Pairing Your Book To Your Overall Look: A Fashion Special

You know, folks, sometimes, there’s no denying the truth, no matter how unpalatable. And the truth is that no matter what some of us do, we are just never going to hit the stratospheric heights of popular success enjoyed by other bloggers.

There are online superstars out there who began blogging after I did. They probably began everything after I did, to be fair, because in the Internet of Now, I am a whingeing pensioner, and they are the Bright Young Things.

They are the crazemakers. The trendbreakers. The coolmongerers.

Embed from Getty Images


I am speaking, of course, about the online overlords of fashion and beauty blogging. The trailblazers who can garner 10,000 hits with a half-captioned photograph of a €5 Primark T-shirt, or a $65 bronzer. The influencers whose letterboxes are groaning under the weight of designer freebies, their diaries straining at the clasp with pleading invitations to wear some stuff in a selfie.

I might get an invite to the odd cultural event, true, but they are generally rare, and don’t come with a goodie bag.

I don’t get sent free samples of words, let alone jokes, and nobody ever asks me to endorse anything except the odd book (I mean, why can’t people see the potential of having a satirical cynic* such as myself enthuse about their product? Oh – wait. Okay. I see). And even then I have to tell them that sadly I do not review books. Well, what’s your blog for, then?  they say, sometimes in confusion, sometimes with derision.

Lookit. I am never going to be an Instagram star, or gain 100,000 followers by talking about winged eyeliner. That’s not my forte. However, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, or so they say.

I do books, but I also wear clothes. And what could be more fashion-forward, than pairing your book to your overall look? And with that in mind, I would now like to bring you my Essential Guide To Wearing Your Fave Books This Season.

*(or should that be cynical satirist? Don’t even get me started on social democracy, or democratic socialism.)

1. Crime Fiction

Nothing suits crime better than a sombre suit. The somberer the better. When I’m reading crime fiction, I like to wear dark black trouser suits from Next or Marks & Spencer, preferably with grey or light black shirts, as though I’m on the Tube, going to an unnecessary meeting in London’s financial district. Warning: do not confuse this with grey suits worn with black shirts, especially if they’re from Reiss or Ted Baker. They are completely different, and suggest you’re reading unreliable narrator grip lit which everyone else already finished last year. Do not make this mistake, or your Instagram account will be blocked by everybody popular.

How To Wear Your Fave Books This Season

WARNING: Do not pair this grey suit with crime fiction

Accessorise with:  Large typefaces on the cover and a smoky eye for yourself. Extra fashion credit if the title of the book is in a larger typeface than the author’s name. The men might like to try a touch of manscara to make things more dangerous.

2. Chick-Lit

A popular misconception is that chick-lit readers should wear designer brands. This is a lie, because nobody who reads a lot can afford the designer brands namedropped lovingly between the pages of popular chick-lit. The real outfit of choice for the chick-lit lover is actually a uniform. This can be any uniform, including but not limited to: police, nurse, fire-fighter, paramedic, train driver, pilot, lifeguard, or even a school uniform. If you’re not in a uniformed profession, make your own. Wearing a uniform means you are too important to humanity to feel sad about your lack of designer stuff.

Accessorise with: Like florals in spring, it can be difficult to get away from pink book covers in this genre, but paired with a contrasting nail polish, you can really make it pop.

3. Mysteries/Thrillers

Mysteries are all about intrigue, so when I’m reading a fiendishly good yarn, I like to keep people guessing about me, as well as the end of my book. And nothing keeps people guessing like a red herring. Now, the fashion buffs who have just stumbled across this blog for the first time will know that there is a clothing brand in this corner of Europe which is, in fact, called Red Herring. With Red Herring, mystery readers of all shapes, sizes and creeds have a wide array of sartorial choices, provided they are women, and within a fairly specific band of dress sizes.

How To Wear Your Fave Books This Season

Shirt is worn untucked, facilitating concealment of flab or weaponry

Accessorise with: This is all about minimalism. You only want to hint at what you’re reading. Choose books with small typeface on the cover, and an understated lip. No highlighter. 

4. Literary Fiction

Literary fiction is all about the bag you carry it around in. Hermès and Chanel are generally fine, but Louis Vuitton and Michael Kors will never match your painstaking ennui, so don’t even try. The most adventurous will go for up-and-coming designers, but much like reading literary fiction, what’s the point in having it, unless people know what you’ve got?

Hermes Vuitton

Accessorise with: Impressionist book covers bleed into each other: make sure that doesn’t happen your lip line. Everything is pointless. A prizewinner is always an elegant fashion statement.

