Friday, February 1, 2013

Fashion in Books

I loved Lola and the Boy Next Door for many reasons. One of them was the clothing. Lola's New Year's resolution was to not wear the same outfit twice. And she wore some pretty awesome clothes. And I was thinking about it, wondering why I liked it so much, and I realized why.

In so many of the books I've read, even just in my Summer Reading Project, the main female character is a t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers girl. And I have nothing against that, nor do I believe it is a bad thing in any way. I used to dress like that every day myself. But I find myself craving a bit more variety in the teen novels I read. It made sense in the last one, Pushing the Limits. Echo wore long sleeved shirts to hide her scars. But of the books I read this summer, the number that had girls like the kind described above was at least 12 out of the 34. The other ones, I either couldn't remember or there was some plot device/world building that restricted it.

Reading these teen books, there is a lot of importance put into caring mostly about what's inside. Totally commendable. But as a girl who dresses up in sorta fancy clothes on a day to day basis, and who has friends who love fashion and design, I really wish I saw more variety. Sometimes I feel like caring about your clothes is portrayed in a negative way. And I think that sends the wrong message. Of course, clothing shouldn't be your entire life. But it's not a bad thing to want to wear fancy clothes.

Maybe it cuts down on descriptions when clothing is simple. But I like me some lace and drop-waist dresses. Suede boots, dangly earrings. They're fun. And I'm not ashamed of it.


  1. I find with a lot of books, including my own writing, describing outfits just bogs down the narrative unnecessarily. It's not important information. (One book where it really jumped out at me and annoyed me was Hush, Hush.) The thing about Lola is that the outfit is actually important to the story in terms of showing us who Lola is (and later it kinda becomes a plot element in terms of creating the costume). But if they're someone who just pulls clothes on for warmth/modesty and only puts enough care into their clothing to make sure they look nice, it doesn't matter much what they're wearing, and "t-shirt and jeans" is a really quick and easy description that everyone can picture.

  2. That's what I figured the reason was. I still wish I saw more pretty dresses ;)