Book Style: Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

I'm a pretty big, large, massive, gigantic, (do you get the picture yet?) fan of all things Douglas Adams/Hitchhikers Guide. So you may wonder why it's taken me so long to create a Book Style for the books. I really don't know, to be honest. In all fairness, the covers of the individual books are a little hard to work with. Even this The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which includes all five of the novels, gave me some palette conundrums. I also kept overdoing the space theme in all my previous efforts and ended up with something that only a really bad extra in a really campy '70s sci-fi film would wear. Nothing felt like it captured the spirit of the Guide. Nothing until now, that is. I kind of, in all my humble honesty, feel like I nailed it this time. 

It's important to remember that while set in space, the world of the Guide begins (at least) in the late '70s early '80s. A large chunk of Adams' aesthetic influence came from that era, so I decided to embrace it. This outfit may not be my most wearable creation for most people, but if you're into to whole '80s revival, classic hip-hop, retro roller derby thing, I think you'll dig it as much as I do! Let's start with some base layers - a "Petunia" thong (for the very important bowl of petunias) and some "Galaxy" tights. Next we have some Dolphin shorts (for the dolphins! duh!  - also dolphin shorts are a style of short, I swear), a rocket-embroidered top, and "Demolition Derby" jacket (for the demolition of Earth). A pair of retro-style high top sneakers anchors the outfit and were absolutely necessary to mimic the look of The Heart of Gold, which is sneaker shaped in the novels unlike the orb shaped one in the 2005 film. 

A terry cloth (for your towel!) purse has ample room for your Guide, and any sandwich making tools you may carry with you. I added a digital watch, because, according to Adams, humanity is a bit obsessed with them. A "Don't Panic" necklace (rather comforting words), a whale ring (not sure it's a sperm whale, but close enough), a "42" cuff (the ultimate answer), and some mouse earrings (sneaky little hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings projecting into our universe) complete the jewelry. Top everything off with this sparkling "Across the Universe" nail lacquer and head off to The Restaurant at the End of the Universe!


Book Style: Water For Elephants

Water For Elephants

When I asked my sister-in-law which book was her favorite, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen was the answer. I totally get why this period romantic fiction captured her attention and her heart. Gruen did a fantastic job of  evoking the mysterious glamour of the 1930s as well as the bleakness and desperation of life during the Great Depression. It's always hugely disorienting to me that these images are from the same year (1936) and same country (USA):

I wanted an outfit that I could see Marlena wearing in her downtime but that would also work in a more modern context. Luckily the bohemian glam aesthetic that I envision for an off-duty circus lady (who happens to be married to one of the big shots and is therefore just a little bit privileged and pampered) works very well for a festival worthy outfit. Or, if you're me, standard weekday wear. Some Big Top-esque stripes work well on these cotton trousers. I paired them with a "Marlena" camisole and a decadent kimono-style jacket (trĂ©s '30s chic) and "Queenie" flats. Marlena for protagonist Jacob's love interest and Queenie for Kinko/Walter's Jack Russell. I added an elephant cross-body bag because elephants are kind of an important thing in this book, in case the title didn't clue you in at all ;) Those eye catching horse hoop earrings are a nod to Marlena's talent/career and the "Ginger" ring is for poor Camel and all the tainted Jamaican Ginger he drank that left him helpless. The feather necklace is mostly because I like feathers and I can't picture a circus horse and stunt rider without copious amounts of feathers. Finally I added a bandeau style headband in Marlena's signature red satin. 


Book Style: Eating The Cheshire Cat

Eating The Cheshire Cat

Eating the Cheshire Cat by Helen Ellis is the first real YA I ever remember reading that wasn't a classic. It's also the first time I read a book review in a magazine and actively sought out the book in question. Before Eating the Cheshire Cat I'd never gone to a store looking for a specific title that wasn't either a) Nancy Drew or b) assigned school reading. As a result this novel, Helen Ellis' debut, truly was my introduction to the world of making my own reading choices and developing my own unique literary taste. I love this book is what I'm saying. It's got dark comedy blended with Southern Gothic themes. It's got real teenage girls struggling to mature in the extremely homogenized and image-centric South - something I was struggling with a lot when I first read it. I clearly remember being intrigued by the Wonderland reference in the title (Alice fangirl for life!) and it's crazy to me that this book only came out in 2001 because I feel like I read it before 11th grade, which clearly is inaccurate, but this book was so momentous to me that it seems like it's been part of my life for much longer. My little sister currently has possession of my coveted copy, long overdue since I spent a good few years trying to prevent her from reading it, convinced the more adult themes would be exposed to my mother and she would try and keep me from reading more realistic YA (which is pretty crazy when you consider that the same year I was assigned Ellen Foster and The Poisonwood Bible as school assignments...). And I am now going to stop blathering on about how much I adore this dark and twisted coming of age story and how life-changing/shaping it was for me because I will just keep on talking and we'll never actually get to the discussion about the Book Style and Brandi just stop talking just type a period and start a new paragraph come on you can do this...

This is a hard, I mean hard book to Book Style. That's why, besides it's apparent nearness and dearness to me, I haven't tackled it before now. You can thank my wonderful sister for the prompt. I wanted an outfit that I could see a young woman of good social standing in the South wearing, needed it to have at least some tie-in to the book (there's not a lot of blatant symbolism that would work), and I needed to match a neon green, orange and floral cover?! All in all, I'm pleased with the result. This maxi dress is way beyond my budget reality but I will now be actively looking for a suitable lookalike. I added a light cardigan on top in "Fire" because it matched the goldfish and it also ties in to the story's fiery conclusion. "Sarina Billy" slingback heels keep the look a little dressier while referencing one of three main characters, Sarina. The "Vendetta" purse also ties into the twisted relationship between Sarina and another main character, Bitty Jack. An axe ring and earrings are another nod to Sarina, her mother, and the shocking opening to Eating the Cheshire Cat where a (deliberately) drunk sixteen year old Sarina allows her mother to smash her crooked pinkie fingers with an axe so that they will be reset straight, thus eliminating her one physical imperfection. A "Roll Tide" necklace and an Alabama necklace reference the novel's setting. The "Southern Belle" lipstick, "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" nail lacquer should be pretty obvious references - it's a book about three Southern belles after all. I tossed in some cat-eyed sunglasses because I think sunglasses are a crucial part of any wardrobe and they're catty, just like Nicole (the third main character), Sarina, and Bitty Jack. 

I wholeheartedly endorse this novel. Just don't confuse Southern Gothic with goth. For that matter you probably shouldn't confuse Gothic with goth when it comes to literature, or you, like many disgruntled reviewers, will be confused and disappointed.