Author-Inspired Fashion: Daphne du Maurier

Get inspired by romance novels of old.
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Madison - UNC Asheville
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Get inspired by romance novels of old.
Daphne Du Maurier Rebecca

"Rebecca" book cover via Amazon

A typical romance novel today is concerned with the idea of happily ever after. Because of this, many of today's romance novels can be predictable or unoriginal. While this stereotype has exceptions, it's nice to take a look at romance novelists of the past for surprisingly fresh, innovative material. One of these novelists is the legendary Daphne du Maurier.

Daphne du Maurier, or Lady Browning, was an English novelist and biographer whose work stretched from the 1930s up until her death in 1989 at age 81. Born into a theater family, du Maurier's artistic connections allowed her to pursue writing, and although her work was criticized at first for being to "flowery" or "old-fashioned," it is now beloved among scholars and readers. 

A reader of du Maurier's work could never say that she was too optimistic - in fact, most of her romance novels are modeled on the old values of romance and rarely feature happy endings. Though they are often bittersweet, du Maurier's stories are wonderful reading.

So let's take a look at du Maurier's life and work for some fashion inspiration!

Return to Manderley

  “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” 

-Rebecca

Return

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Let's start with a book that we've recommended to you guys before, Rebecca

Rebecca is du Maurier's most famous work, and has stayed relevant in pop culture for nearly 70 years. The work is not without controversy - du Maurier may have borrowed heavily from a different work - but nonetheless, it's easy to see why Rebecca has stood the test of time with its mysterious, dramatically gothic appeal.

For a look inspired by gothic literature, don a burgundy lace dress with bell sleeves, perfect for lounging miserably in a grand English estate. Strut around the grounds of Manderley in these glam lace-up heels with a black clutch in your hand. Polish up the look with some light gloss and pearls from your husband's late first wife who's haunting your every move.

It's a Shorts Story

  “When she smiled it was as though she embraced the world.” 

-The Birds and Other Stories

short story

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Du Maurier's short stories are some of the most hauntingly beautiful works I've ever read. Everything from "Don't Look Now" to "The Birds" is truly a work of art, and her stories make for fantastic inspiration.

Many of du Maurier's settings, in keeping with gothic tradition, are luxurious and/or mysterious, whether the work takes place in a decaying Italian city or a grand mansion. For a look based on these moody yet glamorous settings, start with a bright pair of patterned shorts and a lace-up tank. Next, slip on some oxfords for an English feel and add a glam choker. Finish the look with nail polish for a bright pop of color.

Contrary du Maurier

Contrary

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Du Maurier was never known for sticking to one solitary genre. In her career she worked on everything from novels to short stories to biographies. To emulate her versatility as a writer, wear an outfit that you can multitask in.

Whether you're in a casual office setting, at a family gathering, or on a hot lunch date, this look is for you! Some flattering skinny jeans and a versatile striped tank pair well with this chic jacket. For a pop of personality, slip on some baby pink pumps. If you are entering a more fun environment, try out some bold eyeliner for a more trendy look.

Final Thoughts

Daphne du Maurier is a titan in English literature for a reason. Her brilliant writing and captivating stories continue to titillate readers today, and will continue to do so in the future.

So what did you think? Which look is your favorite? Which author would you like to see next? Let us know in the comments below!