…and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t dress like “Shakespeare in the Park”. Doest Mother know you weareth her drapes?
Excuse my inaccurate quotations.
Guess what we’re talking about today.
Yeah, characters do wear clothes, you know. Lots of clothes, usually. Sometimes, not so many. After all, some characters just can’t wear sleeves, because they have to show off their ham sized arms!
I love Avengers, by the way. LOVE. Especially Hawkeye, because he’s a guy with a bow and arrows. If he was a girl, I’d be like “modern Katniss get out of my sight!” Unless she-Hawkeye had curly red hair, in which case I’d say, “Prithee, Merida of the here and now! Shoot thy cupid’s bow into the mercury-stream of yonder robotic alien who seems set on destroying this thy earthly abode!”
Enough digressing, as much as I enjoy it.
While names are chosen for a character by others and are subtler hints (if you like to be a writer who puts extra meaning into everything,) clothes are chosen by the character. They are a direct reflection of who the character is…or who the character wants to be seen to be.
Let us take, for example, the notorious Discworld business rivals Reacher Gilt and Moist von Lipwig. They both know the importance of outward appearances.
Reacher Gilt. Look at him, with his long, dark, curly hair and beard, his eyepatch, his parrot, his flamboyant clothing…there is a business man! Well actually, he looks very like a pirate, and pirates are murdering thieves. But he couldn’t possibly be that, because he looks it! Here is the genius of Reacher Gilt, according to Moist. He tells the world what he is (through his appearance) and they keep giving him their precious pence and clacks messages. A villain who looks a villain and is a villain is too villainy to be true.
I love Discworld.
Oh, wait! Here comes the Postmaster, Moist von Lipwig! Appointed by Lord Vetinari himself! He’d be completely unmemorable if it weren’t for the blinding gold suit, winged hat, and captivating smile. He looks to be an avatar. He acts like a conman. He is a conman, and he works for the tyrant of the city. That is the genius of Moist.
Picture (minus winged hat):http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Making_Money_Lipwig.JPG
And the genius of Terry Pratchett. He has created two business rivals who are both the same sort of person, and through their accoutrements alone you can tell who they are, both as villains and as characters.
How do you dress your characters? Is it in line with their personality, or the one they are trying to portray? Do they change the way they dress as their personality changes? Like Violet, in The Incredibles….
I digress. Again.
There are other things to consider, of course, like culture, money, time period…but I don’t want to digress on those right now.