I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to walk around naked. And, I’m assuming, neither do your characters.
Characters need clothes (duh). But not all characters dress the same.
Let’s take a historical period – Tudors. Women would wear long dresses, platform shoes if they were out, and often something on their head, like a bonnet or headdress. Men would wear big hats, long coats, shirts and those funny poofy trousers.
But that’s not all. There were jesters (I’m sure you all know what they look like), peasants in cloths and children would often just wear one full dress, especially if they were babies.
Nowadays, there’s a whole array of fashion. Crop tops, jumpers, jackets, t-shirts, long shirts, three-quarter length shirts, shirts with collars, button up shirts, pull over shirts. And that’s just tops.
You have shoes to think about, trousers (or ‘pants’ as Americans like to call them – actually, speaking of pants, you have underwear as well! Are your characters thong people?(!)), head wear, like a motorbike helmet, glasses, scarves, bags…
So when you dress your characters, keep in mind that they don’t all wear the same. One character might be a ‘chav’ – wear jogging bottoms, hooped earrings, cropped t-shirts. Another might be a more casual dresser, and wear jeans, a t-shirt and trainers. Another might be a cosplayer – seriously, imagine how much fun you’d have with that!
Even in historical contexts, not all characters dress the same. They might wear a different colour, have a headband whereas another does not, or have a different trim of lace.
The biggest difference between character’s wear is men and women – traditionally, the trousers vs. dress argument. Keep this in mind when you’re writing. If you’re going for a Mulan-like story, sure, your female character can wear trousers. But, more often than not, this wouldn’t happen. If you’re going for a real-life example, the only crime Joan of Arc was convicted of was wearing men’s clothing.
People don’t wear the same, so characters don’t either. In the novella I’m writing at the moment, one of my characters is going through a phase of wearing long, Lord of the Rings style dresses. Another just wears jeans and a t-shirt. Another likes shirts with collars. Another likes darker coloured clothing.
So mix-and-match with your characters clothing, and make them stand out.
More importantly, make them real.
Top tip: use a website like Doll Divine to have fun at creating different outfits. Sure, it seems childish, but it’s actually strangely addictive…
Questions, comments, thoughts? Shoot! 😀