Picking Clothes (For Novels)

Too often clothes for characters are often picked but don’t really fit the character or the scene.
For example, heels. High-heels are everywhere. It’s something that just goes hand-in-hand with the action genre. The sleuth spy meets the mysterious heel-wearing beauty, the hardcore female vampire hunter who chases and gets chased, all in boots with heels. And the most common offender; cop dramas. We are supposed to believe she’s going to go arrest someone and means business, but she wears heels. Now, I will admit, that actress in Jurassic World ran in heels like a pro, but I’m sure her character was craving a set of runners. I get it, heels make women look more attractive, but in a fight or in a run, they are a disadvantage. Otherwise, more athletes would be seen sporting them. If your character is attending a ball or on a day off, go for it. If your character is planning to chase down bad guys, I’d advice against heels.
Put thought into what your character wears, and the results might surprise you. Sometimes what your character should wear is actually the exact opposite of what people would expect for them.
For example, your city thief would be more likely steal without getting caught dressed as a rich nobleman than dressing as an adventurer. The thief would want to dress in something to blend; not stand out. Everyone would be expecting someone dressed like an outlaw to be the thief, so instead be one of them.
Another example is your power hungry woman. Often they are described as suspicious as they actually are; a cruel smile, a cold gaze, and the clothes of someone pretending to be a queen. Instead, if she were smart, she could play the cards without anyone knowing she is in the game. Act shy, dress conservatively and pretend to be as small as possible. That way, when someone shows up dead, who would dare suspect sweet Jane?
Clothes do not just have to be something your character wears; they can be a disguise, a declaration of power, and a secret message. If a man wears a different flower in his pocket every day, that’s a way of communicating a message. If a woman wears all black after her son dies, that indicates she’s still in mourning and the death is a soft subject.
So the three questions you should ask yourself are; think of what is practical to your character, consider what the clothes make the people around think, and the third and final tip is to consider what the clothes say about the characters personality.
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2 thoughts on “Picking Clothes (For Novels)

  1. A.S. Akkalon says:

    The action characters running around in heels bugs me so much! (And not just because I can’t walk in heels.) Practical shoes if you plan to chase or be chased, people.

    Liked by 1 person

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