Saturday, 9 June 2012

Librarian Chic

Gil Elvgren "Hold Everything" ("Rare Edition"), 1962

For the past month I've been working as a librarian and I LOVE it!  My old job at the bookshop ended (the University sadly sold their bookshop to a campus bookshop chaiin) and rather than continue in retail I thought it was time I finally did something with my librarian qualification.  I'm doing a placement at one of the libraries at Melbourne University, and I'm enjoying it so much.  I'm lucky to be working with a team of really friendly and knowledgable librarians who have been so welcoming to me.  
Quiet Please

Now of course I'm all about the outfits, and this new job has given me the perfect opportunity to experiment with the Librarian Chic look.  This Ritchie Fahey painting has all the elements of the sexy librarian look - the tight cardigan with a glimpse of lingerie beneath, the pencil skirt, cat's eye glasses with a chain, red lipstick and that wonderful hair! 

The librarian look is all about restrained sexiness, prim but saucy at the same time.  The character of Emma Pillsbury from Glee, although a guidance counsellor and not a librarian, perfectly encompasses this look. There's a whole site dedicated to her wardrobe, What Would Emma Pillsbury Wear?

The Essentials of a Librarian Wardrobe 

The Blouse
The basic look librarian look is based on that of a 1950s or 1960s secretary.  Blouses are key, especially  ones with high necklines and even better, pussy bows.  

A sheer blouse with a high neck is revealing yet demure at the same time.  This Ralph Lauren one is very saucy!

The Cardigan
Quintessential librarian-wear, cardigans should be fitted and fine knit to avoid too much bulk. Never underestimate the allure of a fitted, high-necked cardigan. Very sweater girl.

Vintage beaded cardigans are good look, and are easily found on Etsy.  You can drape one over your shoulders and hold  in place with a sweater clip (see Accessories).


The Pencil Skirt
A fitted pencil skirt is a classic look. Make sure it reaches just below the knee for a demure look. Try teaming a tweed skirt with a silk blouse for an interesting combination of textures.


 Vintage black cats eye glasses

The Glasses
Where would a librarian be without her spectacles?  Who can imagine a librarian without conjuring up an image of her looking over the top of a pair of wonderful cat's eye glasses and telling you (in a stern but sultry manner) that your books are several days overdue?

There are a plethora of wonderful dead-stock 1950s and 60s cat's eye glasses for sale on Etsy, in all sorts of colours, some with charming decorations such as these with rhinestone centred leaves on each side.  A glasses chain is an optional extra.
the aptly named Biblophile Heels

The Shoes
Heels are preferable (never mind that librarians spend an inordinate amount of their day standing and walking!) but ones with "sensible" mid-height heels, and round or almond toes.  Little lace-up heels are nice, loafer pumps, or Mary Janes.  
Look at these shoes!  Their heels are like book spines, complete with tiny call numbers!

The Accessories
As mentioned above, sweater clips are a great librarian accessory.  How cute does Emma Pillsbury look in hers? 

You can see in this original packaging from the 1950s that the sweater clip was also for "casual over the shoulder wear", to stop the cardigan from slipping off.

Some sweater clips (like the ones above) have a detachable chain, so they can double as dress or shoe clips too.

How adorable is this miniature book necklace?  Etsy is full of tiny book necklaces, either single or in clusters.  

Or this book necklace, lasercut from an old vinyl record (I can't remember where I got this photo from, unfortunately).

Or you could go for a classic Librarian pin.  This one comes in blue, yellow, red or green, and can be engraved on the back.

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