Dressing Up Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre is one of the best books ever composed by a girl or boy. Charlotte’s eponymous heroine encapsulates many of the traits that I admire the most. Jane is sassy. She’s not afraid to give a little lip. When her cruel aunt tells her that she’s not fit to associate with her own cousins Jane retorts, “They are not fit to associate with me!” Jane is also cleverly violent. She deforms a deceptive boy (Rochester) and kills her competition (Bertha) without lifting a pinky finger. Mary Tudor never had to lay a hand on the Protestants that she burned and neither did Jane. Jane is a queen. A queen requires a fabulous wardrobe. Here are outfits that will sustain Jane through each of the five stages of her royal trajectory.
At Gateshead Jane confronts a number of hostile creatures. Her fatty cousin John throws a book at her. Her Ursula-esque aunt locks her in a red room frequented by ghosts. Gateshead is the stark opposite of a beatnik poetry reading. Gateshead brims with war and combat. Jane must be tough. Her outfit should be stark and militaristic. Karen Walker’s grey shorts, navy top, and knit cap is a lean and bold look. It’s what a girl would probably wear to an alley fight or to a smackdown with uncaring relatives.
When Jane is sent to Lowood School, she meets her BFF, Helen Burns. Helen wants to die so that she can leave behind her “cumbersome frame of flesh” and enter heaven. Helen’s saintly Christianity has an incredible affect on Jane. Helen dies while cuddling with Jane. They’re very close. Feminists, though, don’t care much for Helen. Susan Gubar and Sandra Gilbert label her “pathetic.” But that’s just because feminists, like men, abhor anything that’s not advocating sex. But sex is for humans (i.e beatniks). Chastity is for cute creatures (i.e. Victorians). While attending Lowood, Jane will wear this look by Meadham Kirchoff. Minnie Mouse is pure. If she wasn’t, then Mickey would’ve impregnated her by now. Also, bows are sweet and delicate in the same way that girl BFF’s are.
After staying on at Lowood to teach, a fairy (an actual fairy, not the kind who march in parades, wear weird outfits, and pine for The Gift) tells her that she needs to find another vocation. So Jane sets off to Thornfield where she must be a governess, charm the trousers off Lord Rochester, and fend off a crazy lady. Is there an outfit that can possibly incorporate all these various duties? Yes! It’s this Marc Jacobs number. The gloves demonstrate that Jane is ready to roll up her sleeves and teach her charge a tough lesson or three. The frizzy hair lets beastly Bertha know that Jane is a bit wild as well. The undies on the outside are certain to titillate the lothario Rochester.
Once Jane discovers that Rochester is already married to Bertha she shows her disapproval of his unseemly behavior by deserting him for Moor House, where an indelicate missionary, St. John, tries to coerce her into marriage. Jane needs to let St. John know that she already has her Chuck Bass. This Jeremy Scott dress says it all so that Jane needn’t expand energy telling St. John off (though she does anyways).
Having done away with St. John, Jane returns to her Prince Charming in his isolated nook, Ferndean. Rochester is deformed. His mangled hand and poor eyesight mean that he won’t stray from Jane any more. Bertha, her main competition, is dead. Jane has won. In her critique of Disney, the feminist Peggy Orenstein says that there can only be one princess. Jane is that princess. She has engendered a successful purge. The threats to her sovereignty have been abolished. How should Jane celebrate? With an extravagantly severe Marchesa gown, of course.
Tags: Charlotte Bronte, Chuck Bass, Jane Eyre, Jeremy Scott, Karen Walker, Marc Jacobs, Marchesa, Mary Tudor, Meadham Kirchoff, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Peggy Orenstein, Sandra Gilbert, Susan Gubar, The Madwoman in the Attic