I think ‘fashion heroine’ is a term used much too frequently, for a model to wear jeans and a breton top does not a fashion icon make. I instead prefer to find my fashion inspiration in Sunday night TV dramas, reblogged screengrabs of half-forgotten teen dramas and during a quiet moment in a theatre. In light of this, here is a defence, nay, a loveletter to my favourite fictional fashion heroines, each one of them admired for both their character and the clothes they express themselves in.
1 - Blair Waldorf
My first encounter with high fashion was in the Gossip Girl novels, a series of excellent books which charted the lives of Serena and Blair, two rich, insecure
teenage girls, and their gang of debauched mates. However, it was when I saw Blair Waldorf on TV, realised by the luminous Leighton Meester, that I began obsessively screenshotting her outfits on a weekly basis. There are too many highlights to mention, the Alice + Olivia summer dress in the first episode of Season 2, the symbolic use of headbands, that beautiful red coat that Blair walks around Manhattan in during The Thin Line Between Chuck and Nate. And all this teamed with her always glossy hair. You get the idea, she’s an icon.
2 - Jane Banks
As I once confessed to a baffled ex-boyfriend as I manically dragged him around Topshop, and as you’re probably learning from reading this, coats are my vice: Jane Banks has two of which I am quite envious. The first is mustard with a peter pan collar which she teams with an excellent hat. The second is dark blue with a velvet collar which, again, she wears with a matching hat. She also has a very good fringe, and the pursuit of a very good fringe is probably my life’s work.
3 - Matilda
Matilda The Musical
Although I disagree with the infantilisation of women’s fashion, I am happy to acknowledge that my daily dress is merely a slight variation from Rory Gilmore’s
Chilton school uniform. The only reason why Rory (seasons 1 to 3) doesn’t make the cut is because I prefer my hair, like Harry Potter’s, unruly while Ms Gilmore The Younger has a much more sleek do which I can’t get fully onboard with. Therefore, the only other fictional young lady donning tartan with backcombed hair I can think of is Matilda. Also, she can dance, sing and has superpowers so I’m happy to plump for her over Rory.
4 - Lady Mary
Lady Mary and I have many similarities. We both grew up within driving distance of Ripon, are known for giving elegant eyerolls and are very fond of delicate
silk blouses. Although I definitely would not like to have lived in the early 20th century, I do wonder if I could perhaps have survived the horrors of two world
wars, extreme sexism, racism and no wifi just for those beautiful blouses. That and the cocktail story that I’d once carried a dead Turkish diplomat out of my
bedroom with my maid.
5 - Miss Havisham
I think it’s probably one of my top five ambitions to be labelled a wealthy spinster and scare children. Also, why not wear a wedding dress constantly? Reclaim that narrative, sister, twist it and make it gruesome, rally against the capitalist structure of monogamy by wearing a symbol of your oppression for all eternity. Yeah! Also, I really like white dresses, I have a really great one from Topshop which is the closest I’ll ever come to the white dress dream in Chloe’s 2007 Spring/Summer collection.