Intrigued by the trend of clothing stores using books as props, as noted by the Paris Review, and peeking into some of the most anticipated books of 2012, I thought it might be useful to provide a kind of style guide that could help readers match their outfits to their reading material. After all, no one wants to be caught on the train reading David Foster Wallace in an Armani suit (reeking of effort) or lounging at the coffee shop in sweatpants reading Joan Didion (too depressing).
The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus
The most important thing to keep in mind while preparing an outfit to go along with Ben Marcus’ new novel is that you are not a student at Columbia. Every student at Columbia has already read it, and why are you trying to impress twenty-year-olds anyway? That is gross. Find accessories that make you look older, like a super worn leather book bag (no totes, please), or a sweater that once belonged to your grandfather. Twenty-year-olds totally dig old vintage stuff.
Threats by Amelia Gray
If you’re spending the afternoon at a cafe in Greenpoint and have a lot of scarves, and maybe you even got into that weird feather hair clip thing for a minute but totally don’t wear it anymore cause that was so 2011, you might want to drop Amelia Gray into your tote bag (yes, tote bag).
Hot Pink by Adam Levin
This is one of the few anticipated 2012 novels that you can safely wear sneakers while reading. For the most part, tennis shoes are unacceptable, but choice of footwear is somehow forgiven in the case of Adam Levin. Just be careful: the assumption will be that you’re too intellectually distracted to notice that you’re wearing sneakers, so make sure to look around in surprise every once in a while.
When I Was a Child I Read Books by Marilynne Robinson
Marilynne Robinson is really best read at home, but if you insist on parading her around in public, the least you can do is dress sensibly. Loose sweaters paired with a thin pants and oxfords would do nicely. Be careful not to apply too much makeup; mascara alone should do it.
The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger
Even if you don’t own a single item of Chanel clothing, you should look like you have at least one essential go-to Chanel jacket in your wardrobe (likely handed down from a family member) while reading Nell Freudenberger. Any floral print or chiffon dress would work splendidly.
Daniel Fights a Hurricane by Shane Jones
Have you been dying to wear that old army jacket you bought at Salvation Army in 1994, but don’t know how to pull it off without looking like an agro-political grunge throwback? Enter Daniel Fights a Hurricane. The presence of this novel alone will tell us that you’re not on your way to OWS, but rather on a brief hiatus from your time on the internet.
Don’t worry, you won’t have to get a haircut till after you’ve finished reading.
Front image: vulpeslibris.wordpress.com; book cover images: flavorwire.com