8 Stylish Authors, From Agatha Christine To Joan Didion, Plus Some Of Their Most Powerful Quotes

The pen may be mightier than the sword, but you can't beat a killer outfit. Though the works of Virginia Woolf, Maya Angelou, and the rest of the stylish authors on this list are undoubtedly their biggest achievements, their eye for a sweet outfit is pretty admirable as well.

These 8 authors prove that a sense of structure and style applies to one's wardrobe just as much as the written word. Click through for some artistic outfit inspiration, alongside some of their most powerful quotations.

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Joan Didion

This crusader of irreverent cool is celebrated for her contributions to American literature, penning pieces that relentlessly chip away at society’s painted mask. Works such as Slouching Towards Bethlehem, The White Album, and The Year of Magical Thinking reveal American culture for what it is (and isn’t), at face value. An associate features editor at Vogue in the early ‘60s and current poster child of Céline’s SS15 campaign, it’s tough to deny Didion’s sense of style. She buttons her unapologetic, honest nature up under a coat of well-practiced wit — making for outfit execution as eloquently balanced as Didion’s sentence structure. Though the ‘60s found her hair long and loose, these days her signature look is oversize sunnies and a tight bob. (Sounds like another famous journalist the fashion world adores.)Image: Céline

Simone de Beauvoir

The French writer, intellectual, social and political activist led a life rich with travel, teaching, and a loyal companionship alongside writer Jean-Paul Sartre. Even if this particular lifelong relationship was blurred behind a cloud of controversy, it’s crystal clear that women around the world can be grateful to de Beauvoir for laying the groundwork of the modern feminist movement. Her published works exploring gender equality and personal morality include The Second Sex, She Came to Stay, and The Mandarins.

Though many would say the least of de Beauvoir’s concerns was her clothing, that didn’t change the fact that she was often the most effortlessly elegant lady in the room — leading the discussion amongst a flock of coffee-drinking intellectuals, herself wrapped in chic chignons, turbans, and colorful scarves.

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Flannery O'Connor

O’Connor is revered for her award-winning collections of short stories, which draw on her Catholic faith and deep Southern roots to examine the ethical code of modern society. Fictional shorts grounded in reality were her specialty, and her characters, in particular, were often the personifications of Christian symbolism. O’Connor subtly reflected her world with a darkly satirical mirror, inviting followers of her work to really read between the lines while digesting pieces like A Good Man is Hard to Find, Everything that Rises Must Converge, and The Complete Stories. Her signature cat-eye glasses, tight head of curls, and ladylike string of pearls kept this writer looking as polished as her prose, and a refined, easy elegance danced through O’Connor’s down-to-earth wardrobe. Moving between living with her mother at home and tending to the family’s chicken coop after her Lupus diagnosis in 1951, O’Connor was never one for putting on airs.

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Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf carved her own path through great literature by implementing a style of prose that didn’t follow the traditional linear format of the time. Free-thinking writing that meanders along a stream of consciousness is her trademark, though her pursuit of excellence in literature was often deterred by her mental illness. Her famous works include To the Lighthouse, A Room of One’s Own, and Orlando, and though some would say her manner of dress was untidy, a biography on Woolf by Hermione Lee indicates that Woolf actually took great pleasure in testing out the latest looks, including striped beachwear and an ethereal white dress. Image: Laura Miller/Flickr

Agatha Christie

If I possess one fragment of the amount of imagination and whimsy in my style as everyone’s favorite crime novelist and playwright, Agatha Christie, possessed in her writing (and as it also happens, her wardrobe), I would consider myself a sartorial success. Amongst her whopping 66 mystery novels, she’s got the thickest book published of all time, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, and created the only fictional character (Detective Hercule Poirot) given a full-page obituary in The New York Times. Clothing and the styles of the day played pivotal parts of their own in Christie’s works, as they often revealed inner secrets of characters never uttered aloud. Fashion was important, and Christie’s personal style in later years of cat-eye glasses and smart fur coats proves her vivacious sense of style and refinery continued off the page, too.Image: Getty Images

Maya Angelou

Dr. Maya Angelou has touched the hearts and minds of so many men, women and children, leading one of the most fascinating lives of any of the women on this list. After overcoming many hardships in her youth, Angelou went on to become an accomplished dancer, singer, poet, author, playwright, civil rights and social activist, and professor. Her courage and determination to leave the world better than how she found it took her across the world, from covering the decolonization of Africa in Ghana and Egypt, to America’s own shores working directly with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm-X during the Civil Rights Movement.

You’ll be familiar with her stunning work from over the years, including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and On the Pulse of Morning, which both look challenging topics like racism, the search for personal identity, and the significance of family values straight in the eye.Angelou lived a life bursting at the seams with passion, and her wardrobe reflected such vivacity. Her signature scarves, silver hoops, and coordinated prints were enough to make any style-obsessed fashion lover swoon.Image: Getty Images

Jacqueline Susann

Though she was accused by many writers in her own time for writing to gain fame and money, one cannot deny that Jacqueline Susann was the first author ever to have three consecutive No. 1 best-sellers on the New York Times Best Seller List.

Her most famous work and iconic pop-culture classic, The Valley of the Dolls, depicts the lives of three women navigating the rich and famous showbiz life in mid-century New York City. The novel bravely wades through themes that, although commonplace now, were simply taboo when the book came out: extramarital sex, homosexuality, abortion, substance abuse, and the oppressive patriarchal society of the day.Susann is credited with blazing the trail for contemporary female writers today, such as Candice Bushnell and Jennifer Wiener. Her own personal style is undeniable, perhaps stemming from her early interest in acting and theater. A gregarious gal with an appreciation for the fine life, Susann made a promise to herself to never let old age take her wearing orthopedic shoes.Image: Wikipedia

Sylvia Plath

A talented poet, novelist, and short story writer whose eloquent words helped generations to find solace in times of grief and mental illnesses of their own, Plath herself suffered from depression, which eventually took her life in 1966.Still, The Bell Jar, The Colossus and Other Poems, and Ariel are among her most well-known works, and Plath’s clean and exhilarating verse was crafted with an intensity that not only reeled in regular poetry aficionados, but awakened a whole other previously-uninspired group of women once shackled to society’s expectations of the day.

Her personal style one summer is documented in an enlightening book by Elizabeth Wender, Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953 , but besides this fascinating foray into the shaping of an American literary classic, fuzzy photos of a balmy, smiling 1950s beauty can be found swirling just under the surface of various vintage websites and blogs. Knowing Plath’s ultimate end makes these ethereal moments hold your gaze a little longer, though it bares saying that Plath’s talent as a writer, first and foremost, was finally stressed in recent years over the tragedy that took a literary great much too soon.

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