In the world of classic literature, many books that we now consider traditional actually broke barriers in their time. Some famous examples include Jane Austen works Emma and Sense and Sensibility, and sensational works like Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White.
But other classic novels broke barriers in darker, more taboo ways. One such example is Thomas Hardy’s 1892 novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles.
Structured in seven phases, the novel shocked early audiences with its rebellion against the typical moral behaviors expected of young women at the time. Hardy targets society and its high expectations in this novel. He also addresses the struggle and vulnerability that comes with being a young, impoverished woman.
This week we’re taking inspiration from one of the most controversial novels of the late 19th century, and one of the most lasting heroines of English literature: Tess of the d’Urbervilles inspires some late fall looks.
At the start of the novel, peasant Tess Durbeyfield is at a crossroads in her life. The oldest child of a drunk, she meets the town’s most important men, Angel Clare and Alec d’Urberville. This meeting will forever alter the course of her life.
A palette of pale pink and somber black reflect this novel well, mixing darkness and innocence. Pair a pink and white sweater with black jeans and combat boots for hardy English weather. A music note necklace is a hint to the May Day dance where Tess meets Angel while the gold nail polish reflects Tess’s father’s higher aspirations. A pale pink highlighter gives off an innocent glow.
This novel has a great deal of sadness and tragedy in it. I’ve straight up cried both while reading the book and while watching one of its many movie adaptations.
For gloomy winter weather – and a look that reflects it – use burgundy accents against a neutral base, like using these tights and this lipstick with this cozy dress and grey booties. A black satchel goes with everything and carries all your essentials, while hoop earrings complete the look with grace and class.
Angel is a complicated romantic hero. While he appears virtuous, the son of a Reverend, and is hardworking and charming, he also has high moral expectations that are unrealistic and unfair to Tess. While his and Tess’s romance is sweet, it is also tragic.
For Angel’s look, start with a simple shell – as Angel is a simple man at heart – and a professional blazer. These trousers are perfect for an office environment or for classes all day, and these boots were made for showing off. Finish the look with a simple golden bracelet.
Tess’s story will stick with you long after you’ve read it, and is certainly going to be a classic for years to come.
What did you think? Which look was your favorite for Tess of the D’urbervilles. What other classic novels have you read that pushed boundaries in their day? What book would you like to see fashion inspiration for next?
Let us know in the comments below!