Clothing in Literature

This post includes edited content from a 2013 piece along with new material.

(Almost) every fictional character wears something, so clothing is a big part of literature, right? Actually, often not. But apparel can be unusually prominent in certain novels — and can say a lot about protagonists and how they’re viewed by others.

After all, a character’s garb might signify wealth or poverty, good taste or bad taste, a certain ethnicity, major life changes, flirtatiousness, machismo,and much more. So, let’s get in “gear” and cite some examples…

I’m still reading Irving Stone’s The Agony and the Ecstasy, and one memorable part of that biographical novel about Michelangelo is the contrast between him and another legendary artist — Leonardo da Vinci. Michelangelo (1475-1564) is the scrappy younger upstart who’s often too poor and always too obsessed with work to pay much attention to what he wears, while the more patrician da Vinci (1452-1519) dresses quite well.

Then there’s the scene in Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind in which Scarlett O’Hara wears a dress made from a green curtain. That illustrates her determined attempt to persevere during bad times, though it doesn’t help her get a much-needed $300 from Rhett Butler to pay the taxes on Tara.

Take away a “t” from the name Scarlett, and you have part of The Scarlet Letter title. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic, Hester Prynne is required to wear an outfit with a sewed-on “A” for adultery that obviously spotlights her outcast status, though Hester’s likable stoicism is such that we feel the “A” stands for “admirable.”

Also admirable is the down-to-earth title character in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre who refuses to dress like a wealthy woman after getting engaged to the rich Rochester — a big contrast to the finery worn by Blanche Ingram, the shallow snob Rochester was supposedly interested in. Jane even wears modest attire to her fateful wedding ceremony.

And the Jane Eyre scene featuring a certain major character dressed as a fortune-teller exemplifies how clothing can be used as a disguise in literature. Quite the case as well in Isabel Allende’s Daughter of Fortune, in which protagonist Eliza Summers disguises herself as a man to help get by in the male-dominated milieu of California’s 1849 Gold Rush.

It wasn’t the case with Jane, but one’s income usually affects the way a character dresses. There are few better examples of that than in the Mark Twain role-reversal novels The Prince and the Pauper and Pudd’nhead Wilson. If a rich person looks poor and a poor person looks rich, clothes are a big cue for buying into that mistaken identity.

When Delia Grinstead suddenly leaves her husband and almost-grown children in Baltimore to live in a small Maryland town, she buys a distinguished-looking gray dress that helps change her psychological identity from unappreciated homemaker to assured professional. That’s in Anne Tyler’s Ladder of Years.

Former Irani military man Massoud Behrani leaves his American abode each day wearing an immaculate suit before changing into a work outfit for his menial job picking up litter in Andre Dubus III’s House of Sand and Fog. Obviously, clothing can say a lot about ego, pride, and keeping up appearances.

In sports novels, the way characters look in uniform vs. everyday togs can be telling. Baseball phenom Joe Castle is the picture of youth and success in his Chicago Cubs uniform, but becomes a poignant figure in small-town groundskeeper garb after tragedy strikes in John Grisham’s Calico Joe.

Speaking of genre novels, it would take a whole other post to describe how important a person’s and a society’s wardrobe is in many time-travel, science-fiction, and fantasy books.

Novels can even have clothing references in their titles, which certainly give garments a prominent place in such books. One example is Herman Melville’s White-Jacket, named after a 19th-century naval uniform (military attire is often found in fictional works). There’s also Sloan Wilson’s The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, about matters such as conformity and materialism; and Ann Brashares’ The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

And clothing can be a major book theme in addition to something characters wear. For instance, Emile Zola’s The Ladies’ Delight is set in a 19th-century department store that sells all kinds of women’s apparel, even as that big-box behemoth devastates small shops and the surrounding Parisian neighborhood. Not a result that leaves readers in “stitches,” though the novel also has a romantic aspect.

What are you favorite fictional works in which clothing plays an important part? The comments area will include conversation “threads.” 🙂

My literary-trivia book is described and can be purchased here: Fascinating Facts About Famous Fiction Authors and the Greatest Novels of All Time.

