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Looks from Books: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants


Looks from Books is a new biweekly column offering solid proof that you can look smart, while still being book-smart as well!

Fashion inspiration can be found between the lines of your favorite stories, well-designed book covers, and awesome characters… if you read closely enough. Classic literature, fun chic lit, YA novels, sci-fi, childhood faves, graphic novels,  fairy tales, Shakespeare — if the book is in print, then there’s a good chance I’ll be covering outfits inspired by the letters on the page! Suggestions and feedback are always welcome. Enjoy, and read on! 

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Book Cover
Photo Credit

For our very first edition of Looks from Books, we’re focusing on Anna Brashares’s series The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Even though most of us read these books years ago, stories of friendship and girl power are always great. These books are still fun beach reads to share and lend amongst your girlfriends. Plus, any book with a pair of kickin’ denim jeans on the cover and four teenage girls as main characters is a clear choice for some great fashion inspiration. Let’s check it out!

Bookworm Basics

  • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is a series of Young Adult books by Ann Brashares with four total books: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The Second Summer of the Sisterhood, Girls in Pants, and Forever in Blue.
  • Lena, Tibby, Bridget and Carmen are the lovable, flawed, and relatable main characters of the story. Every book in the series has chapters that alternate between the perspectives and experiences of the girls.
  • The basic gist of the novel is that the girls share a pair of thrifted (hooray for bargains!), flattering jeans that fit them all despite their different body types. Even though they are spending their first summer apart from each other, the magic of the pants keeps them close and they mail the jeans to each other all across the world as a way of showing support and love.


LooksFromBooks Lena
Dress, Sandals, Bracelet, Belt, Hair Comb, Earrings

Lena is a shy, introverted artist full of affection but scared to let people into her life. She’s usually spotted in loose-fitting khaki pants and office fashion staples, trying to hide her delicate features with outfits more suited for her father’s law firm. During the summer, she travels with her younger sister to Greece for a visit to her grandparents, falls in love with a hot island boy named Kostos, and slowly starts to emerge from her shell while developing her skills as a painter. Her look is sweet, girly and simple.

Lena Outfit Elements:

  • Lena’s aversion to attention — in addition to the heat of the Greek/Mediterranean area —m eans that a flowing white dress is a sure bet. Take inspiration from the Greek goddesses of mythology and don’t be afraid to accessorize with golden bracelets and comfortably cool sandals.
  • With a white dress as your blank canvas, add a few splashes of color to complete this look. Fancier shoes and a crisp blazer (standard black, or a bright neon if you’re feeling bold) would make this outfit job interview-worthy!


LooksFromBooks Carmen
Crop Top, Skirt, Hat, Satchel, Earrings, Shoes

Carmen is the drama queen of the group, with hips and curves she is not afraid to flaunt! She’s proud of her assets and her strong, Puerto Rican heritage. Yet during the summer, when she visits her dad and new family in South Carolina, she can’t help but feel out of her element. Surrounded by the “blonde, bland and boring,” she begins to feel self conscious of who she is when faced with her dad’s apparently perfect new step-family. Despite many initial misgivings (like Carmen throwing a rock through their new home’s window, or her stepmom purposely squeezing her into a too-small bridesmaid’s dress), they all unite at the end and accept each other.

Carmen Outfit Elements:

  • A cream-colored fedora provides the perfect contrast to dark, voluminous hair. Matched with cross earrings — Carmen is Catholic, but you don’t have to be religious to appreciate the significance of the cross – the look is cute and subtle.
  • Don’t be afraid to have a little fun with a bold bralet! This American Flag Topshop piece is patriotically perfect. (In the movies, Carmen is played by the talented America Ferrera! Happy Fourth of July everyone! Be sure to keep your ensemble modest, though, with a high-waisted skirt or shorts to prevent too much midriff from showing.


LooksFromBooks Tibby

While all of her friends are off in far away places, Tibby stays behind and gets a job at the local Walman’s and decides to make a “suckumentary” about the lameness of her surroundings. Tibby is a filmmaker in the making and a moody camera aficionado. At first she is snarky and sarcastic, choosing to build up a wall between her and other people. The daughter of hippies turned into perfect suburban parents, she feels like an outcast most of the time with her anti-establishment views. When she meets Bailey and Brian, she learns to open up and befriend those who have more to offer beneath the surface.

