Friday, May 25, 2012

What to (or not to) wear...

I've been somewhat away form my writing and editing this week. Not by choice. Memorial Day marks the huge anime convention here in my city and my teens *must* have new costumes. So, I've been sewing. And sewing. I even sat down at my computer to sew. It didn't work.

I've had a lot of time to think about clothing, though--and I began to wonder about the amount of effort writers put into what clothing their character wears. I know that I had to research for both my Roman and Druid time travels. I still adapted it, even after researching. In writing fantasy or science fiction, we have a lot of room to make up really interesting clothing--and use it as a tool for characterization.

For example, the standard princess of fairy tales usually wears a pretty dress. Put her in bone armor--and well, she comes across a bit differently. Or if Mr. Handsome Prince likes to wear chainmail underwear...

In science fiction, we tend to see practical clothing. Clothing with built-in gadgets or specialty fabrics and such. And lots of uniforms. Why is that? Just practicality?

Of course, we don't want to get so caught up in describing the clothing that we over do it, but I certainly like the added characterization possibilities that clothing provides. What about you? How do you research your clothing? Do you go by era? Or do you design something? Do you enjoy clothing your characters? Or is it superfluous?

What is *your* favorite costume to wear? Most conventions seem to have costumed parties, so I know lots of you guys (and me, too) like to dress up!

Ugh, I have to get back to work. My kids don't give me a reprieve for this deadline. I still have quite a bit of my oldest daughter's to finish, plus her assassin's fan to make. My younger daughter's is done, thank goodness.  Wish me luck.



  1. I write contemporary stuff, so clothing descriptions come from what I see day to day. I can't imagine the amount of research it takes to get the clothing correct for a historical novel. But I do appreciate the description when I read it. :-)

  2. I love that you make the costumes for your kids, and that they want them to begin with! As far as clothing, I have a background in theater so I understand completely the importance of how dress can develop/create/change a character. Even in the subtle little differences. For myself as a writer, I know clothing is important to each character. It's how I see them in my head, after all. If it's important to the story (cloth, seams, color, etc), I'll give a more description, otherwise, I'll write a general view and let the reader take it from there. Some people like this, others don't. Either way, it is a lot of fun to imagine (real or not) the costumes our characters will wear. Best of luck with your own costume creations, by the way!