The Poetry Police Bring You How to Dress Like a Poet

It’s important that when trying to dress like a poet, you don’t make many of the rookie-poet mistakes. We’ve put together this guide in order to keep your dress code poetic and to stop you making common mistakes. You can thank us later.

  • Berets Generally worn by those that think they are poets. The more skewed to one side, the worse the poetry. If you insist on wearing one, staple random objects to it, to distract people from its pretentious weightiness. It might be an idea to also pen poems about the objects that you can recite to people who ask stupid questions.
  • Acceptable Hair Styles –Wearing miscellaneous objects in your hair gives your performance that “street realness”. You may also experiment with a variety of wild animals – bat hair is particularly Avant Garde, as is matted hair for street poets. At all times – try to look like you have a dubious relationship with shampoo. Bald poets’ heads should not be too shiny or they will distract attention from their reading. Try to avoid simple hair cuts – as you will end up looking like a bland librarian.
  • Piercings & Tattoos – It is important that all poets maintain a healthy number of piercings and tattoos at all times. The more interesting the piercing the better. If you can find a friend to pierce you internally, that would be ideal. Obvious and/or obscure quotes by poets/songwriters (that nobody else has ever heard of) make for excellent tattoos and post-performance conversation starters.
  • The Cloak – A tricky thing to pull off, best suited to highly Metaphorical Poets who would like to conceal the true nature of their poetic being. The Cloak becomes a symbol of  darkness adding to their poetic allure. Try pairing this with an old fashioned cigar for a truly vampy look. After all, nothing says poetry and lust, like Dracula.
  • Facial Hair (do or don’t) – The bushier and more unkempt the beard, the more wild and aggressive the poems should be. It is important that you give the impression of hiding many secrets in your beard. For added sex-appeal (one of a poet’s many preoccupations) be sure to fold some of your best poetry into its depths, this way lovers can dig them out and be wowed by your poetic brilliance during intimate moments. (Note: this may make your beard more flammable – it is important not to wear hair spray in conjunction with folding poems into your beard, for health and safety purposes).  It should be noted that female poets wishing to beard-up may suffer from mansplaining. Do not be deterred, you have rights.
  • Constructing clothes from actual poems – We recommend that in order to dress like a poet, you take tailoring classes. One should not simply staple poems to already tailored clothing, but experiment with interesting shapes. Bjork and Lady Gaga are excellent style guides. Their  experimental wardrobes are a starting point for your poetry origami jumpers. However, as a poet you must be brutal and things such as concealing genitalia and common decency need not concern you.
  • A few handy accessories – Try to find a camera that hasn’t been used since the 80s. Polaroids can also add to your look. Don’t be afraid to make your bag a statement piece. Why not chop out all the pages of Sylvia Plath’s journal and fashion the cover into a book bag. You can refer to it as the husk, and use it as a conversation starter at glamorous poetry gatherings.
  • Traditional Black V New Age Colour Schemes – One says overly serious poet, one says motherfuckingcrazyass street poet. The choice is ultimately yours. A combination of both shows a lack of commitment to any definable poetry sector and therefore is not encouraged.
  • Shoes V Barefooted – Doc Martens (for female poets in particular) give that “don’t fuck with me look” (just in case saying “don’t fuck with me” twenty times, in your twenty line poem, didn’t convey the message). Any sort of brightly coloured runner – will make your poetry seem more Hip-Hop (the same theory can be applied to low cut jeans and wife beaters). High heels (for either gender) will add sex-appeal to your literary readings (coupled with winking you may become an unstoppable poetic sex-force). Boat shoes with no socks are a way for wealthy poets to distinguish themselves from the lower classes. Going barefoot for performances is a risky choice that could split the audience and may end in poor foot hygiene.
  • Make Up – This can make or break your look. A poet must embrace the natural look – if they are going for the dippy hippy vibe, but in all other instances they should become their poems. This can include, but is not limited to, writing their actual poems across their face. More subtle poetry make up – might just include a lot of red lipstick. This is important so that a poet leaves their stamp on all wanton lovers, glasses and cigarettes. If you don’t yet smoke, start.