Fashion Book: Middlemarch–Mary Garth
Continuing with my Middlemarch Fashion Book series, this week I’m focusing on Mary Garth, the sweet and let’s face it, a little homely, long-suffering assistant to Peter Featherstone. The Garths are perhaps the most likable characters in the book (no small feat, since there are about a thousand characters)–Caleb, Mary’s father, is a generous and principled man, and oversees much of the properties in Middlemarch. His family is the type that enjoys each other’s company, the kind where siblings bicker but over things like who gets to hang out with their older sister–basically they are like the family on 7th Heaven, but less annoying, and not as photogenic.
Again, Rosamond is used as a foil for Mary–she is described as a graceful, cool blond beauty, while Mary is painted as short, a little plump, with curly dark hair–Eliot might as well come out and just say she’s a Plain Jane. But Mary’s warmth, kindness, sense of humor, patience, and integrity more than make up for whatever her appearance may lack, and she comes out on top when all is said and done.
I don’t think Mary would give the same attention and care to selecting her clothing as Rosamond, but if she were around today, I think she would be able to pull off a kind of effortless chic style.