Tibby Outfit Elements:

  • The Walman smock is a gross shade of “boogery asparagus green,” so this loose-fitting tank offers a more stylish interpretation of Tibby’s work uniform. Tibby is a plain and easy dresser — she views fashion as a waste of time compared to her filmmaking aspirations — so when emulating her style, less is more. She prefers dark and simple colors and understated pieces.
  • Her camera tote bag is large enough for all of her lenses, mikes, cameras, and other necessities. Sturdy boots and comfortable leggings make walking around (she doesn’t have a car because her parents are preoccupied with her significantly younger siblings) easy and convenient.


LooksFromBooks Bridget
Sneakers, Sunglasses, Shorts, Tank, Nail PolishBracelets, Necklace, Vest, Bathing Suit

Affectionately called Bee by her friends due to her habit of whizzing around and multitasking, Bridget is a total free spirit. When she walks into the room, everyone stops and takes notice. Flirtacious, spontaneous, and a stellar soccer athlete, Bridget spends her summer at an elite training camp where she ends up folowing her reckless heart more often than her fast feet. You can’t help but wince at her antics as she seduces her young soccer camp coach and does crazy things like go swimming in the middle of the night while recovering from the flu. She seems wild and free on first glance, but as we learn, Bee never got over her mother’s death and throws herself with love and abandon into everything as a way of dealing with the grief.

Bridget Outfit Elements:

  • Bee is not one to bother with coordinating colors. She just throws on what she wants to wear that day and that’s that. Comfort is first with her and she needs to be able to move freely. Although she is a tomboy in the books, she knows how to dress up in a way that claims the attention she craves. Statement jewlery and bright summer colors are the perfect way to work her look into your wardrobe.
  • If the “prints on prints on prints” look is a bit too crazy for your tastes, tone down the outfit with this perfect slouchy tank! Studded sneakers and funky running shorts add to the sporty feel of the outfit.

What do you think?

Did you ever read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants? Who was your favorite character? Have you seen the movies? Which of these outfits is your favorite? Do you have friends who you’d consider your sisters? If you have any book recommendations for the next installment of Looks From Books or answers to those questions, feel free to comment below!

Posted on on July 4, 2012 / Filed Under: Inspiration / Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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64 Responses to “Looks from Books: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”

  1. 1
    July 4th, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    This was one of my favorite books when I was younger! Love this post so, so much!

  2. 2
    July 4th, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    love it

  3. 3
    July 4th, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Thanks you guys! This was my first post so I was a little nervous : ) Don’t forget, if you have any suggestions for the next book let me know!

  4. 4
    July 4th, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    This is a great idea for a column!

  5. 5
    July 4th, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    I personally did not like the books, but the outfits are awesome. I love this post idea. I would love to see Pride and Prejudice in the future. And the clique was a very fashion-y series. It was not very well written, but it could provide some interesting outfits.

  6. 6
    July 4th, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    Love this idea! Here are some suggestions: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Water for Elephants, The Great Gatsby (!!!), The Inheritance Cycle, A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, a Wrinkle in Time.

  7. 7
    July 4th, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    Looks from Books is a fantastic idea for a column! Could you do The Red Necklace by Sally Gardener, or something by John Green at some point?

  8. 8
    July 4th, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    This is an awesome idea for a column! The first outfit is my fave.
    I’d also love to see Pride & Prejudice and a Wrinkle in Time inspired as well.

  9. 9
    July 4th, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    LOVE, love,love this post. These were my absolute favourite books as a teenager. The characters are so relatable. Awesome outfit choices, thanks for bringing back some great memories.

    Speaking of memories I think we all read the baby-sitters club as kids, and I loved all the different characters/styles as well as the the totally rocking 80’s/90’s vibe which I feel is very wearable right now.

  10. 10
    July 4th, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    Please do more of these! My suggestions are Bleed and the Blue is for Nightmares series from Laurie Faria Stolarz, Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle Trilogy, Melissa de la Cruz’s Blue Bloods series, the Harry Potter series, Maximum Ride series by James Patterson, and…I think that’s it. I’m so excited by this column.

  11. 11
    July 4th, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    You guys are all so awesome for these great suggestions!

    Caitlin, Maximum Ride was so fierce! Julia, Looking for Alaska by John Green is a definite must for this column so don’t even worry :) Taylor, with The Perks of Being a Wallflower movie coming up I will absolutely be doing a post on the book! Books before movies is my motto : )

    I’m really glad I’m seeing Pride and Prejudice in the suggestions :) Classics are classic!

