Everything I’ve learned about dressing with confidence has come from this beloved children’s book character


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Graphic: W+G Creative

The only books I remember being obsessed with during my childhood (… and adolescence) were the ones in the Eloise universe. For those of you who don’t know the meaning of true happiness and freedom (I mean, aren’t familiar), Eloise, Eloise at Christmas Time, Eloise in Paris, and Eloise in Moscow are a series of beautifully illustrated children’s books that tell the story of a 6-year-old who lives with her nanny, pet turtle, and dog, on the top floor of the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Obviously, her lifestyle is enviable but the part of the book I find myself endlessly referencing is her fashion.

During my childhood, I spent a ton of time surrounded by senior citizens and looking for bizarre and mischevious ways to amuse myself, which is where Eloise comes into play. (There is an entire book dedicated to her flooding the hotel while taking a bath.) As an adult, I no longer spend the majority of my day trying to bamboozle people, but the spirit of Eloise lives on in the numerous sartorial lessons I’ve picked up from the beloved children’s book character.

1. a messy bedroom is, in fact, an aesthetic choice

Eloise’s bedroom would probably make Marie Kondo cry. But for the wabi-sabi enthusiast, it’s a more youthful take on the concept. Her room was chaotic but it was organized and mindful chaos—and an important lesson on mixing prints. In all honesty, it’s got a Basquiat-like artistic quality to it and makes me feel better about the clothes and random clutter decorating my bedroom.

2. it’s not outfit repeating, it’s having a signature look

At the tender age of 6, Eloise knew what all-powerful women seem to know—outfit repeating is not something to be ashamed of but actually more of an indication that you’ve got your sh*t together. Through all of Eloise’s escapades (terrorizing the Plaza) and world travels (Paris, Moscow) she remains loyal to her white shirt, black skirt outfit of choice.

3. Mary Janes and socks are the best footwear option year round

Because I have flat feet, have to wear socks, and don’t wear pants, settling on an everyday shoe for myself wasn’t an easy task. And though Eloise wears an anklet ballet flat, I took her white socks-black shoes approach and have been rotating through pairs of Mary Janes ever since.

4. A pleated black skirt is the equivalent of a pair of everyday leggings

I stopped wearing pants, save for leggings when I’m working out when I was 13. Something I didn’t notice until I went pants-free is that it’s very difficult to find a skirt that can replace a pair of everyday jeans or bottoms. Eventually, however, I found myself with an arsenal of almost-identical-looking, black, knee-length pleated skirts—a cue I picked up from Eloise. During all of her adventures, Eloise is only seen without her signature skirt a few times, one of which is while getting custom Dior clothing made which—same.

5. your pajamas should match your upholstery

The image that comes to mind when I think of a truly luxurious and rejuvenating night in is of Eloise, clad in pink-and-white striped pajamas, sitting on her pink-and-white striped couch with her nanny and a parasol. My entire philosophy when it comes to self-care is in fact modeled after this. And when I did finally decide to trade in an oversized Pittsburgh Steelers T-shirt for a real and grown-up set of pajamas, I went to Sleepy Jones and bought a pair that Eloise would approve of.

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