Growing up, one of my favourite things about summer vacation was hitting up the local library and checking out as many books as I could jam into my backpack (shout-out to anyone who remembers being a VIP of this uber-exclusive club). There’s something about the arrival of summer weather that still revives my urge to voraciously read book after book under the shade of a backyard tree.
These days, my reading list is somewhat different (Pride & Prejudice’s civilities would’ve, no doubt, resulted in many eye rolls from my childhood self), as are the character details I find myself drawn to—specifically, WHAT WERE THEY WEARING? Scout Finch’s tomboy tendencies would have likely procured an excellent assortment of practical attire well suited to gallivanting around the Alabama backcountry. Surely Alice would’ve obtained a wardrobe as wild and whimsical as the Wonderland she found herself in. And Daisy Buchanan would have spared no expense in the sartorial department (she did have a serious meltdown over all those fine shirts, after all).
Of course, many of these iconic characters have already been imagined, and re-imagined, for the big screen in all their costumed glory. What is perhaps even more interesting than envisioning them as they appear in their natural habitats is to think about which style tribe they would be part of today. Are they Saint Laurent or Gucci girls? Offbeat in Mary Katrantzou or resplendent in Ralph Lauren? In fact, when you start imagining their current-day incarnations, it’s clear they’d be serious It girls. Take a look at our picks for how we’d style literature’s top leading ladies for the hot heat of summer sixteen.
Through the looking glass Alice goes, where she’ll end up, nobody knows…(except she does know because she literally JUST fell down a rabbit hole one book ago—get it together, Alice!)
Runway inspiration: Mary Katrantzou
Seeing as Alice is set to be dealing with the likes of Tweedledee and Tweedledum and spouting all kinds of Jabberwocky, a crazy cacophony of prints would certainly not go amiss.
Printed A line Dress by Glamorous Petite ($38, topshop.com)
Aamaya By Priyanka Bunny Saltwater Cultured Pearl Earrings ($261, shopbop.com)
The OG tomboy, Scout Finch is all about rough-housing with the boys and raising some hell in Maycomb county.
Runway inspiration: Saint Laurent
Fortunately for Scout, her affinity for overalls is perfectly in line with summer sixteen steez—throw on a slouchy tank, flowing kimono and pair of wellies and you have a look that is equal parts Saint Laurent and festival.
Madewell Adirondack Short Overalls in Delmar Wash ($110, madewell.com)
Among the upper crust of NYC society in the Gilded Age, the Countess Ellen Olenska is a true rarity: She left her husband, has a razor wit bent on flouting convention and dresses herself in glamorous European garb. Can you say girl crush?
Runway inspiration: Oscar de la Renta
ODLR is quintessential New York, although the spring collection had an undeniable European flair. Passionate shades of red mixed with exotic accessories is just the kind of combination a showstopper like the Countess would gravitate toward.
“Lolita” is the nickname tenderly imparted to Nabokov’s precocious heroine, who, at the brink of adolescence, is an alluring mix of girlish playfulness and womanly charms.
Runway inspiration: Gucci, Spring 2016
Gucci’s eclectic aesthetic seems like a perfect match for Lolita’s fanciful style—a dreamy mix of sparkles and sheer hearts and bows, rose-coloured glasses and bubble gum.
A residency in the stately Long Island mansions of the Roaring Twenties gives Daisy a predilection for the good things in life: champagne, jewels and, obviously, designer clothes.
Runway inspiration: Ralph Lauren
Wealth and water usually make for a fashionable combination, and the fictional villages of East and West Egg are rich with both. A contemporary nautical gown is ideally suited to the luxurious lifestyle of a former debutante, such as Daisy.
Cole Haan Knotted 9-10mm Freshwater Pearl & Logo Bead 50″ Necklace ($80, nordstromrack.com)
Dolce Vita Bailey Cork Wedge Sandal ($83, gilt.com)
Elizabeth may be virtuous, but the only moral compass she looks to is her own. Her tendency for doing the opposite of what is expected of her is what attracts the affections of the normally stoic Mr. Darcy, while also winning the admiration of readers everywhere.
Runway inspiration: Philosophy
As she is a true romantic, putting Elizabeth into a flowing, ruffled gown seems only natural. Sleek leather accessories lend an edge to this otherwise sweet outfit, much how her sharp tongue spices up her personality.