On Her Shelf with Amina Elahi of Paper/Plates

Amina Elahi of Paper Plates reviews Barbara Kingsolver's Flight Behavior

This week’s “On Her Shelf” comes to you from Amina Elahi, the editor behind Paper/Plates. Amina’s blog is my go to for book recommendations, book and food pairings, and discovering new bloggers. She presents literature and food in such a delicious manner, I’m completely envious! After reading her review of Flight Behavior, I was so happy that she chose to review it for On Her Shelf.

What is the last great book your read and why?

The last great book I read was Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver. It combines an important message about climate change with a fascinating glimpse at an unhappy woman and her struggling family. In the opening pages, the protagonist comes across a mysterious — and ostensibly miraculous — swarm of butterflies on her family’s property. As she unravels their secret, she learns more about the world and herself than she could’ve expected. As an homage to her transformation, I recommend pairing the book with spiced sweet potato spread.

Would you recommend this book? If so, to whom?

I would absolutely recommend Flight Behavior. It’s a great book for readers who enjoy emotional stories about women discovering their own strength, but also for those interested in the conflict between religion and science, or those simply wondering what the life of Appalachia’s rural poor might be like.

If you liked this book so much, that you wanted your everyday attire to reflect it, what would you wear and why?

I’d want products that are practical and durable, but still beautiful. And in honor of the Monarch butterflies in the novel, I’d include pops of orange.

Shop This Post: H&M Knit Sweater | ASOS Blanket Scarf | Sugar Lip Tint | Formula X Nail Polish | Hudson Jeans | Volatile Booties | Flight Behavior

You can get more of Amina’s eloquent reviews and tasty pairs on her blog – Paper/Plates – and you can also follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram.

The Handmaid’s Tale

Wearing Lit's The Handmaids Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale is nothing new, actually published before I was born, but when I read it a few years ago, I couldn’t put it down. I’d finish each chapter and immediately start the next one, unable to wait to read what would happen next. Needless to say I finished this novel in about a day. In this dystopian novel, Margaret Atwood creates such a vivid society in which a religious, military dictatorship controls society. The novel is told from the perspective of Offred (pronounced Of-Fred), a “handmaid”. Handmaids are socially approved concubines to help the ruling class reproduce. The novel is filled with rich commentary on society, religion, politics, and gender. The Handmaid’s Tale is definitely in my top ten list of favorite books of all time.

So let’s say you did want to channel some “military dictatorship with strict religious laws” into your daily wear. Now that it is fall/winter, nothing says The Handmaid’s Tale better than capes and coats. The novel used color – red and white – to designate purpose and value of women in this dystopian society. Nothing represents the handmaid better than this red jacket (also in tall!), There’s something about the Dolly Skater Coat, The Swing Coat, the Collarless Coat and the Oasis Long Two-Toned Drape Coat that are both modern and an ode to the past, very similar to the entire plot of The Handmaid’s Tale.

On Her Shelf: Champagne Supernovas with The Style Letters

Wearing Lit Champagne Supernovas with The Style Letters

This week’s “On Her Shelf” comes to you from Maria MacNamara, the editor of The Style Letters. Maria’s sense of style is impeccable as well as attainable. When she told me that she wanted to do Maureen Callahan’s Champagne Supernovas, I couldn’t have a better book that epitomizes Maria’s love for fashion and its history!

What is the last great book your read and why?

I’ll never forget the “Grunge and Glory” photo shoot in the December 1992 issue of Vogue magazine. (In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s saved in a stack of magazines in my childhood bedroom back home.) Seeing Naomi Campbell and Kristin McMenamy dressed head-to-toe in Marc Jacobs was a transformative moment for an already fashion-obsessed eleven year old. And while I might have been too young to recognize the power of marketing or the influence of stylists, all I knew was that I would die if I didn’t get a baby backpack, plaid babydoll dress, and Doc Martens right now.

So when I came across Maureen Callahan’s Champagne Supernovas: Kate Moss, Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen, and the ’90s Renegades Who Remade Fashion, I cleared my schedule and promptly devoured it. Callahan explores the major shift between the 80’s and 90’s style, music, and politics. This was a time where supermodels like Cindy Crawford and Christy Turlington were swiftly replaced with the heroin chic of Kate Moss. The fashion world – once obsessed with logos, labels, and a “bigger is better” philosophy – now turned towards style stripped of embellishment or flash, slightly messy and off-kilter. It was the antithesis of glamour and greed, and the Gen X movies and music of the day reflected this attitude of rebellion and defiance. This was the decade where the alternative became the mainstream, and Champagne Supernovas chronicles the icons, looks, and tragedies that defined the era.

Champagne Supernovas

Would you recommend this book? If so, to whom?

Absolutely! I’d recommend it to anyone who grew up in the 90’s, loves fashion, and/or enjoys insanely juicy details of debauchery and rock-and-roll lifestyles. I couldn’t put it down and definitely ignored laundry and my husband for a good day and a half.

If you liked this book so much, that you wanted your everyday attire to reflect it, what would you wear and why?

So here we are, 22 years later, and the influence of the 90’s is everywhere this season. Floral dresses paired with distressed combat boots, plaid mania, small leather backpacks – updated versions, to be sure, but the inspiration behind them can’t be denied. In addition to all of the above (will I finally get that backpack?!), I can’t get enough of slouchy, oversized sweaters and ripped jeans with booties. It’s the best kind of throwback style with just the right amount of attitude.

If you love Maria’s selection in literature and style, check out her blogThe Style Letters – and you can follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram.

SHOP THIS LOOK: Old Navy Dress // Old Navy Jacket // Target Mossimo Coat // Forever 21 Blouse // Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick in Deepest Cherry // Essie Nail Polish in Wicked // Sam and Libby For Target Boots // Mulberry Backpack