THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE WARDROBES AND VIEWPOINTS OF LEGENDARY WRITERS MAY NOT SEEM AT ALL OBVIOUS ON FIRST GLANCE, BUT RIFLE THROUGH THEIR DRAWERS, AND PERSONALITIES APPEAR AND EVOLVE.
When she was at Radcliffe, Gertrude Stein always wore black and refused to wear a corset. Samuel Beckett liked Wallabee boots and Aran sweaters and settled on his hairstyle when he was 17. Edith Sitwell bought furnishing fabrics and had them made into dresses. William Burroughs “branded himself” in a suit and tie. Zadie Smith is rarely photographed without her head wrap.
These are some of the telling details in “Legendary Authors and the Clothes They Wore”.
Authors can be a more authentic case study for understanding the sometimes subconscious connections between identity and image than any politician or celebrity — than anyone with a job that nominally requires regular public appearances and hence demands awareness of the tools of nonverbal communication. After all, they have no stylists, or even a nominal dress code.
A book by Terry Newman seamlessly root out symmetry between style of dress and style of writing, and bring to light the storied links between fashion and literature. After all, as Newman writes in the introduction, “the distinctive individuals included in this book are not just fabulous writers: they looked fabulous, too”.