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While Chimamanda Adichie is not the only fashion-loving novelist out there, she is certainly unparalleled in her openness about it.

Her now famous Elle Magazine essay titled, “Why Can’t Smart Women Love Fashion,” is a must-read for anyone interested in a feminist politics of fashion.

In addition to professing her love for fashion, Adichie also admits that she “admire[s] well-dressed women and often make[s] a point to tell them so.”

Thanks to a recent interview, we now know who some of these women are.

On her list of “women writers who write well and dress well,” she includes the usual suspects: Zadie Smith and Elif Shafak. But there is also Yvonne Owuor, Chika Unigwe, Tayari Jones, Kiran Desai, Ahdaf Soueif, Flora Nwapa, and Mary McCarthy.

We are singling out Zadie Smith because she happens to be one of our literary crushes and also because we are not surprised that Adichie is inspired by her style.

Smith has written 4 wildly successful novels and a host of brilliant essays about literature and culture and yet it must be a joy to take a tour of Smith’s wardrobe.

Interestingly, as with Adichie, Smith’s professed love for fashion has been a journey. When she was young, she buried herself in books and “had a lot of contempt for visual things.” It took growing older for her to “appreciate the idea of a beautiful fabric or a nice dress.”

Here are few pictures to show you why Zadie Smith exemplifies, in the most spectacular fashion, Adichie’s idea of a woman for whom writing, thinking, and dressing well are not contradictory things.

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Image sourced from Buzzfeed.

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Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches African literature. She received her doctorate at Duke University. She is the founder and editor of Brittle Paper and series editor of Ohio University Press’s Modern African Writer’s imprint.

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