5. Self-Help (Mind, Body & Spirit)

This is a tricky one, and catches out many people who think that Mind, Body & Spirit means floaty scarves and unbleached cotton. They are wrong. The best way to tote an MBS manual in public is in sportswear, but only the really, really expensive stuff. $250 lounge pants are fine, but ideally, we’re talking about a much loftier goal in order to help us to help ourselves. This ensemble from Fendi below, for instance, comes to about $2,300, which will really put you in the mood for change.

How To Wear Your Fave Books This Season

Note small pockets which fit neither thumbs nor money – very chic

Accessorise with: Always hold a book in your hands for seventeen minutes before deciding to read it. If the vibes don’t give you a headache, you’re okay to go. Wear sunscreen and never buy a yellow book on a Tuesday.


So, there we have it. I’ll bet none of you even thought for a moment that I had such insightful fashion and beauty credentials, but I do like to surprise you.

This week’s post is a little early, because Thursday is St. Patrick’s Day (note to my dear American friends: A.K.A. PADDY’S Day, not PATTY’S Day. It has never been, and never will be, Patty’s Day. Just so you know) and I will be throwing myself all around this little country, and thus away from The World.

And if I’m lucky, I’ll get to see a parade with at least 3 vintage tractors. I’m not promising anything, mind. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

  57 comments for “Pairing Your Book To Your Overall Look: A Fashion Special

  1. carousel1234
    March 15, 2016 at 8:30 am

    You didn’t mention old, fluffy, much loved dressing gowns from Penneys! Jaysus what am I to read woman?! Do I have to get dressed? 😟 Actually I’m going to rebel and read in my jammies. 😜😈

    Liked by 2 people

    • March 15, 2016 at 8:47 am

      I’m afraid no discerning fashion blogger would ever post a piece about a Penney’s dressing gown, Carolann. Shirts, skirts and bangles yes, but dressing gowns no. I’m not stopping you from wearing whatever you want, but I am saying it’s not hot right now. So sorry. On a brighter note, it means you can read whatever the hell you like.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. March 15, 2016 at 8:36 am

    Thank you for the fashion tips, Tara. I never read your blog without slipping into my red smoking jacket and these Freudian slippers:

    Liked by 2 people

  3. March 15, 2016 at 9:41 am

    Wait, what about Women’s Fiction? (Not the same as Chicklit – there’s rarely shopping or cake shops). Might I suggest a slip dress with a light jacket… or, at the other extreme – something you’ve knitted yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 15, 2016 at 11:17 am

      That sounds perfectly acceptable, Rhoda. Although, my personal preference when reading Women’s Fiction is to wear full mourning garb, as I lament the shoe-horning of female authors into insulting and ill-fitting genre categories. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  4. March 15, 2016 at 10:03 am

    I notice you left out that genre loved by agents known as the cross-genre genre (boundary-crossing fiction, genre-defying fiction etc). And would stream-of-consciosness writing require incredibly long robes or am I taking the link too literally? No fashion sense, you see.

    The possibility of fashion merchandising is never far away from my hopeless attempts at PR, but I don’t really know what Satanists look for in a tee-shirt, or whether millionaire occultists wear branded baseball caps.

    The fashion bloggers may be at the top of the food chain at the moment, but out of curiosity I looked to see what was at the top of Amazon’s ‘paid list.’ Lean in 15: 15 minute meals and workouts to keep you lean and healthy by body coach Joe Wicks. Food! Food is the new fashion.

    Maybe a post telling us healthy eating options determined by what one is reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 15, 2016 at 11:21 am

      I think you should leave the fashion stuff to me, Chris. It should really be left up to the people who have an undeniable eye for it. I mean, I frequently walk down the street without anybody noticing me at all, which means I must be doing it right.

      On the subject of food blogging, I think you’ll find what’s really hot right now is fashion blogging with the odd recipe thrown in. I’ve seen recipes posted on fashion blogs with 2 ingredients and requiring no cooking being shared on Facebook over 1,000 times. I’ll consider the literary health food a bit later in the year, when I’ve seen myself in a bikini.

      Liked by 1 person

      • March 15, 2016 at 12:20 pm

        Advice taken. I bet other people on the street notice you subliminally, like on a separate plane of existence.

        If anyone invents edible clothes the worlds of food and fashion will conjoin in a hideous megalithic social media phenomenon. Smokey bacon flavoured gloves: eat your own hands…

        Liked by 1 person

  5. March 15, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Dear Aunty Tara
    Next week I’ve been invited to the opening of the latest while you wait dentist and nail bar to hit our high street. I was thinking of combining my late uncle’s vintage corduroy kaftan and purple hose while reading Zadie Smith’s White Teeth. Is that too genre-obvious? Can I accessorize with a 1970 Haynes Manuel for a Ford Zephyr instead?
    Bewildered of Barnstaple
    PS your post has helped me immensely with my book group

