Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Inspired by: Jane Austen's Emma

I don't know if I've mentioned this recently, but I am a huge closet Jane Austen fan. Well, not even closet fan, just general worshiper of all things Austen. Pride and Prejudice is my personal favorite, but I also have a soft spot for Emma. I have a friend in a Jane Austen class this semester, so we've been watching a LOT of Austen, and I just re-watched the Gwyneth Paltrow version of Emma, which I adore, and then I heard about the recent TV series version with Romola Garai, so I had to watch that too. Of course. Whenever I watch Austen films I like to imagine how the characters would be in today's society, mainly because I just want to be one of the characters, and so I got to thinking about how Emma would dress if she lived now. I realize that Clueless is the 'modern' interpretation of Emma, but I feel like Emma wouldn't be so highly stylized and fashion-conscious (although I totally love Clueless). She is vain, but not about her looks. I think her style would be classic and feminine, very dainty and girly, but with a slightly whimsical, sassy touch because, well, she's sassy and her head is any but firmly grounded in reality.

Here's a pic from the Romola Garai version of Emma. I seriously recommend it. That guy's not my favorite Mr. Knightley, but she was a lovely Emma, and like the recent BBC makeover of Sense & Sensibility, it was very tastefully done. The rest of the pics are from Gwyneth Paltrow's turn as Emma. Lots of delicate details, empire waists, and soft colors. It's all very tasteful and sweet, but also very rich.

Alice by Temperley Carrie Printed Silk-cotton Dress, $395 at, Gorjana Alphabet Charm Necklace, $50 at, Giles & Brother Rose Studs, $78 at I know this dress might not seem like the obvious choice, but I wanted something that had a simple, clean, almost retro silhouette with a hint of spunk in the print. The lines of this dress are very much in keeping with the femininity and charm of the onscreen dresses, and that little ruffle at the hem just feels so Emma to me. The ace of spaces print ties into the role that cards played in social life at the time, and adds a slightly whimsical, offbeat twist--Emma always keeps you on your toes. I wanted to keep the jewelry simple for this look because Emma is certainly not one for ostentatious displays of wealth, but rather chic, tasteful little pieces. I can definitely see her with a delicate charm necklace for daily wear, especially a monogram pendant charm necklace because she is a little self-centered. The rose studs are very sweet and girly, and reminiscent of Emma's countryside home (and she's an English rose! I'm so funny. Not really).

J. Crew Cashmere V-Neck Cardigan, $119.99 at, Rebecca Minkoff Heartthrob Bag, $365 at, Jeffrey Campbell Jewel G Ballet Flats, $140 at I'd layer this cardigan over the dress because the serene white hue would tone done the craziness of that print, and because Emma wore a ton of adorable little jackets in both adaptations. I chose a cardigan for her because it's a little softer and more relaxed than a structured jacket, which goes well with how she dressed in both films, and I like this cardigan because the buttons and tiny pockets have a little bit of a Victorian menswear vibe, which nicely references the era of the novel itself. I just can't imagine Emma with a giant, slouchy tote or hobo bag. I think that she'd go for a piece that's small, but still practical, and structured without being stuffy. This bag drapes across the shoulder very delicately, the grey shade doesn't compete with the dress, and there's something so simple and yet so charming about it that really reminds me of Emma. As for the shoes, since she wears flats in both films and since she's not a frivolous sort of girl, I thought a ballet slipper would be lovely. They're so inherently feminine that they work well with her aesthetic, and the smattering of faux jewels on the toe is a little remind of Emma's social status and her sassy personality. The grey also ties into the grey of the bag and in the dress perfectly.

Chloe EDP, $110 for 2.5 oz. at, Dior Dior Addict Ultra Gloss Reflect in Organza Pink 257, $26.50 at I don't think Emma would really be one for makeup. I just can't see her sporting a dramatic smoky eye. To me, her look is very natural and low-key, luminous and pink with a hint of sparkle. This Dior gloss (the correct color isn't pictured) is a lovely bright, but pale pink that would add the perfect rosy sheen to anyone's lips. I chose to focus on the lips for Emma because I feel like as a person, she's very focused on talking and the power of words. As for the perfume, the notes are pink peony, lychee, freesia, magnolia flower, lily of the valley, rose, cedarwood, amber, honey. The bottle says it all: feminine and refined, elegant and understated. I've smelled Chloe, and I adore it. It's a light, soft white floral with hints of sweetness and spice that's never too cloying or heavy, just effervescent and clean. I think Emma would wear something bright and fun, but also something that wouldn't distract from her personality. Chloe is the perfect combination of young and fresh, but not overpowering.

Image Sources:
Emma photos:,,,, Alice by Temperley dress:, Gorjana necklace:, Giles & Brother studs:, J. Crew cardigan:, Rebecca Minkoff bag:, Jeffrey Campbell flats:, Chloe EDP:, Dior lip gloss:


  1. I love Jane Austen! Pride and Prejudice is my favourite too...'It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in posession of a large fortune must be in want of a wife.' xx

  2. BEST BOOK EVER. I've watched it about 10 million times this semester, so I'm trying to give it a break and move on to other Austen novels for a bit, but it's so hard!



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