Librarian Style For Moms


P1040144Gang, remember Amy of BiblioMOMia?  Last time she wrote for us, she schooled us in Southern Gal Style.  But she’s also an academic working on her PhD in literature.  (SO freakin’ cool!!)  So when we recieved Shannon’s Mom Street Style submission and read that Shannon defined her style as “punk librarian”…well.  I knew BiblioMOMia would get a kick out of it.  And, if we were lucky, be inspired.

And she was.  And we are.  So here’s Amy….


I might have spit out my coffee when I read “punk librarian.”  So cool!  And, I must say, Shannon totally rocked the edgy nerd vibe in her mix of floral and leather, especially with those amazing purple tights.  The floral dress is definitely something a librarian might wear, but she makes the whole outfit more interesting with the moto jacket and tough boots – yet keeps a quirky feel with the bright tights.  But her email made me start thinking – what is librarian style?  Why do I love it so much?  And how can it work not just in my professional life but in my life as a mom too?

Like “secretary” with its pumps and pencil skirts, “librarian” has definitely evolved into a style inspiration.  Somehow, even adding one or two of these elements makes the whole outfit feel just a bit more bookish – a bit buttoned-up, a bit feminine, a lot intellectual.   Try adding one of these things to your style arsenal!  A little goes a long way, so don’t wear too many of these at once – you’ll look like you’re wearing a costume instead of a cool outfit.

Librarian Style Elements

  • Floral prints.  Sweet and old-fashioned and feminine, floral prints always remind me of dusty books (in a good way).
  • Textured fabrics (lace, tweed, leather, velvet).  Very Victorian, and very librarian.  And, most of the time, very soft!
  • Librarian shoes (t-straps, oxfords, loafers, granny boots).  If it looks like a teacher might have worn it in 1915, it’s a librarian shoe.  Luckily, there are tons of these styles out right now, to fit every taste and budget.
  • High bun.  Have you ever tossed your hair high on your head (and maybe used a pencil to keep it there)?  I dare you to do it and not feel like a librarian!  It’s an easy and flattering hair style for pretty much every face shape, too.
  • Glasses.  Ummmm…obviously.  Any kind of glasses, from tiny wire rims to chunky black frames.  Even better if you put them on the tip of your nose and peer over them.
  • Structured jackets.  Wool blazer.  Velvet jacket.  Tweed vest.  All of those jackets are definitely librarian-ish.  A flattering and structured jacket is totally feminine, too.
  • Funky legwear.  I don’t know why I associate patterned tights and great leggings with librarians – maybe because all of my library science friends in school had great tights?  Either way, they’re often a great way to add some funky and whimsical style to an otherwise classic outfit.

There are a million ways to incorporate librarian style into outfits you’re probably already wearing, and things you probably already own.  A little goes a long way!  Shannon mentioned “punk librarian” as her style aesthetic – it’s amazing what happens when you add floral and leather to the same outfit.  However, it’s just as easy to add some bookish flair to jeans and tees. Here are my favorite options, with some outfit ideas.


Hot Librarian

Sexy Librarian



This outfit is obviously based on Shannon’s rocking date-night outfit.  So often, I think women believe that “sexy” or “hot” means lots of black and rhinestones.  But how amazing does Shannon look in her floral and leather?  Exactly.  Here, I paired a floral dress with a pink leather blazer – the pink plays up the feminine floral, while the leather makes it a bit edgy.  And, nude t-strap pumps are both totally sexy and traditionally conservative at the same time.  The purple tights would look amazing with the light shoes, too.  A teensy tinsy real book necklace is the final touch.  This look would be perfect for date-night, or perhaps for a school play – or even Thanksgiving dinner with the in-laws!


Punk Librarian

Punk Librarian



This time, I took Shannon’s “punk librarian” inspiration literally.  The result is a bit Bronte sister, a bit steampunk, and totally mom-friendly.  Umm, tell me what’s not comfortable and practical about velvet leggings?  And the lace-up booties manage to be both feminine and edgy.  The combo of the lace tunic and moto vest is unexpected and fun, and I can’t think of a better way to wear a silk skull scarf.  The schoolboy blazer pulls the entire combo together.  In fact, I liked this outfit so much I had to wear a version myself (see here!)  How awesome would you feel running through a museum with your kiddo while wearing something so cool?


Hipster Librarian

Hip Librarian



There’s no reason the jeans-wearers can’t get in on some librarian fun, too!  Cuff your boyfriend jeans in order to show off some flat oxfords, then add a classic striped tee.  And suspenders.  Yes, seriously, suspenders (make sure they ride to the sides of ‘the girls,’ and that they’re not so tight that you’re getting strange boob bulges).  I’ve seen suspenders look adorable on everyone from pixie-like women to curvy girls – if it seems scary, just try it and decide for yourself.  Add a BIG knit cowl scarf – libraries are often cold and drafty, and I never enter the stacks without a good scarf.  For a final touch, steal a pencil from your kiddo’s school supplies and stick it through your hair.  This is a totally fun look for craft day at preschool, or even just running around the playground.


So, what do you think?  Will you be adding some librarian flare to your outfits as the weather gets colder?  What are your favorite style inspirations?



Contributing author Amy is working on two babies – her Ph.D. and her toddler.  She divides her time between crawling through the stacks of the library and crawling on the floor with her baby boy.  She still hasn’t figured out how to get dog hair out of cashmere, but she refuses to give up her heels (yet).  You can check out her blog on motherhood and style in academia at BiblioMOMia 



  1. I was so excited to see this post as “Cute, Quirky Librarian” is how I have described my style for a few years, and I’ve been trying to figure out how to make it work as a new, nursing mom. I have been making a pinterest board with stuff I liked, as suggested here for clarifying my preferences. So far, I think embellished tshirts with cardigans are going to become a staple. Here’s my inspiration board:

  2. Holy crap, 2 posts on ANMJ talking about my outfit? And another blogger took “punk librarian” and ran with it? I am dying! Seriously, I would’ve never imagined it in a million years. My style-challenged middle school self would be crying tears of dorky joy. I am going to start keeping up with BiblioMOMia as well. Love the 3 outfits Amy came up with, great inspiration!

  3. Wow, I never,ever, thought of Librarian as a style and I love it! I think I could really go this direction. It would be a way to slightly dress up my pretty casual style!

  4. Allison-That’s a GREAT inspiration board! Love the mix of vintage romanticism with fun colors.
    NDM-Aww, thanks chickadee! Glad you like it.
    WKS–Aren’t S and M totally amazing? I heart them, too. And I’m glad you like the hipster version, as I couldn’t resist. And that’s pretty much my daily uniform, too!
    Shannon–YAY YOU! S forwarded me your email last week, and it ended up inspiring both of us. You look so freakin’ cute.
    JeansHub–So glad I jogged your style inspiration! And it’s SUCH a fun way to play with casual style, as so many of the elements work with standard basics. Enjoy!

  5. Shannon – I cracked up reading “My style-challenged middle school self would be crying tears of dorky joy.” Weren’t we all dorky in middle school? (I know I was!)
    Amy – Am now DYING for suspenders. But….will they highlight the pooch? Enlighten me!

  6. S – I don’t think suspenders would cause a pooch problem (I actually was thinking of you when I put together that last outfit). I think the key is to keep the rest of the outfit relatively slouchy, and you want the suspenders to fit loosely too. Also, attach them pretty far to the side. With luck, they should highlight the girls and distract from any tummy issues. I think I would play around with the tuck of the shirt, too. Hope that helps – PLEASE take a pic if you get some!

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