Our third installment of It’s Lit! has arrived, lovebirds. This time, we’re gearing up for Valentine’s Day with looks inspired by our favorite love stories. We’re certain your love doesn’t play by the book, but who says you can’t infuse a little storybook magic into life’s sweetest moments?
Here’s to a swoon-worthy celebration of the love in our lives, and the cherished characters that set our hearts aflutter!
Atonement, by Ian McEwan
“I love you. I’ll wait for you. Come back.”
Rip our hearts out, Ian. Love, war, and guilt — admittedly common literary themes — culminate in an anything-but-ordinary novel thanks to Atonement’s poetic prose, vivid settings, and deeply human characters. Set in 1930s Europe, it tells the story of Celia and Robbie: family friends turned unlikely lovers in an age of tumultuous uncertainty. Vibrant, heart-rending, and every bit as gorgeous as it is gripping, Atonement is one of the great love stories of our time.
Like herself, Celia’s outfits are both feminine and strong. We took cues from her iconic dinner ensemble and paired a striking emerald dress with intricate accessories that sparkle like the Tallis’ sun-kissed garden fountain. If you need us, we’ll be re-reading till our eyes cross or turn into the heart emoji itself.
Carol (The Price of Salt), by Patricia Highsmith
“My angel, flung out of space.”
We’ll never be over Patricia Highsmith’s indescribably beautiful tale of love and identity in 1950s New York. Her progressive masterpiece, along with its 2015 film adaptation starring Cate Blanchett as Carol and Rooney Mara as Therese, continues to inspire women of all ages to love who they love — and to do so boldly.
Clothes are essential to each character’s personality. While Carol’s voice is like her luxe fur coats, “rich and supple, somehow full of secrets,” Therese’s understated plaid prints and simple silhouettes could represent her still-developing sense of self. For a modern look, pair plaid trousers with a boldly patterned blouse, then add block heels for a little Valentine’s Day va-va-voom.
Shakespeare’s Love Sonnets, by Caitlin Keegan
“In all external grace you have some part,
But you like none, none you, for constant heart.”
Shall we compare this Shakespeare companion to a summer’s day? It is more lovely and more temperate! Vibrantly illustrated, this colorful book accentuates the depth of sentiment in each of its 29 featured sonnets. Appropriate for any spontaneous expression of love, Keegan’s tribute to the bard enchants in a single read.
And, what better way to pay tribute to the romance of Shakespeare than with a rose-printed dress and coordinating shoes? Be still our hearts! Simply add a heart-charmed necklace and a dazzling clutch for a look that’s both sweet and sophisticated.
One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez
“They enjoyed the miracle of loving each other as much at the table as in bed, and they grew to be so happy that even when they were two worn-out people, they kept on blooming like little children.”
A favorite of fellow ModCloth writer, Jordyn, One Hundred Years of Solitude is “rife with compelling bonds between the story’s many characters — whether by blood, marriage, or circumstance. No characters share a love as pure and meaningful as Petra and Aureliano,” she writes. “It flourishes greater than any other in the book, and they remain side by side, loving and playing together well into old age.”
Channeling the novel’s lush Columbia setting, we styled vibrant floral prints with equally lively shoes and accessories. No matter the forecast this Valentine’s Day, hues and patterns as bright as these will surely bring the sunshine.
More Looks to Love
+What are your favorite love stories? Let us know in the comments — we’re always looking for recs!