Relationship with Clothes

            Think back to your childhood. What type of clothes did you wear? How much influence did you have in the purchase of your clothes? Did you have drawers full or only two outfits? Were your clothes stylish or faded and worn?

            How did you feel when you stepped out of the house? Were you ashamed or proud? Did you cover up your clothes with a jacket or strut about knowing that people were checking you out?

            Our relationship with clothes is formed in our early years. A child with few options might become an adult with closets stuffed and drawers overflowing. A teen who would only wear designer brands might choose the high-end brands as an adult.

            Your character’s preferences most likely stem from childhood options. While it isn’t necessary to detail every outfit your character wears, it is important to give readers a feel for how he dresses at varying situations.

            Your task is to write a story in which clothes are mentioned several times. Consider weather, situation and finances. Perhaps another character comments on an outfit or maybe she goes shopping and tries on dresses or slacks.

            Readers will want to see the design, the cut, the colors, the fit.

            Have fun with this one.

Clothing Selections

What we wear says a lot about us. Work clothes might be three-piece suits with ties and well-polished shoes. Or maybe jeans and a faded t-shirt. Or a uniform with mandated styles of shoes, hats and even jackets.

At home we might prefer to lounge in PJs, slippers, and robes. Or maybe shorts and light sweatshirts. Or perhaps nothing at all.

Church clothes range from casual  to dressy, depending upon the congregation’s understood rules. Swimwear could be sexy Speedos and bikinis or one-piece suits that provide protection for arms, chest and torso.

Your character has preferred styles of clothes. What he’s wearing when we meet him tells us quite a bit about him, therefore it’s important that you provide details without giving us a complete list. A few hints here and there will suffice.

Your task is to write a few opening scenes in which your character is wearing different outfits depending upon the activity. Remember to give details without boring the readers. Give them just enough that your character’s choices establish personality, but no more than that.

Have fun with this one.

Cleanliness Matters

First appearances are incredibly important. Snap judgements are made shortly after a person walks into a room. Same when we enter someone’s living space: depending upon neatness, we evaluate our feelings toward an individual.

Our characters are also defined by neatness. Well-groomed hair says a lot about how they feel about themselves. Same goes for the scrubby, dirty look that tells the viewer that either he hasn’t bathed in a while, or that he doesn’t care.

Your task is to create a credible description of your character. Think beyond clothes, hair, nails. Consider the state of the bedroom, apartment, kitchen. If possible, draw a picture of the individual and of the residence.

Next write a scene in which someone meets your character for the first time. How do people react? Describe the faces they make. The actions they make. Next take someone to the residence. Again, describe faces and actions.

Reread, looking for sufficient descriptors so that the reader clearly sees what you intend for her to see. If there are ambiguities, add information.

Have fun with this one.