The Most Fashionable Book Characters

Posted by Sarah Fox

We don’t know about you, but we have been anxiously awaiting New York Fashion Week to see the latest style trends. Alas, it is months away in September. In order to tide us over, we have compiled a list of our favorite fashion-forward book characters.


The Wife of Bath from The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Wife of Bath is the original fashion plate. The woman wears clothing from the best tailors, including scarlet stockings (this is the equivalent of wearing shoes with red soles nowadays—very chic and expensive). She also rocked the gap in the front teeth before Madonna made it trendy. It is no wonder she has been able to obtain so many husbands.


Lily Bart from The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

You know you are dedicated to the cause of fashion when it pretty much bankrupts you. Lily Bart keeps buying expensive clothing and indulges in a decadent lifestyle to keep up with her peers. In many ways, she is successful: she is considered beautiful and is courted by many men. Unfortunately, there is a high price for fashion and fun: she swindles away all her money and has to become milliner. Sadly she finds out that just because you are good at wearing fancy hats, doesn’t mean you will excel at making them. Spoiler alert: things don’t end well for her.


Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Jay Gatsby is most definitely winning when it comes to fashion. When a woman breaks down in tears because you have so many beautiful shirts, you know you have made it sartorially. When it is the woman you have been trying to impress for years, you just have made it in general. Not only does he woo the ladies with his style, but he also inspires everyone else to put their best designer-clad foot forward. You cannot help but dress to the nines for one of his swinging parties.


Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

Holly Golightly just made breakfast a fashion event; she eats her food in front of the Tiffany’s window, gazing at the sparkling jewelry. Before you dismiss her as someone who just admires fashion from a distance, the girl is definitely wearing it. Her wealthy male guests give her lots of expensive gifts and money, so she always looks like she stepped out of an issue of Vogue. Let’s face it: if Audrey Hepburn plays you in a film, you are glamorous and elegant. 


All the characters from Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar

Okay, there are so many fashion brands named throughout these books that you would think the author is getting paid for product placement.  The worst part of it is that the designer items are owned by high school students. And not just by one or two teenagers. Pretty much all of them. As you read these books on the train to your job, you may read a line about a character throwing an expensive purse (that costs four of your paychecks) aside as if it were a plastic bag from Walmart. This may cause you to seethe with rage. Yes, fashion can be wasted on the young. 

Sarah Fox

Sarah Fox

Sarah Fox is an editor, writer, writing consultant, and pop culture enthusiast. Besides regularly contributing to Quirk Books’ blog, she has published an edition of William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure. She lives in Washington D.C. with her husband and Pembroke Welsh Corgi. You can find her online at