(Image from BBC production of I Capture the Castle, courtesy of reelingreviews.com)
Us fashion bloggers are a funny bunch, aren't we? I suspect that beneath our stylish facades, hardcore bookworms and closet novelists are lurking. Why else would we spend so much time carefully crafting regular posts for the enjoyment of our web audiences? We receive the instant gratification of publishing our navel-gazing words and having a ready audience consume them.
Evidently, though, some fashion smarts snuck in amongst all that reading and writing as if by osmosis. Tastes were formed during formative years. I was reminded of that when I read through What Claudia Wore and recalled how I lingered over the details of the BSC girls' outfits when I was 8. I still own a Super Special where the BSC goes to New York; there was one chapter that described the contents of all their suitcases as they were packing for the trip that delighted me.
As I thought about fashion and children's literature (especially children's literature targeted toward girls) a bit more, I realized there were lots of memorable fashion moments in what I read as a kid that I still recall and love:
- Anne of Green Gables: Anne gets her first pretty dress with puffed sleeves after much obsessing. She and Diana get ready for the White Sands recital in the east gable room, deliberating over whether to wear the pearl beads Matthew bought her.
- Little Women: Screw the moral lesson associated with the "Meg Goes to Vanity Fair" chapter. I just loved the makeover aspect of it all.
- Sweet Valley High and BSC books: All those outfit details were a feast for the imagination.
- Eyewitness books: The Eyewitness history books had amazing photos of historic costumes and jewelry from Rome, Egypt, China, and medieval times. I drank it all in.
- Seventeen magazine: I subscribed at the age of 11 and didn't quit until I graduated from high school--only to move on to Cosmo, Glamour, InStyle, Marie Claire, and so on.
- Archie comics: To this day, Archie comics remain my greatest source of insight into 1950s vintage fashion. Sad, no?
- I Capture the Castle: Okay, I confess I read this when I was 19, so I guess it doesn't really count. It was the perfect book for a mellow rainy afternoon. I felt Rose and Cassandra's pain as they tried to make do with skimpy wardrobes and craved the smart little black dresses of city women.