  12. 12
    July 4th, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    These suggestions/outfits are spot-on

  13. 13
    July 4th, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    I loved this movie. Brought back memories! Love the outfits as well

  14. 14
    July 4th, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    I want to second the Gemma Doyle Trilogy, those are some of my favorite books! I would also love the classics – anything Austen or Bronte, maybe even Anna Karenina with the movie coming up :)

  15. 15
    July 4th, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    Oh my gosh love this idea for a column! Please Please Please let this be a permanent column love it!

  16. 16
    July 4th, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    I love both movies, haven’t read the books though. My favorite look and character is the first one, she’s classic and the outfit is so pretty! Loved the accesories :)

  17. 17
    July 4th, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Love it! And love the books. Cute outfits all around =]

  18. 18
    July 4th, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    Love the idea for the column! Would love Harry potter, lord of the rings, Shakespeare, series of unfortunate events, if you’ve read it, think the graveyard book by Neil Gaian would be fantastic!

  19. 19
    July 4th, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    great idea!!! please include “Pride and Prejudice” or any Austen novel :) , or some Edgar Allan Poe

  20. 20
    July 4th, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    I love the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. The books and movies are so good! I love Lena’s and Bridget’s style the most.

  21. 21
    July 4th, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    This post is great! Please do Pride and Prejudice, Maximum Ride, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the Inheritance Cycle, Divergent, and the Matched trilogy by Ally Condie. Thanks :)

  22. 22
    July 4th, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    Hooray for Looks from Books! I’m hoping that these will be looks from more classic books than today’s New York Times best sellers–personally, I’m excited for Shakespeare and fairytale inspirations! I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, please?

  23. 23
    July 5th, 2012 at 12:49 am

    This is a great new column! Could you maybe do some classics like Lord of the Flies or Lolita. Or has any one read Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card on here? It’s one of my faves and I’d love to see one on that :)

  24. 24
    July 5th, 2012 at 12:57 am

    I’m not sure those pants really work for Tibby, but Bridget knows how it’s done.

  25. 25
    July 5th, 2012 at 1:10 am

    Jenna, I love Ender’s Game! There’s not much fashion in it, but I’m super excited for the movie! :)

    I second The Great Gatsby and the Babysitter’s Club! And what about the Royal Diaries? I loved reading those as a child and the princesses are all from different time periods :)

  26. 26
    July 5th, 2012 at 2:23 am

    oooh! ooh! I love this idea!

    My reccomendations:

    A Fault in Our Stars by John Green
    Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
    Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
    Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

  27. 27
    July 5th, 2012 at 2:32 am

    I love this idea!! i’ve always looked through books that seem fashionable to me when i’m stuck in a style rut and this will take some of the work off me!! haha!
    i think you should do a post about the babysitters club! i read them growing up(still do when i feel nostalgic lol!) and i think you could do some really cool outfits with that series! Just a thought :)

  28. 28
    July 5th, 2012 at 4:02 am

    1984 by George Orwell would inspire some pretty original outfits, with the red waist-ties etc.
    I’m excited to see the rest of these posts!

  29. 29
    July 5th, 2012 at 4:15 am

    I second the Shakespeare comment.

    I would love to see Portia, my favorite character ever :)

  30. 30
    July 5th, 2012 at 5:24 am

    Gosh this column is perfect for people like me hahaha. Love all the outfits, especially Tibby’s shirt! Harry Potter and Great Gatsby please~

  31. 31
    July 5th, 2012 at 6:30 am

    Great post! You should do another one about Lolita! <3

  32. 32
    July 5th, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Love the new column idea and the outfits! Just wanted to add that there are actually 5 books in the series now, Anne Brashares recently wrote another one called “Sisterhood Everlasting,” about the sistehood’s lives 10 years later

  33. 33
    July 5th, 2012 at 9:10 am

    don’t want to be the wet blanket here but i can’t picture these outfits on the girls! BUT i do like the basis of these posts and the outfit sets are great.. i’m a bookworm like much of these girls and really look forward to seeing more!

  34. 34
    July 5th, 2012 at 9:28 am

    I love the first two outfits! They are so me! The new column is so awesome! I can’t wait for the next articles to come! :)

  35. 35
    July 5th, 2012 at 9:30 am

    I love this.

