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Monday, June 25, 2012

The Post That Shows My Age

The other day while walking my sister-in-law and I were talking about some of our favorite 80s stars. We had our music interests, like Debbie Gibson and Tiffany (hello - my first cassette I ever bought). I can't remember her first cassette because it is late and my brain is dead.

We talked about our crushes, like Johnny Depp and Kirk Cameron (I added Johnny Depp on my own - we didn't talk about him but I did love him then) and others that I also can't remember.

This got me to thinking about writing in a way that dates our characters. I recently read a book that was written in the late 80s/early 90s. The author described the clothing the MC wore and it kind of pulled me out of the book for a moment. Not only that, she seemed to have no idea what kind of clothing men find attractive and the fact that these guys would jump on the MC and say she looked hot baffled me. I have found that over time I tend to not enjoy when authors describe clothing or fashion in detail because what they may think looks classy may look trashy to somebody else. It also makes it difficult for future generations to understand. Is there a teenage girl today who would understand the allure of wearing a flannel shirt, pegged jeans, crimped hair, etc.? I don't think so. Would they understand throwing on jeans and a shirt? Yes.

Do you think adding clothing/fashion detail helps or hinders a story (other than in the historical category)?


  1. For me the clothing has to be a necessary part of the story. I see so many novels, especially from beginning authors that stop the plot and forward movement to detail every inch of clothing. Not Important. If it's part of the story, weave it in, but don't stop the forward movement.

    1. I totally agree! My mom and my daughter both have a way of putting way too many details into a story and it distracts me so much that I can't even listen to them. It is not usually necessary to include such detail.

  2. That is an interesting question. I think because I write MG fiction I don't really think about it much and so far I haven't put it into my story. I can see how jarring that would be to read and have dated fashion details in the book. But there are some books that I enjoy that part of. I remember reading Anne of Green Gables and reading about Anne's dream of having puffed sleeves. Of course, today those books are historical fiction so it's a charming detail. If I was reading about pegged jeans, I wouldn't think that's so charming, lol.