• Thu, Mar 11 2010

Fashion Lessons From Childhood Fiction: Anne of Green Gables

Anne Shirley taught us a lot about friendship, and maintaining your individuality while finding your place in the world and Canada and all of that, but more importantly? She taught us not to fuck around with cheap hair dye. And other fashion lessons:

That Part about the Brooch:  Remember when Anne tried on Marilla’s brooch, and then Marilla couldn’t find it? So Anne made up a story about how she had thrown it over the side of a bridge? Anne thought that if she confessed she could go to a picnic. Anne’s logic was ridiculous, here. Obviously, Marilla did not let her go to a picnic. But then Marilla found the brooch and then Anne got to go to the picnic and eat ice cream, and everything was good again.

Lesson: If you try other people’s stuff on, replace it really carefully. If they directly accuse you of taking things, deny until you die.

The Chapter That Makes You Want Puffed Sleeves More than Anything: It’s really best just to take this directly from the book. “Anne was not dressed like the other girls! The more Matthew thought about the matter the more he was convinced that Anne never had been dressed like the other girls–never since she had come to Green Gables. Marilla kept her clothed in plain, dark dresses, all made after the same unvarying pattern. If Matthew knew there was such a thing as fashion in dress it was as much as he did; but he was quite sure that Anne’s sleeves did not look at all like the sleeves the other girls wore…

When Matthew came to think the matter over he decided that a woman was required to cope with the situation. Marilla was out of the question. Matthew felt sure she would throw cold water on his project at once. Remained only Mrs. Lynde; for of no other woman in Avonlea would Matthew have dared to ask advice. To Mrs. Lynde he went accordingly, and that good lady promptly took the matter out of the harassed man’s hands. “Pick out a dress for you to give Anne? To be sure I will.

“I’d rather feast my eyes on that dress. I’m so glad that puffed sleeves are still fashionable. It did seem to me that I’d never get over it if they went out before I had a dress with them. I’d never have felt quite satisfied, you see.”

Lesson: Your mom has awful taste. Always ask your Dad to get you the clothing you really want. Also, maybe puffed sleeves really were amazing, before the ’80s came and killed them. Maybe it’s up to us to make them awesome again.

The Part Where Anne Dyes Her Hair Green:

“I dyed it.”

“Dyed it! Dyed your hair! Anne Shirley, didn’t you know it was a wicked thing to do?”

“Yes, I knew it was a little wicked,” admitted Anne. “But I thought it was worth while to be a little wicked to get rid of red hair. I counted the cost, Marilla. Besides, I meant to be extra good in other ways to make up for it.”

“Well,” said Marilla sarcastically, “if I’d decided it was worth while to dye my hair I’d have dyed it a decent color at least. I wouldn’t have dyed it green.”

“But I didn’t mean to dye it green, Marilla,” protested Anne dejectedly. “If I was wicked I meant to be wicked to some purpose. He said it would turn my hair a beautiful raven black–he positively assured me that it would. How could I doubt his word, Marilla? I know what it feels like to have your word doubted. And Mrs. Allan says we should never suspect anyone of not telling us the truth unless we have proof that they’re not. I have proof now–green hair is proof enough for anybody. But I hadn’t then and I believed every word he said IMPLICITLY.”

“Who said? Who are you talking about?”

“The peddler that was here this afternoon. I bought the dye from him.”

Lesson: Don’t buy hair dye from street peddlers. Also, your red hair looks fine.

The Part Where Pink and Yellow Look Bad on Redheads(?)

“Anne, Mrs. Rachel says you went to church last Sunday with your hat rigged out ridiculous with roses and buttercups. What on earth put you up to such a caper? A pretty-looking object you must have been!”

“Oh. I know pink and yellow aren’t becoming to me,” began Anne.

Lesson: But really, doesn’t yellow generally look good on redheads?

What Anne Would Wear Today:

Obviously, the most important thing about Anne’s modern outfit is that it possess puffed sleeves. And not be pink. Or yellow, I guess? But this Chanel suit, from Karl Lagerfeld’s collection inspired by the country lass seems extra appropriate. Because Anne lived in the country! And, if she were alive today, she probably would be pairing Marilla’s hand me down checked dresses with a outré jacket. Doesn’t it look as thought she might have affixed Marilla’s brooch in her hair? Yes, yes it does.

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  • Soos

    Reading Anne of Green Gables is a part of growing up for many women and a surprising number of men. I was so enjoying reliving those fashion faux pas aspects through this article UNTIL you thought she might choose CHANEL! NO! More likely something tough paired with vintage designer…

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