Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dressing the Part

Clothes. We probably all give some thought to this subject at least once a day, right? I love clothes, and with Halloween coming, my first thought isn't scarfing up the mini-chocolate bars that the trick-or-treaters leave behind ... uh-uh, it's "Oh boy, I get to dress up!"

This carries over into my writing life, too. Over the years, it's become part of my process to get into the clothes that my main character would wear. For a while, I tried writing Regency historicals, so I went and got the Regency dress pattern from La Mode Bagatelle and made an afternoon dress and an evening gown. You would be astonished at the insight you get into a character from wearing her clothes. That Regency corset made this body do things it had never done before, LOL!

And when I made a Victorian ballgown, suddenly I knew why mothers of that period insisted that a lady's spine should never touch the back of a chair. Um, it can't. In a corset, you can't slouch. And in a bustle, you have to sit on the edge of the seat. So your spine literally can't touch the back of the chair no matter how hard you try. But I have to say, my posture was great. But I understood in those clothes just how confining they are--bending over or going to um, the ladies room, is an effort that takes careful concentration. And girls back then used to play tennis in their corsets! My hat is off to them.

Now I'm moving into Amish fiction under a new name (Adina Senft), so what did I do? Yep, I went on eBay and ordered a set of Amish clothes (who knew you could do that? I love technology). I got a glimmer of the "plain" mindset, which doesn't use buttons. You pin your dress together with straight pins, and pin the apron and cape on. You pin the prayer covering on your hair. Suddenly I have new and interesting details to write into my story--details that other women who are interested in clothes might be interested in learning.

Clothes say a lot about a character. What do yours say about you?



Debra Weiss said...

My clothes tend to say, "I had five minutes to pull something together so I did." I wear a lot of short sleeved polos and jeans. Flip-flops if the weather is nice and sneakers if it's not. That tends to be my style. :)


Sierra said...

I usually wear Jeans as much as I can.I feel comfortable in jeans and they feel so nice.:)
They feel like family and they somehow remind me of friendship and that I am a people person and a talker.They make me feel like myself.
I have read your It's All About Us series(My favorite was Carly's) and I would like to interview you if and whenever you feel comfortable.
The interview would be posted on

I have also recently interviewed Stephanie Morrill.
That was a really cool post!
I would never wear a corset :P
Wayyyyyyy to tight for me.