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Styling Jane Austen's heroines for today

Lizzy Bennet in... high-waisted jeans? One trend that has been circulating TikTok throughout quarantine is imagining modern fashion on book characters. How might some of Jane Austen’s heroines dress today?

Let’s start with Elizabeth Bennet. Lizzy is exceptionally intelligent, witty, and talented (not to mention beautiful). She is carefree and confident throughout the novel, which is reflected in her style board. Some popular trends that reflect her character are sweater vests, loose collared button-down shirts, and pleated high-waisted pants. I imagine Lizzy would be a college student using any and every excuse to be in the library or to hang out with friends.

A collage of images based on Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice

Photos (credited from left to right) sourced from Etsy, @offcamerashy on Twitter, Pinterest, @designcollector on Twitter, Etsy via Pinterest

Our next heroine would be, in my opinion, the most stylish: Emma Woodhouse. She is popular and conventionally beautiful and enjoys being the center of attention. Her style would consist of pops of color, plaid blazers and skirts (I have to tip my hat to “Clueless”), and bold statement pieces.

A collage of style photos based on the character Emma Woodhouse from Emma

Anne Elliot, Austen’s oldest heroine, is reliable and mature and cares about her family. Since her father and sister like to spend money, although it leads to their financial struggle, I imagine Anne’s style to be elevated and classic with a lot of expensive basics. She is feminine but not catty, flighty or hysterical. Anne is more mature than Austen’s other heroines, which is reflected in her style.

A collage of style photos based on the character Anne Elliot from Persuasion

Last but certainly not least: Elinor Dashwood. The “sense” in “Sense and Sensibility,” Elinor is calm and understanding. She puts others before herself and is compassionate. I imagine her style to consist of soft sweaters and pastel colors to represent her character.

Collage of style photos based on the character Elinor Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility

Photos (from left to right) credited from @best.dressed on Instagram,, @gorgbb on Twitter,, via Pinterest

Let me know in the comments below what you think! What would you change?

Emma Dieterle is a Jane Austen Summer Program intern.


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