This post would not exist without the amazing ’80s and ’90s YA Novel treasure trove Cliqueypizza, where I found most of these book covers.
Today I texted my girlfriend “I look like Ramona Quimby today.” She texted back, “That is not unusual.” Now I present “tomboy fashion according to young adult novels.”
Look #1: Scruffy tights, leotard, sideways snapback
You bet your ass you haven’t seen ballerinas like this before! See that sassy bitch with the hole in her tights and that sideways baseball cap who just wants to go home and hang out in a tree? The best way to add a little rough-and-tumble to any outfit is to scrape the knee a little bit. This is tricky in tights as a hole can quickly become a vicious run, but I’m sure you’ll figure something out.
Look #2: Sweatshirt, jeans and a pair of sneaks
This is a classic tomboy look. It’s comfortable and utilitarian, and perfect for when you are dreaming about living in a treehouse, wrangling a menagerie of household pets who are trying to eat you, or starting a small business with a budding fashionista named Claudia Kishi. Plus you can wear this outfit several days in a row without being too obvious about it. Just watch out for grass stains!
Look #3: Authentic Baseball Jersey, baggy light jeans, fierce attitude
I don’t remember the plot of this book, but I’m gonna guess it’s about Kristy being upset that one of her girlfriends is going out with a dude. Regardless, Kristy is the luckiest girl in the world because she has a baseball jersey! I wanted one so bad. That’s the actual definition of “baller.”
Look #4: Big-ass t-shirt
Look this one is simple: a giant t-shirt. Then go to sleep, you’ve got pajamas on!
Look #5: Ramona Forever
Ramona Quimby’s summer style was on point. She’s got a graphic tee, orange sneaks that match her shorts, and the same haircut as me. But what really makes the outfit is her confidence and smile. The smile says “yeah I’m the best-dressed girl in this house of mirrors, what’s it to you?”
Look #6: Casual Dress and Longstockings
Raised by pirates and friends with animals, Pippi Longstocking was an innovative homemaker and a fashion pioneer, able to lift horses in loafers.
Look #7: Red Hoodie, Jeans
Harriet the Spy is super-busy spying on things and being the coolest girl in school, as well as sporting the classic Ramona Quimby ‘do. She kept it classic and simple, not attracting attention and flying under the radar, which is a useful skill to have as a budding lesbian.
Look #8: Surly Lesbian in Leather
Lesbians in small towns who have secret relationships with allegedly straight girls are heroes to us all, but they must protect their tender vulnerable hearts in “don’t fuck with me” gear, like leather jackets. And um, red scarves that blow in the wind.
Look #9: Red Sweatshirt & Jeans
This is the most popular look of all the looks sported in all the books I read, which must mean that it was the coolest look. If you want to radiate that “I’m on a spy mission / I hate my family / “I started a small business with Fashion Icon Claudia Kishi” vibe, then you cannot go wrong with a red sweatshirt — NOT A HOODIE, JUST A SWEATSHIRT — and jeans. Cold? No problem — just throw on a classic white turtleneck underneath your sweatshirt (not a hoodie) and you’ll be warm enough to steal Bart’s baseball bat and Mallory’s heart. Who doesn’t love a nice old-fashioned turtleneck, am I right?
Look #10: Overalls
If your #1 Fashion Icon is Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird, then have I got the thing for you: OVERALLS. You can keep your good luck charm and a note from your BFF close to your chest and go get yourself into some trouble.
Well, if you read this entire post, then I think you’re ready to enter the world of fashion!