In addition to this weekly blog, I write the 2003-started/award-winning “Montclairvoyant” topical-humor column for Baristanet.com every Thursday. The latest piece — about a big school-bonding ask and more — is here.

101 thoughts on “Clothing in Literature

  1. Another Wilkie Collins – Franklin Blake and that stained nightshirt – sinister, immediately Elizabeth Bennet’s muddy petticoat, Stained, torn, muddy clothing in general, bound to lead somewhere..

    Like

  2. OMG!
    Dave you have opened a can of moth larvae here.
    In every book I have ever read, I see all characters fully articulated by their clothing. Even if clothing descriptions were as vague as he adjusted his ascot. Perhaps this is why I got into costume design?

    First, if you hadn’t mentioned Scarlet O’Hara in the curtain gown, I would have.
    One Showtime movie I designed clothes for is based on the book “Good Fences” by Erika Hill.
    I read all books of any movie I designed costumes for, prior to reading the script.
    In this book, an upwardly mobile black middle class family moves into riches. However, the husband and wife come from the poorest of poor.
    The clothes are a symbol of their progress, as are their homes and more. The ending is astounding.

    I’ve never seen the movie, but let me propose the 3 part book “The Devil Wore Prada” by Lauren Weisberger.

    I’m envisioning a clothesline in 100 Years of Solitude. I believe there are women’s undergarments on it. Perhaps it is in the Pietro Crespi part? It’s been years since I read it, but the “clothesline” has stayed with me.

    Let me mention one of our own.. my fave … Shehanne Moore.
    Period driven, her stories are rife with clothing descriptions. I have been so enamoured by her use of clothing, that I have drawn most of her female characters.

    “Romeo and Juliette” uses a masquerade ball to hide people, more than to expose.

    A tween book that I’m sure you have never read is “The Cheetah Girls” by Deborah Gregory. It is about 4 girls from different backgrounds, ethnic and financial classes. They come together through music and costume.

    In the end, I will suggest “The Way She Looks Tonight” by Marian Fowler. Yes, I am suggesting a non fiction book. However, 5 women of style: Marlene Dietrich, The Duchess of Windsor, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Elinor Glyn and Eugenie Bonaparte are all documented. Their use of clothing was integral to all of their successes.
    It is one helluva fascinating read. I just had to include this.
    Thank you, Dave!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Resa! Wow, what a comment!

      Given that you’re a clothing designer, I can see that noticing the clothing of fictional characters would be a big thing for you. It should also be an inspiration for any reader — even if that reader has no connection to clothes other than wearing them. Because clothing choices (or not paying much attention to clothing) say something about any fictional character.

      I appreciate all the book mentions, whether fiction or nonfiction. And I love the mention of Shehanne Moore’s work. She is an amazing writer, and an immensely creative person.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dave Cinderella Fairy Tale..I was trying to find out who wrote it originally.

     “While this use of Cinderella story falls very close to the Perrault version of the fairy tale—a kindhearted orphan, a jealous adoptive-mother figure, two ugly female peers—these archetypes were dropped in later uses of the phrase Cinderella story.
    Charles Perrault from France wrote the story of Cinderella that is best known in its translated English version. ”

    Anyways, the whole world are aware of the story, either in the film version or read it somewhere.

    Basically after her Father passed she was at the mercy of her stepmother and stepsisters who treated her as their maid , she had torn and poor attire. But she refused to be upset. Then she met a dashing stranger in the woods and was invited to be at the palace ball where her stepmother prevented her from going.
    Then a magic wand gave her formal attire to attend the ball to reunite with the Prince.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Bebe! The Cinderella story is an excellent example of the importance of clothing in some literature. Glad you mentioned it!

      And, yes, the general idea a classic “fairy tale” might not be the creation of one person, though one person’s version of it might be best known.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Henry James wrote more than one strange tale, though his “The Turn of the Screw” is his most celebrated. “The Romance of Certain Old Clothes” concerns two sisters, rivals for one man’s affections, and after, a trunk full of textiles and clothes left by the sister who married him, now dying, to her infant daughter, and promised by her husband at her deathbed, to be opened only upon her maturity. The surviving sister, now having married her dead sister’s husband, and the family falling on hard times, decides to open the trunk and make use of the contents.

