Many writers don’t bother to describe what their characters wear. This could be good and bad. Good because long-winded descriptions of attire is boring and unnecessary. Readers will skip it. Bad because this is an opportunity to express your character and show their personality with what they wear. Clothing says a lot about a person in real life, and it can do the same with characters in fiction.
Let’s take a look at how:
1. Is your character quirky?
A quirky character will use clothes and jewelry as an artistic outlet. They may mix and match patterns, wear combat boots with sundresses, pearls with overalls, or paint splattered sneakers. Anything that seems a bit odd, this character can wear it and will wear it proudly.
2. What does your character wear to work?
What we wear to work says a lot about us and our position. It also shows how seriously we take our role/success/responsibility. Imagine a man in a suit and tie, or a woman in a dress and heels. But different jobs require different apparel.
Doctors/nurses – scrubs, lab coat, sneakers.
Cops/firefighters – uniform, protective gear, boots.
Construction worker – shorts, cotton T-shirt, hat, work boots, towel/bandana.
Full-time writers – pajamas. :P
3. What does your character wear at home?
This one will really reveal who your character is if their work is a major part of the plot/story. As soon as your character comes home, does she kick off her heels and put on sweats and fuzzy slippers? Does he take off his shirts and pants and walk around in only his boxers? Show how comfortable they are and how they relax at home.
4. What does your character wear to a date?
If we really like someone, we dress to impress. Women might wear a low cut something-something or a short something-something. What your characters are doing also factors into what your character wears to the date. Jeans and a T-shirt is perfect for the fair. Black, flashy, and stretchy is good for a bar.
Use these opportunities to briefly describe what your characters are wearing, or more specifically the MC (or hero and heroine in a romance story). Not only does it reveal a lot about your characters, but it lends to the realistic factor. Because if you don’t mention your character’s clothes at all, is he/she naked throughout your story? Well…that’ll work for erotica. ;)
TIP #1 Clothing is especially important for historical stories. They won't wear what we wear now, so we need to know how they dress. Corsets and hoop skirts. Trousers and stockings. Cowboy hat and chaps. These details help enforce the time period and genre.
TIP #2: The same can be said for culture. For example, if you're writing about an Islamic woman, she'll need to wear a a hijab (headscarf), niqab (face veil) or burqa (full veil with a mesh screen to see out of).
QUESTIONS: What is your MC wearing right now in your WIP? If you’re a full-time writer, do you wear pajamas while your write?
Today I am happy to help Beth Ellyn Summer with the cover reveal for her debut novel At First Blush. Beth is such a sweetheart, so please show her some love. :)
Genre: Contemporary YA
Lacey Robbins has one goal for the summer: hit one million subscribers on her YouTube beauty channel. Working as an On Trend magazine video blogger is just the platform she needs to get there, but falling for the cover boy, rock star Tyler Lance, was not part of her plan--especially since his dating history is longer than her Sephora wishlist.
She can't avoid him for long though, not when it's her job to film vlogs with him. As Lacey and Tyler grow closer on and off camera, her channel becomes popular for all the wrong reasons, and the two YouTubers she's working with officially hate her. Lacey's only solace is spending time with Kendall Wynn, On Trend's resident makeup artist. Kendall's scattered, carefree approach to makeup reminds Lacey why she ever picked up a tube of lipstick in the first place.
Nothing about this summer is going according to Lacey's perfect plan, and pretty soon she learns that filming makeup tutorials is easy. It's real life that could use some editing.
Beth Ellyn Summer writes contemporary young adult fiction that somehow always includes the following elements: fame, makeup, and television. She graduated from Long Island University with a degree in Print and Electronic Journalism. Interning for Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Fallon was the highlight of her college years. When she's not writing, Beth can be found swatching eyeshadows, solving Wheel of Fortune puzzles, and playing with her adorable cat, Penny Belle. Beth lives on Long Island in a cookie cutter town that, in an ironic twist of fate, doesn't have a single decent bakery.
Many writers don’t bother to describe what their characters wear. This could be good and bad. Good because long-winded descriptions of attire is boring and unnecessary. Readers will skip it. Bad because this is an opportunity to express your character and show their personality with what they wear. Clothing says a lot about a person in real life and it can do the same with characters in fiction.