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.