    More than what she could have possibly expected awaits her once the lid is lifted.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Here’s an obscurity by the literally irrepressible Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, most famous for “I put a Spell on You” It just might be the most outlandish songs about clothes in r&b!

    A forty gallon hat
    And some polka-dot shoes
    Tomato pickin’ onion juice
    To drive away my blues
    A bright red leather suit
    A trip in a motorboat
    And the strike I caused on the waterfront
    When I fell outta my yellow coat

    Hey now, stick with it
    Aw baby don’t quit it
    You know you’re bound to git it
    Yes sir, made outta goat skin, foreskin
    And laid out in milk and gin (chorus)

    The people quit the scene
    Like the devil was loose
    The clouds turned green
    And let down lemon juice
    What walks on two feet
    And looks like a goat?
    That crazy Screamin’ Jay
    In a bright yellow coat

    (chorus)

    I took a plane out midwest
    To see my Uncle Joe
    We ran into some real bad weather
    Ice, rain and snow
    Fifty million bulldogs
    Twenty mountain goats
    All gathered ’round at sundown
    To see my yellow coat

    (chorus)

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Scarlett’s curtain dress, a symbol of pluck and rebirth and moxie, always stirs up a laugh in me, as I am saddled, like Bonnie Blue’s pony, with the memory of Carol Burnett’s spoof,”Went With the Wind!” in which Starlet’s dress– designed by Bob Mackie– retains the curtain rod across the shoulders in back.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Some items of clothing are larger than others– for example, “We all came out from Gogol’s “Overcoat”,” wrote Eugene-Melchior de Vogue, a man who had the cloak of greatness, like Akaky’s coat, stripped from him when successive generations preferred to believe Dostoevsky to have said so. As he was describing the numerous practitioners of Russian prose, that’s one voluminous covering, and there may be a legion of pockets inside!

    (Me, I thought Nabokov had said it. [When in doubt, look it up!])

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, jhNY!

      “The Overcoat” — that is a great mention VERY relevant to this topic. Gogol’s short story is excellent and, as you note, was highly influential. I appreciate the information about who said that famous quote.

      Liked by 1 person

          • If I had to pick one, off the top of my head it would be Bunin’s “The Gentleman From San Francisco”, but like the fellow says, de gustibus, etc.

            There’s liable to an agenda, personal most likely, behind Nabokov’s literary preferences, heroes and villains, especially Russian ones. I suspect family lineage matters most.

            I’ve been reading his notes on “Eugene Onegin” daily of late, and, while uniformly revealing and informative, the man himself enters in to declare verses weak or fine, or to rate Pushkin’s contemporaries, French novels and novelists, etc.

            And in what I think ranks as one of the longest notes I have encountered thus far (I’m at the beginning of Chapter 5),while speculating as to the identity of a man with whom it is likely Pushkin dueled with pistols, he manages to get in a description of a Nabokov family estate, his own boyhood ramblings around it, and the illustrious neighbors and relatives nearby. Personal,yet pertinent, but barely.

            Liked by 2 people

              • Speaking of Eugene:
                “At least three hours he peruses
                His figure in the looking glass;
                Then through his dressing room he’ll pass
                Like flighty Venus when she chooses
                In man’s attire to pay a call
                At masquerade or midnight ball.”
                (the Falen translation)

                Liked by 1 person

                • “And here I had the fortune of seeing Mr. Pushkin, who, in a manner of speaking, surprised me by the strangeness of his dress, to wit: he wore a big hat of straw, and a peasant shirt of red calico, with a sky-blue ribbon for sash. He carried an iron club. He wore his side whiskers very long; they looked more like a beard, and his fingernails were also very long: with them he kept shelling [sic] one orange after another and ate them with great appetite; I daresay he consumed half a dozen of them.”

                  This is a description supplied to posterity by a local merchant, who ran into the author at Pushkin’s country estate. The iron club he carried as a means of strengthening his shooting arm in preparation for a duel he intended to undertake with Fyodor Tolstoy, in consequence of Pushkin’s having heard that Tolstoy had repeated a rumor against him– that he had been flogged on orders from the Tsar.