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 15, 2016 at 11:24 am

      Dear Bewildered,
      I think you’re on the right track, but remember, for timeless elegance, less is more. Lose the hose and team the kaftan with gladiator sandals. White Teeth is perfect, but don’t get them lacquered. Your book group sounds like my kind of crowd. Skype me in.
      Aunty T.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. March 15, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    $2,300 for leggings? No wonder I’ve never ventured into the self help section of Waterstones! And Red Herring just screams to be the name of the next big Scandi lit-hit. What do you wear if reading cookbooks? Other than a baggy tracksuit to hide the expanding muffin top.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 15, 2016 at 2:39 pm

      Well, Donna, I could suggest that one wears their tightest clothing, rather than baggiest, to help quell the cravings. Bodycon dresses would be my recommendation (for both men and women)


      • March 17, 2016 at 10:52 pm

        Maybe a full body spanx would do the trick. I know a couple of guys who sadly would accept your challenge there!
        I don’t think I’d have pulled off a bodycon in my good days. The thought of it now…*shudders*

        Liked by 1 person

  7. March 15, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    I write mob comedies, so I suggest all readers don a fedora before cracking the spine. And black. Black is essential. Pretend you’re at a funeral. A very wild and funny funeral. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 15, 2016 at 2:41 pm

      Thanks, Melodie. I’ll see your fedora and black, and raise you a fake mole with a solid gold belt buckle. It’s all about the accessories, you see. 😀


  8. March 15, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    Dear Tara, Can you clear something up for me please? I read across a lot of genres; mysteries, suspense, mind-body-spirit, romance, comedies, sometimes all on the same day. Is it necessary to change clothes each time I pick up a different genre?

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 15, 2016 at 5:01 pm

      I’m surprised that you have to ask, Joan. I should have thought it was perfectly clear. I never leave the house anyway without at least 2 changes of clothes. My suggestion to you would be if you don’t have a suitcase big enough, stay at home.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. March 15, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    I knew I was going to enjoy this as soon as I saw the title, and I am not disappointed, Tara 🙂 Always on point with your advice, and now you can add fashion styling to your already impressive list. May I add jeans and a black hooded top for readers of fantasy genre? It’s just not practical to wear your grandmas net curtain or a velvet cloak out and about, however much you may wish to – however jeans and a hoodie are always practical should you be sucked unexpectedly into another world, while black adds a touch of mystery and you can always hide under a hood.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 15, 2016 at 9:08 pm

      I’ve had a think, Helen, and consulted Vogue. Jeans and a black hoodie are acceptable, but only if it’s a hoodie bought at a music gig and it must, I repeat MUST, be teamed with Hunter wellingtons. Agreed?

      Liked by 1 person

      • March 15, 2016 at 9:34 pm

        Agreed absolutely 100%. Hunters are very versatile and, once again, would suit a variety of worlds. A necklace with a small esoteric charm which may or may not be magical/significant would finish things nicely, I think 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • March 15, 2016 at 9:55 pm

          Oh, that’s cunning. I can see the 6-page spread now. We could call it Esoteric Phantasmuck.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. Ali Isaac
    March 15, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    Ah… I was just going to complain bitterly that you left out fantasy, but I see Helen’s got it covered. Personally, I like my long robe and cloak, just so long as they’re fire retardant. Personally, I think you’re onto a winner here, except for one thing; fashion gurus don’t give away their services for free unless you are a very well connected celebrity author like JK, which most of us Indies aren’t. So add a PayPal button to your blog, it’s quite the fashion accessory I understand. Along with a chihuahua tucked under your arm like a handbag, or even an adopted baby.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 15, 2016 at 9:12 pm

      I’ll tell you a secret, Ali – I was impressed by Helen’s styling, but I work in finance, and if I wore a black hoodie I’d get arrested as soon as I entered the building. So I’m really only paying lip service to that myself.

      On another note, you are a genius, and I’m in negotiations with PayPal as we speak. In my pyjamas. ‘Cos that’s how I roll.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ali Isaac
        March 16, 2016 at 7:53 am

        I used to work in retail and hoodies of any description entering a store, but especially black ones, were marked as suspicious. As for the pj’s, you can take the girl out of Dublin, huh? Hope you have accessorised correctly with UGGS, preferably fakes, and fag, especially when heading out to the shop.


        • March 16, 2016 at 10:30 am

          You flatter me. Only the truly rich can afford to look truly PJ’d these days. I saw a girl in a €3 nightie in the Londis across the road from work the other day who’d won the Lotto.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Ali Isaac
            March 16, 2016 at 10:48 am

            I’m sure you look Gawjus daaaaahling in your Penny’s PJ’S, with or without UGGS! But lord knows what Tara and Mark would say. Btw, what have those two been up to lately? I’ve missed them.