    The Virgin Suicides would be interesting. The Great Gatsby, and of course Perks of Being a Wallflower, which has been said. :)

  36. 36
    July 5th, 2012 at 10:07 am

    I am not ashamed to admit that I still love these books…and I’m really glad to hear that you’ll be doing John Green! DFTBA :D

  37. 37
    July 5th, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Great! Love these outfits!

  38. 38
    July 5th, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    love this post! the looking for alaska sounds like a good idea too loved that book..think great gatsby is sort of overdone this year with all the 20’s influences everywhere

  39. 39
    July 5th, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Love Tibby’s look! I have combat boots just like that from Dirty Laundry that I use to dress any outfit down!

  40. 40
    July 5th, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    I’ve totally been re-reading the books this summer so I really love this post! Awesome.

  41. 41
    July 5th, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    love this idea!! as a self-proclaimed bookworm, i heartily approve.

    just a note: that 1st outfit is lovely but totally NOT interview appropriate, even with a blazer.

    otherwise, great job!

  42. 42
    July 5th, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    LOVE this new feature, and am a huge fan of the Sisterhood movies!

  43. 43
    July 5th, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    I am in love with this column already. I second the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, as well as the Fault in Our Stars and Ender’s Game. A bit of Shakespeare would definitely be appreciated as well! Gatsby is a must, as well as classic lit. I’d love to see what you could do with the Secret Garden, Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Catch-22, maybe some Jules Verne, Oscar Wilde, HG Wells, Edgar Allan Poe? Gatsby is getting a lot of hype due to the movie, so maybe you could do Anna Karenina (which is also coming out as a film adaptation).

  44. 44
    July 5th, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Id wear something out of eaCh style =)

  45. 45
    July 5th, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    You misspelled TRAVELING. Both are acceptable, however in this context and country it is spelled with only one L.

  46. 46
    July 5th, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    I loved this article! I second the requests for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Gemma Doyle Trilogy, and Ender’s Game (my personal favorite)!

  47. 47
    July 5th, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Bridget was my fave character, but I love aspects of all their styles…

  48. 48
    July 5th, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    This is an awesome post! I’d love to see something from the TMI series (Cassandra Clare). Fashion from the Westing game could be cool too

  49. 49
    July 6th, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    AMAZING <3

  50. 50
    July 7th, 2012 at 2:01 am

    Alice in Wonderland and/or Through the Looking Glass pretty please! I also wouldn’t mind Peter Pan, The Chronicles of Narnia, or A Song of Ice and Fire series. Fantasy books, basically :)

    For books with more realistic setting I second the vote for Lolita.

  51. 51
    July 7th, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Awesome! I’m so excited for the next post… So, Harry Potter, Divergent, Percy Jackson, The Kane Chronicles, Heroes of Olympus (basically the same thing as Percy… Almost), Wings, Monster High, maybe the Golden Compass… Lord of the Rings is sort of a must, Starcrossed, and Abandon. Yeah.

  52. 52
    July 7th, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    I LOVE THE SISTERHOOD BOOKS. OH MY GOODNESS. THANK YOU SO SO SO MUCH FOR DOING THIS. MY DAY HAS BEEN MADE. :) When we were kids, my three best friends and I pretended to be the characters in the movie, and I was always Lena… Her style is still a pretty good representation of my style today! :) I loved this. Thanks again! I’m excited for this new series!

  53. 53
    July 8th, 2012 at 2:04 am

    This is fabulous, Monica! I just watched the movie a couple weeks ago and had thought about asking CF to cover the book/movie. Thanks so much for doing this! :)

    I thought that the costume designers for the movie did some great things with Tibby’s style – she wore some snazzy prints, and there was always a unique print or piece in her look. Also, I remember that Carmen’s shoulders were usually covered, perhaps a nod to her Catholic background. I think you got Lena and Bridget’s styles spot-on, though. Bravo!

  54. 54
    July 10th, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    AWESOME. <3
    This has got to be one of the best columns on CollegeFashion so far! :)

    The 'A Song Of Ice And Fire' series would make an amazing fashion inspiration post, even looking at just the T.V. adaptation! Full of gorgeous furs (or fake furs!), elegant gowns, and medieval style!

  55. 55
    August 28th, 2012 at 4:57 am

    I LOVE this website soo much! Whenever I can’t think of anything to wear, all I have to do is go to this website for some fashion inspiration! :) Anyhow, can you please, please do the Maximum Ride series?

  56. 56
    January 30th, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    “you don’t have to be religious to appreciate the significance of the cross”? Um what?

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