Threads, attire, hand-me-downs, drapery, apparel, or whatever you call what your characters wear, must define the character. Of course, the old saying goes, “Clothes don’t define you. You define the clothes.” That statement is true, but in books, clothing can make a character iconic. I mean, who can forget Harry Potter’s circular glasses? Personally, I love designing my character’s outfits. Anastasia Knight has a very steam punk look with her laced red vest with yellow buttons and tight black pants. If your character is a rebel, he or she might wear tight clothing. On the other hand, some characters with sweet personalities will wear pastels and flowing dresses. Whatever the case, your character should wear clothing that reflects his/her personality. Therefore, I have composed a list to help you:
For characters with a…
Sweet, generous personality: Try using bright colors and clothing that fits loosely. Floral patterns for girls.
Bland and melancholy personality: dark brown/black attire. If educated, he/she could be prim and neat. If not, he could have stains on his shirt from the last hamburger he ate. He could talk in a monotone.
Stubborn or rebellious personality: Black leather pants are always a good choice. Wild colors or bizarre fashion choices show that that character isn’t afraid to take a chance!
Silly personality: Bright colors and goofy clothes! He/She could wear clothes that sag or are not supposed to clash. He could wear a goofy hat or a bright tie. Your character could carry gags in his/her bag.
Fatherly/motherly personality: The commanding guy or girl. Always wants to boss people around. He/She is dressed to the nines or wears the proper clothing of the age. His tie is fixed properly and her skirt is pressed and ironed.
“Tough guy” personality: This could apply to a guy or girl. The “tough” guy is always stereotyped as a character who wears a black leather jacket and has piercings. Perhaps, he could have something like a flower tattooed to his shoulder to show his “soft side.”
Spunky personality: That friend who is loyal, reckless, and says what is actually on his/her mind. You could dress them in a t shirt and jeans, because he/she doesn’t care what people think! Or, you could dress them in something bold and daring. Don’t forget the loud patterns!
Dorky Personality: That friend who is shy and loves Star Wars a bit too much. He/She might carry a Superman lunch box and wears large glasses. He/she always has books and always has to correct everyone. This character wears his shirt ironed and makes sure every button is properly fastened. He wears his pants too high and always has this shoe laces double tied.
This is just a short list and very stereotyped. I just wanted to provide an example list to use as a reference and as inspiration when creating characters. Remember, A character’s clothing not only reflects his/her personality, but it also reflects his home. If your character is a slob, you assume that he lives in a very messy house, correct? If your character is prim and neat, you assume that his house is polished, right?
Characters must be true to their personalities, which must be true to their attire, which must be true to their home.
By designing your character’s clothing, you could find a secret that helps you become published. Share your thoughts in the comment section! How do you like to dress your characters? How does their “threads” match their personality and home?
Until Next Time,
S. G. B.