            Liked by 1 person

            • March 16, 2016 at 11:57 am

              I had them in mind for Paddy’s Day, actually. And then my immense fashion talent took over. They’ll be back soon with something a little less obvious, I promise.

              Liked by 1 person

  11. March 15, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    I suspect I’m the only one who really knows your motivation. Another rollicking read. However, I need to know if I’m ok reading Ross Macdonald’s ‘The Galton Case’ while wearing an old mac and a fedora? It’s funny, when I read any of his stuff (I’ve read it all at least twice), I see myself attired that way, even if I’m lolling by a pool in Spedos inappropriate to a man of my advancing years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 15, 2016 at 9:19 pm

      I suspect you’re right, Conor. In fact, I had you in mind the whole way through, as you can imagine. I’ve consulted the manual and your Ross Macdonald attire is acceptable every day of the week except Monday. But you knew that already. Don’t be tempted to go with last week’s trend of wearing a baseball cap on top of the fedora. That was just silly, and can’t be over too soon in my opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. March 15, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    I can’t believe I read this all the way through. When I go to the launch of my WWII non-fiction book, I will know just what to select from my vast wardrobe (it is vast because I buy almost entirely from charity shops and I’m a bit lazy on the recycling front). I have choices going all the way back to 1944. Yesterday I pulled out of the wardrobe the short grey jacket made of Blue Beveren rabbit, bred and sewn (after death) by my mother… I’d better stop there it is sounding like a novel already.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 15, 2016 at 9:23 pm

      Oh My Blog. You’re an inspiration… and a genius! what about wearing a novel while reading a novel? It would take some sewing, and would probably be scratchy, but it would be so fashion-forward, we’d pass ourselves out.


  13. March 15, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    Now I’m worried for reading science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal stuff. I’ll need a whole new wardrobe. Maybe I can just put antennae and an amulet on my old cowboy hat.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. March 15, 2016 at 11:17 pm

    I was waiting for fantasy-book wear. You know…leather, fur, cloaks, black boots, lots of sharp jewelry. 30% pirate, 30% Viking, and 30% biker. Happy St. Pat…Paddy’s Day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 15, 2016 at 11:18 pm

      Obviously, I can’t add. Plus 10% fairy princess.

      Liked by 1 person

    • March 16, 2016 at 10:26 am

      I wasn’t sure, until you said biker. And then my nerve-endings sounded a resounding ‘YES!’ You obviously study the fashion pages. And I’d go 20% fairy princess if I were you. Nothing’s worth anything these days unless you’re giving it 110%.

      Liked by 1 person

      • March 16, 2016 at 12:46 pm

        I actually do scour the internet for fantasy apparel images. Then I can describe the one’s I select for my worlds accurately and consistently. It’s hard to find women’s fantasy apparel that isn’t all about exposed flesh. Who could fight in that stuff? And what do they do in the winter?

        Liked by 1 person

  15. March 18, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    Okay, so you’ve advised us in your usual hilarious fashion about outfits complementing reading material, but what I really want to know is what us writers should wear when we are hunched over keyboard, specs decorated by fingerprints, several weeks of dust misting the screen and desk littered with skyscraper piles of paper (mostly printouts of stories and research long finished with but unable to make it to the bin beneath desk) photo scanners, books, polling card, a booklet from bank on new credit card terms and conditions (i.e. they charge more for less – so whats new!), handbags, wallets of old photos, filing trays of assorted stuff, headphones, stapler, assorted pens, batteries (replacement rechargeable for mouse and keyboard) diary, extension socket with numerous plugs and wires squiggling around like a demented snake. So Dear Problem Auntie, why does one wear when one wants to create stunning fiction that will make me a mint? PS don’t tell me to tidy my desk as my clutter is like a comfort blanket. Yours in hope, A REACHER FOR THE STARS.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 18, 2016 at 11:00 pm

      Dear Hopeful,
      I personally never sit down to write in anything but haute couture. Plastic skirt handles are a must, and elephant collars ensure a wide vocabulary. However, the insight you provided into your desk environment provides the solution you’ve been looking for. Simply incorporate everything you listed into one boatneck jumper, and start counting your money.
      Auntie Coagulant


  16. March 21, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    I don’t think I’m going to be able to sleep playing games with this.
    What to read Poetry Pamplets in?
    Let me see…

    Liked by 1 person

  17. March 24, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    All wonderful advice. May I add the stunning silver one-piece (aka wrapped-up-in-tinfoil-look) for science fiction? After all, judging by those 50s B-movies, there is a point when all of humanity simply gives up and says, “OK everyone, here’s what we’ll all wear from now on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 24, 2016 at 5:38 pm

      That’s a very good point. And most fetching, might I say. Indeed, Douglas Adams was undoubtedly ahead of his time, but sometimes I think the Hitchhiker’s dressing gown was the most prophetic prediction of the lot.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: