Do clothes make the character?

I was standing in front of a store window recently, staring at a display of coloured jeans. I will never buy coloured jeans. Not only because I prefer not to have a green apple-themed bottom, but also because of a certain university memory. I happened to be particularly broke on a day when my roommate went shopping with her mom’s credit card and brought herself home a complete rainbow of coloured jeans. And it’s possible that I may have had a little inner (mostly inner) hissy fit of jealousy that left permanent scars.


All of this got me wondering about other clothing moments. And I remembered being on a ferry in Greece with some friends. To while away the time, we made lists of our ten favorite things. My friend Adam’s top three were beer, olives, and grey T-shirts.

You have to admit, there’s something wonderful about a soft, grey T-shirt.

And all of this led to ideas about clothing and characters. When fictional outfits are described in detail, they’re usually the romance-novel variety (“the daring neckline of her satin sheath dress plunged deeply, highlighting the Delmar family emerald which lay glittering on its solid gold chain”) or the Nancy Drew (“after selecting a crisp blue pencil skirt and her navy cashmere sweater, Nancy set off to find her next clue”).

But, other characters must have their own clothing moments. Maybe a concert T-shirt that brings back memories? An outfit forced upon him by a parent? A too-small sweater she can’t bear to throw away?

Something worth exploring. After all, why should Danielle Steele have all the fun?

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