                  Liked by 1 person

  8. Patricia Highsmith’s book “The Talented Mr. Ripley” was very much about clothes. In fact, the scene where Tom Ripley dresses in Dickie Greenleaf’s suit is straight from the book, and if you’re interested here’s a link should you care to adopt Mr. Ripley’s style. I must say there are some really nice items, although very pricey in my opinion: Great post, thanks Susi https://besnard.co/blogs/journal

    Liked by 2 people

  9. A great post, Dave, one that had me thinking before I added my comments to this discussion. Clothing and fashion is one of the most important aspects of the human experience from the very beginning. Much of world trade was focused on finding the materials to clothe our bodies, from silk, to linen, to wool, to cotton. The wool and cotton mills of the Industrial Revolution led to a democratization of fashion and now we have entered the phase of “fast fashion” – but that is another conversation.

    I am currently reading “The Fabric of Civilization – How Textiles Made the World.” The premise is that the story of humanity is the story of textiles. The need for textiles has driven technology, business, politics and culture.

    Resa McConaghy’s blog https://resamcconaghy.com/ is a wonderful place to feel glamour and power of dress.

    Fashion/clothing is complex and emotionally intense because we make personal statement with what we wear. It is also a way of finding belonging and community.

    These quotes underscore the emotional connection to clothing. (You know I can’t miss a chance to add a quote or two LOL)

    “Charles went to kiss her shoulder.Leave me alone! she said, you’re creasing my dress.” Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary

    “But please hug and kiss me, everyone, and don’t mind my dress, I want a great many crumples of this sort put into it today.” Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

    “Eugenia never wears modish gowns. She says there are more important things to think of than one’s dresses.””What a stupid thing to say!” remarked Sophy. “Naturally there are, but not, I hold, when one is dressing for dinner.” Georgette Heyer, The Grand Sophy

    And my personal favourite:

    “And now, I’m just trying to change the world, one sequin at a time.” Lady Gaga

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Rebecca! So much in your excellent comment. 🙂

      Yes, clothing and fashion are integral to human beings, their history, commerce, and more. What you’re reading (“The Fabric of Civilization – How Textiles Made the World”) seems VERY relevant to that.

      And I totally agree about Resa’s blog. Always wonderful to read the words there and to look at her and others’ creations there. She is immensely talented as a gown designer, street-art photographer, and more.

      Great quotes by you (“Fashion/clothing is complex and emotionally intense because we make personal statement with what we wear. It is also a way of finding belonging and community”) and others!

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Very interesting topic. I appreciate your essay and the comments. As for novels I have read in which an article of clothing was significant: The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas, Rebecca (and the disastrous costume party as well as the hairbrushes) by Daphne Du Maurier, and The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, vanaltman! I appreciate the excellent mentions — and “The Robe” has an article of clothing in its title. 🙂

      “The Hunger Games” was quite an intense, interesting trilogy; you’re right that clothing was very noticeable in it.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Dave, I have thought about this topic a bit and have a few additional thoughts to those already shared:
    Dracula in Bram Stoker’s novel is described as wearing a cloak, and when he crawled down a wall, it formed behind him like bat wings.
    Then there is Heidi and the description of how she is made to walk up the mountain wearing all her clothing, one item on top of another, and how she discards them so she can be free like the goats.
    Peter Pan in the original novel is described as wearing clothes made of skeleton leaves and playing the pipes.
    Clothes and accessories play an important role in Brave New World as the Alphas and the Betas are expected to consume to keep the economy going.
    In 1984, Winston, and the other Outer Party members are required to wear blue overalls.
    In A Gentleman in Moscow, Nina is described as having a penchant for yellow with a passion for hearing about princesses and their lives.
    A great topic, Dave.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you, Robbie! Various terrific examples related to this topic! You especially created vivid word pictures with the Dracula and Heidi mentions.

