Saturday, 14 July 2012

How Important is Wardrobe?

I just recently started wearing dresses. Turns out I look really good in them, quite unlike what I look like in jeans. I spent most of my high school years wearing my oldest possible T-shirts with shorts at home (looking like a complete wreck) and bright tops with slacks outside. My school uniform- blue shirt, grey skirt, striped blue tie- took care of a big part of my wardrobe needs and I didn't need to think much about clothes for at least eight hours of the day, six days a week. Never mind that my school uniform made me look kind of, well, heavy. I've worn make-up only once in my life, on my school farewell party, because I knew there would be a lot of pictures. Besides that, I steer away from cosmetics, even things like simple eyeliner and pink lip-gloss.

No matter what I wear or don't wear, it doesn't change who I am inside. What do clothes have to do with anything? Of course, I'd love to look good all the time, but I don't let the clothes define me or anything. In fact I find the idea quite preposterous.

I have given a lot of thought to what Aria should wear, but I never came up with anything definitive. Her wardrobe isn't who she is. She wears different things on different occasions. Unlike all the other 'simple' heroines out there, she doesn't mind ditching her worn jeans and putting on a nice skirt. She's okay with being prettied up and getting a whole new closet full of things if that's what the situation demands. But I kept the no make-up rule on her, too. Just playing a little bit of myself into a fictional character who is actually quite different from me (I think).

Nova mostly dresses in black. She looks great no matter what she wears, but she chooses to keep her appearance 'kind of sleek' (as Aria puts it). I just thought black would highlight her already striking appearance and that's why I gave her the look.

I haven't written much about what Ismene wears, which is ironic because she is the design student in the group. At point in the story, she helps Aria design a knew closet for herself (you won't know why this happens unless you read the full story) and it becomes clear that she really can transform appearances with clothing designs. But still, she never seems to use the skill on herself.

When it came to the boys, I kept it simple. T-shirts and jeans, that's it. What else do guys wear anyways? And whatever they do wear, do we always really pay attention?

But how important is wardrobe in terms of defining a character. I understand if you're writing a period piece or a dystopian fantasy in which clothes need to be described just so a 21st century reader can picture a scene. But what if your story takes place right here, right now? Tell me what you think.


  1. I've had a few characters with signature styles, but if it doesn't say something about the character, I don't get too descriptive when it comes to clothing. Besides, styles change so much that it could date the book.

  2. Wardrobe is important for a character because it's the outward sign of character. Personally I love describing characters and what they wear. It's always good to try to describe it in action if you can. ie: "Rosa's full skirt billowed behind her as she sprinted."

  3. I t hink wawrdrobe is important because it does add to your character. My main character in the GL series is part Gypsy and loves to wear Gypsy skirts and accessories. Not only does it show she embraces her grandmother's heritage, which is cool since she's part angel, but it gives her a signature look. That's not to say she doesn't wear jeans and layered tees. She does, but her style comes across as boho chic. Then one of the guys likes faded ripped jeans, canvas and simple tees, another is a meticulous dresser and the girls, one is very fashion consious while another mixes and matches. I guess in my case, because I have these teen characters who fight demons together, their dressing styles adds to their characters.