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Legendary Authors and the Clothes They Wore

About the Book

Discover the signature sartorial and literary style of fifty men and women of letters, including Maya Angelou; Truman Capote; Colette; Bret Easton Ellis; Allen Ginsberg; Patti Smith; Karl Ove Knausgaard; and David Foster Wallace; in this unique compendium of profiles—packed with eighty black-and-white photographs, excerpts, quotes, and fast facts—that illuminates their impact on modern fashion.

Whether it’s Zadie Smith’s exotic turban, James Joyce’s wire-framed glasses, or Samuel Beckett’s Wallabees, a writer’s attire often reflects the creative and spiritual essence of his or her work. As a non-linear sensibility has come to dominate modern style, curious trendsetters have increasingly found a stimulating muse in writers—many, like Joan Didion, whose personal aesthetic is distinctly "out of fashion." For decades, Didion has used her work, both her journalism and experimental fiction, as a mirror to reflect her innermost emotions and ideas—an originality that has inspired Millennials, resonated with a new generation of fashion designers and cultural tastemakers, and made Didion, in her eighties, the face of Celine in 2015.

Legendary Authors and the Clothes They Wore examines fifty revered writers—among them Samuel Beckett; Quentin Crisp; Simone de Beauvoir; T.S. Eliot; F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald; Malcolm Gladwell; Donna Tartt; John Updike; Oscar Wilde; and Tom Wolfe—whose work and way of dress bears an idiosyncratic stamp influencing culture today. Terry Newman combines illuminating anecdotes about authors and their work, archival photography, first-person quotations from each writer and current designers, little-known facts, and clothing-oriented excerpts that exemplify their original writing style.

Each entry spotlights an author and a signature wardrobe moment that expresses his or her persona, and reveals how it influences the fashion world today. Newman explores how the particular item of clothing or style has contributed to fashion’s lingua franca—delving deeper to appraise its historical trajectory and distinctive effect. Legendary Authors and the Clothes They Wore is an invaluable and engaging look at the writers we love—and why we love what they wear—that is sure to captivate lovers of great literature and sophisticated fashion.

Educator and Librarian Resources

Critical Praise

One of Spring 2017’s Top Ten Art, Architecture & Photography Books —Publishers Weekly, Dec. 12, 2016 Issue

“The book includes beautiful photographs, witty text and a passage from each writer’s work. Cover model Joan Didion is my style icon.” —Baltimore Style Magazine

“In this unique examination of legendary authors and their personal style, Newman provides rare intimacy with the likes of Beckett, Plath, Wilde, Donna Tartt and even Jacqueline Susann through anecdotes, archival photos, quotations and more.” —Indulge Magazine

“A testament to the notion that reading and writing never go out of style, this beautifully designed book is sure to captivate lovers of fine literature and dedicated followers of fashion.” —The Entertainment Report

“.… Newman’s book should be a coffee table regular. It’s a conversation starter for anyone who enjoys both the fashion and literary worlds…. [Newman] provides thoughtful analyses on authors such as Samuel Beckett, George Sand, Oscar Wilde, Hunter S. Thompson, Joan Didion and Maya Angelou.” —TransAtlantic Mode

“I cannot put this book down; it is absolute joy. I have laughed out loud so many times and there are photos of my favourite authors I’ve never seen before. Highly recommended.” —Lulu Guinness, Instagram, June 2017

“Terry Newman unpacks the stylish side of writers like Oscar Wilde, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and Zadie Smith, showing how their work and wardrobes have influenced each other.” —Fashion Online

“Fascinating…. Great idea by Terry Newman” —Alexandra Shulman, Former Editor in Chief of British Vogue

Legendary Authors and the Clothes They Wore is an invaluable and engaging look at the writers we love—and why we love what they wear—that is sure to captivate lovers of great literature and sophisticated fashion.” —Pop Culture Guy

“The most counterintuitive book of the summer those far…. [Newman’s] surprisingly convincing thesis is that the sartorial choices authors make are deeply connected to the narrative choices they make — or, as Beckett put it, ‘the fabric of language’ they use.” —Vanessa Friedman, the New York Times

“The style quirks of 49 authors, from…writers like Virginia Woolf and the Fitzgeralds to Samuel Beckett and Gay Talese (who has worn bespoke suits since childhood).” —New York Magazine, The Cut

“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. In Legendary Authors and the Clothes They Wore, you’ll meet legendary authors who wore their hearts and words on their sleeves.” —

“Newman explores the fascinating relationship between literary icons and fashion. She profiles 50 writers in her new book, examining their style choices in the greater context of their lives and bodies of work.” —Paste Magazine

“ …makes a good case for studying authors’ sartorial choices…a chance to discover whose understated ensemble matches their minimalist prose, or who dressed-down on the daily, saving their flair for the page.” —Los Angeles Times

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062428301
  • ISBN 10: 0062428306
  • Imprint: Harper Design
  • On Sale: 06/27/2017
  • Pages: 208
  • List Price: 36.99 CAD
  • BISAC1: DESIGN / Fashion & Accessories
  • BISAC2: SOCIAL SCIENCE / Popular Culture
  • BISAC3: PHOTOGRAPHY / Subjects & Themes / Fashion

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