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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Playing Dress-Up

As a little girl, one of my favorite ways to spend a rainy day was playing dress-up with my friends. My mom had a box of clothes, shoes, and jewelry that she’d bring down from the attic, and with my friends Nancy and Michele we'd transform ourselves into glamorous, grown-up women. With hats, gloves, shiny dresses, even high-heeled shoes and jeweled necklaces, we’d spend an afternoon on the covered porch creating imaginary, sophisticated versions of our young selves. What fun we had!

Now that I’m a writer, I can play dress-up again – with my characters. In almost every scene, there’s an opportunity to dress my characters however I want. Fancy, plain, sexy, demure, fashionable, dowdy – each garment selection tells a little bit about the character. That’s so much fun!

Here are a few wardrobe examples from BLUEBONNETS FOR ELLY:

  • When Elly turned to dust the table top, Marybeth Bagley sidled up, her flowered dress so severely tailored that she reminded Elly of an upholstered sofa.

  • [Elly] started out the morning in sweatshirt and jeans, but as the day warmed and her physical activity increased, she’d pared down to T-shirt and cutoffs. Now she wished she’d dressed a little better.
  • Here’s Elly’s wardrobe (same scene as above) from Derek’s point of view:
Derek stared in his rearview mirror and took another look at Elly as he left the driveway. That tight T-shirt fit her like a coat of paint, and when she bent to pick up the shovel and he’d caught a glimpse of pink panties cupping her butt, he was pretty sure his mouth fell open.

  • Jeanette shrugged out of her leopard-print jacket, draped it over the sofa’s arm, and lounged against the cushions, as if she intended to stay a long while. A red bra strap slipped down her arm, and she tugged it back into place. 

Three different characters with three different ways of dressing – uptight Mrs. Bagley, casual Elly, and slutty Jeanette. I had great fun dressing them for their parts. Maybe those years playing dress-up with Michele and Nancy have served a useful purpose after all. All I know is that playing dress-up is still fun.
Bluebonnets for Elly is available in paperback and ebook formats from




13 comments:

  1. Enjoyed your post. Dressing up as children is mining the imagination. What better proving ground for a writer?

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    1. Thank you! To me, part of the fun of writing is getting into that childlike state of mind and letting my imagination take flight.

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  2. Enjoyed your article. I have a photo of my brother and me with some of the old clothes my mother and aunts had used when they were in the orchestras. Gorgeous dresses. There was only one problem. In the photo, clearly my little brother had better legs than me as we were both showing them off!

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    1. That's too funny! I'd love to see those photos. Wasn't that a fun time?

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  3. Fun post Sandy! Oh how I loved to dress up...and I'd never thought what a wonderful basis that is to build characters!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Jacquie. Our inspiration can come from just about anywhere, can't it?

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  4. What a fun post, and I remember those scenes with Elly, Mrs. Bagley, and that horrible Jeanette.

    And I remember dressing up in my mom's clothes from the 30s...I thought they were so glamorous!

    Thanks, Sandy.

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    1. I'm so glad you remember those scenes! I had a great time "dressing" my characters.

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  5. Great post, Sandra. I love the photo of little girls playing dress up. I played dress up and so did my daughters. Stimulates the imagination.

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    1. Thank you, Caroline. I'm glad you enjoyed my post and related to my dress-up experiences.

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  6. We had a dress-up cupboard. It was in our basement playroom, in what which used to be our parent's bedroom back when the Grandmothers lived upstairs. The adjoining closet had some of mum's clothes including a beautiful silk dress and her wedding gown. She didn't tell us NOT to play with those.... until she caught us.

    The wedding gown was bad enough, but Mum really didn't want us playing with her sopisticated, pre-children party dress.

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    1. Ooops! I'll bet you had a great time... for a little while anyhow! Thanks so much for stopping by today and taking the time to leave a comment.

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  7. Thanks for the "dress-up" post, Sandy! Reading it made me realize that I've never outgrown that phase. My husband and I have been season ticket holders at the Seattle Opera for more than two decades. I look so forward to each performance, not only to listen to the glorious music, but to DRESS UP! I love to wear long gowns, evening gloves, silk or lace shawls, and very high heels that make my feet ache for a day after! Fun, fun!!!

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