you are ready to bestow wisdom from your leather armchair in the library.

 

Preppy, not Fratty

This post is partially inspired by those delightful pastel suits we found for Easter, but also by the fact that it has been almost hot the last couple of days, meaning everyone’s wardrobe has changed. Around here that means a lot of bro-tanks and open shirts. I’m not a fan. I am, however, all for the preppy brights and youthful summer-wear, but make it look like you are taking the day off from your crew team, not your keg stands.

Community goes preppy

The three basic components of preppy are: color, plaid, and shorts.

You don’t have to do all of them at once, but we’ll break down the pros and cons of different combos.

Brights and plaids actually go great together because plaids are usually a combination of opposing colors and they are often bright. If you want to add another non-neutral article of clothing to your outfit, pick one that matches a color in the plaid. Also keep the plaid localized to one piece of clothing.

Preppy plaid Now shorts are something else we’ve talked about before because it can be really tricky to get the right length. The goal is to hit right above the kneecap. A little shorter is actually preppier, but if you’re above by more than an inch or two, you’re in risky territory. Cuffs are also extra preppy and would allow you to switch up the length depending on your comfort and style.

Colored or plaid shorts are another quintessential preppy look, but again, be careful what you pair it with, so you don’t overwhelm your body. Muted colors, especially blue, and neutrals like khaki and olive are all good options. Jean shorts are questionable at best; see what else you can find.

Preppy shortsWarm weather really opens the door for more adventurous clothing, including classic preppy looks. Bonus preppy points for no socks. Negative points (although it is preppy/fratty) for popped collars. Now go forth and enjoy your yachting, or croquet game, or whatever preppy thing you have planned.

Oh, and if you are looking for a little extra Theo James, check out this video of him singing.

Easter Suits

As a little girl, one of my favorite parts of Easter was getting a new springy dress and I vaguely remember my brother often getting a new dress shirt or tie that was a little bit brighter or more colorful than usual. But shouldn’t you do the same now that you’re an adult? And why not really go for it and invest in a suit that says spring?

You could go for a pastel shirt (like those we talked about in Lightness of Spring) with one of your regular suits, but just this once go all out. It’s totally on trend.

Just like colored jeans get huge a couple of years ago, today we are seeing unexpected colors in everything. While some are better than others, we applaud this risk that has permeated the runways, if not the sidewalks just yet.

pastel easter suitsPastel suits are a preppy look, but need to fit perfectly to avoid veering into Dumb and Dumber territory. These are also a fairly seasonal look, so know that before investing too much. You can probably wear them throughout spring and summer and you will make an impact when you do. Coordinate your accessories with the same color in darker hues to keep the look more subtle, or take a risk and really stand out by donning the opposite color on the color wheel.

more neutral easter suitsIf you don’t think you would get enough wear out of a colored suit to make it worth your money, which is totally understandable, you can go for a more neutral option.

White suits, and the very, very light blue above, are also probably restricted to the spring/summer seasons, but they are perfect for any summer weddings or formal work retreats that you are planning on attending.

The light grey suit is a great option for any time of year, as is a brighter than navy blue suit. Punch up these suits with fun pops of bright color, like the pink on Idris Elba to make them springy and fun.

Whatever your choice, make sure you embrace this freedom from the winter darkness (which has its own perks, I’ll admit) and have fun with your wardrobe.