When starting your book and introducing your characters how important is talking about the clothes they wear?

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Post by Guest »

In developing one of my characters in deciding just how quirky I want to make her. Deciding if her clothes would help the reader understand her better

Post by Andrea »

As a reader, I hate clothes descriptions. Probably because I find fashion boring in real life as well. I had to stop a book where I had to weed through paragraphs of sunflower blouses and bright red shoes. To me, it doesn't help with the character, because I don't understand fashion, I don't use it to assess people.

Post by Don »

I try to sneak in a few words about clothing and appearance if it doesn’t slow the pace. To me the most important thing is not IF you do it. It’s HOW you do it. You can get away with almost anything if you sneak it in under the readers nose when they aren’t looking.

Post by Mario »

Very. Justin Cronin told me once about character description, “Clothes, shoes, hair.”

Post by William »

Is what they’re wearing affecting the plot? Then not at all

Post by Ashley »

If it doesn't have a larger purpose, don't do it. Do it if it adds detail to the story or deeper characterization like noting how a character isn't wearing armor before a fight and has large muscles that the pov character finds intimidating. Never have a character look in the mirror and describe themselves. That's boring and overdone. Only have a character comment on what another character is wearing if there is a reason it should matter to them. Often, less is more when it comes to clothing descriptions. Most readers don't care about fashion choices. They care about the story.

Post by Tippy »

I was just talking about this today with my sister who is my biggest fan in reading my stuff. She said that when there is too much about the clothes she gets bored and closes the book. So I totally agree with Chelsea, if it is relevant to the story, yes, but if not, it just takes away from the plot.

Post by Shawna »

Only if it matters to the story. Currently I'm describing the woman's high heeled shoe because she's going to impale it in the wall and inch from a man's head she's arguing with.

Post by Caroline »

Depends if it's important to the book. Usually it's not, but sometimes it is. But if you don't describe the clothes, check to see if there are enough cues to let the reader make something up. For example, a farmer might dress in all kinds of ways, but if you introduce a character and say he's a farmer, readers will assume certain clothing. If that's more or less accurate, you're good, unless something about clothing is important for this story. If readers can't guess at all, you may need to help them out a little.
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