      Speaking of dystopian novels like “1984” and “Brave New World,” there’s also the clothing that handmaids are forced to wear in the gruesomely patriarchal society of Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” (something one of the commenters on my Facebook page mentioned). In Atwood’s sequel “The Testaments,” too.

      Liked by 3 people

  12. As an aside to your great piece, I had the good luck to attend a talk by The History wardrobe company, on the clothes Mr Darcy wore. It was an eyeopener: the layers! The daily laundry! It was a full time job keeping D clothed daily.

    Liked by 3 people

      • The beginning pages of Penelope Fitzgerald’s “The Blue Flower” describe the Spring laundry of a wealthy noble household, when linen was liberated from the laundry press (or presses), washed and hung all over– over 100 pieces!

        That was another way around the daily task: a plethora of garments, which of course, few could afford.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi Dave, I’m all about the clothes at the moment with bits of research I’m doing so this is quite a fascinating post for lots of reasons! I got to thinking about ‘The Woman in White’ by Wilkie Collins. First of all there’s the ghostly element to the way she dresses and then, if I remember correctly, it is indicative of class/status, but are these clothes the cast offs of another young woman? I can’t recall. And then there’s ‘The WomAn in Black’ by Susan Hill. Apart from symbolising mourning the clothes are also described as old fashioned, adding to the supernatural element of the story. In ‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding the school uniforms of the boys symbolises the link to the ‘old’ world, but as time passes and the social order disintegrates, so they discard these items that link them to their school days (probably aided by salt water and sun as well of course)! And then finally on a much lighter note, ‘The WomEn in Black’ by Madeleine St John. I absolutely loved this story about a young woman who, in the 1950s, goes to work in an Australian department store. Clothes, in this case, are transformative and she emerges out the other side with more confidence and on the path to independence.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Sarah! MANY great mentions!

      Clothes were indeed memorable in “The Woman in White,” and, if I’m remembering correctly, the villains in that novel also dressed distinctively. The major villain — Count Fosco — was an amazing character creation.

      School uniforms have all kinds of forced-to-conform connotations, and “The Lord of Flies” take on that you interestingly mentioned is a memorable one.

      Lastly, if clothes make a good person more confident (in a novel or real life), there’s nothing wrong with that. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Sarah, it’s nice to see you. I wouldn’t have thought of Lord of the Flies, but your comment is spot on. The uniforms of the school boys do have meanings and, if I remember correctly, Jack’s choir all wear long black cloaks with a silver cross on the breast to signify their elevated status.

      Liked by 3 people

  14. Oh, i just love dressing characters to reflect their personalities or lives. It’s a biggie for me because it’s an epic opportunity to say so much about that character. You’ve mentioned some biggies here. Scarlett and the curtains are certainly memorable and look at all the carry on she has re the widow’s weeds. I was always fascinated by Miss Havisham’s attire. I could never help thinking Pip must have well seen it in the dark, cos by the time he did see it, I can’t imagine it being anything other than minky rags and tatters. (Unless she wheeched it off behind the scenes and washed it.) Anyway, great post.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you, Shehanne!

      Dressing characters to reflect their personalities and lives can be a great “perk” of being a novelist. 🙂 A lot of authorial power there. 🙂

      Yes, clothes (usually black, of course) worn by widows can be evocative.

      And, yes again, Miss Havisham’s garb is distinctive — and most likely a good idea not getting close to!

      Liked by 3 people

      • Yep. A lot of perfume needed. But then I guess again at the time Dickens wrote, people prob didn’t wash their clothes to the same extent. Of course i am not talking the miss havisham extent but eve so, I must do a blog on how I’ve used clothes in books, cos when I think about it, they’ve been a focal point. The one I’m working on, well, she basically has lived on the road and I gather at that time, the women especially who did that, sewed pockets galore inside their coats and these pockets held everything, pins, needles, string, hankies, laces, combs, the lot, and I got that info from old newspaper reports re ‘road’ women who had basically been attacked, or murdered. Lol, I hope you don’t think I’m nicking your blog idea !! it is just such a great blog subject. Also, when I took one character back to Georgian. times, the scope was that women were shaped differently, smaller etc, and the clothes and footwear were entirely different shapes. o that is an aspect of time travelling books I guess.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Thank you, Shehanne! I loved your detailed, wide-ranging comment — and please do that blog idea if you’d like! It would be fascinating to read something like that from a novelist’s perspective, and of course you (along with the interestingly clothed hamsters? 🙂 ) would do a wonderful job.

          Yes, clothing, the process of making clothing, people’s bodies, hygiene, etc., were so different back in the day.

          Liked by 2 people

        • In the Mississippi delta in the first third of the 20th century and before, Black women kept money in what was termed a Nation sack. The word ‘nation’ referred to an Indian reservation of Chickasaws, if I remember right, in the area, so the practice must have originated there. The Nation sack was tied around the waist and hung between the legs and under the dress.

          In Tennessee, where I spent my adolescence a half-century ago, there were still country women who tied a Bull Durham sack with their money inside to a bra strap, and tucked it beneath the cup so as to keep it safe.

          Liked by 1 person

    • HI Shey, Miss Havisham was the first character that came into my head when I saw this topic. That creepy wedding dress is unforgettable. Magwich is also dressed as a convict when Pip first encounters him with broken shoes and a leg iron around one ankle (if I remember correctly).

      Liked by 3 people

  15. Great post! Wilkie Collins’s No Name comes to mind. There, Magdalen disguises herself twice (once as a much older woman), and she is only too aware of the power of appearances and dress especially when she says this in the story, persuading a servant to take the role of a lady: “Shall I tell you what a lady is? A lady is a woman who wears a silk gown, and has a sense of her own importance. I shall put the gown on your back, and the sense in your head.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Diana! A great mention! I finally read “No Name” a year or two ago, and it’s a tremendous novel. That’s a fantastic quote you cited by Magdalen, who’s an incredibly resourceful protagonist. Wilkie Collins created some very strong female characters, also including Marian Halcombe in “The Woman in White” and Lydia Gwilt in “Armadale.”

      Liked by 2 people

  16. A theme close to my heart, Dave. Not to make too much a point of my love of fashion and dress in general, I would refer your readers to Virginia Woolf’s brilliantly outrageous novel ORLANDO. A nobleman changes to a beautiful woman (and back), traveling through the ages. The perfect setting for Woolf’s criticism of female dress as a means of holding women back, disciplining (and seducing) them into paying more attention to the wearing of attire than to getting a hold of the world around them. A typical quote from the novel: “If we compare the picture of Orlando as a man with that of Orlando as a woman we shall see that though both are undoubtedly one and the same person, there are certain changes. The man has his hand free to seize his sword, the woman must use hers to keep the satins from slipping from her shoulders. The man looks the world full in the face, as if it were made for his uses and fashioned to his liking. The woman takes a sidelong glance at it, full of subtlety, even of suspicion. Had they both worn the same clothes, it is possible that their outlook might have been the same.” The novel brims with references of how clothes may undo the woman (rather than make the man). I’m afraid we haven’t made much headway since ORLANDO saw the light of day (1928).

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Dingenom Potter! That’s a fabulous mention. Clothes are definitely a factor in gender-fluid novels — also Jeffrey Eugenides’ “Middlesex,” Abigail Tarttelin’s “Golden Boy,” etc. And, yes, women’s clothes can often be physically and psychologically restricting, impractical, etc. — especially decades/many decades ago.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Excellent topic Dave.

    In today’s world allow me to talk about Ukraine. Once an affluent Country is shredded to nothing by this Monster Putin.
    When is it going to end ?
    As we read all the refugees fleeing the Country, Women and Children as Men stayed behind. One only needs to look at their attire. Each and everyone looks so well groomed with good outerwear.
    And now they are homeless with children and so many times with pets carrying them with one luggage.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Interesting topic, Dave. In the three countries where I’ve lived and worked, clothing plays an important role in how we are perceived, and subsequently treated, by others. For this reason, when I wrote my debut novel, Under the Tamarind Tree, I also used the differences in clothing to reveal the social contrast between the working-class male protagonist and the antagonist, his estranged oldest sister who had married into the local upper-class society.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Rosaliene! Sounds like you made VERY good use of clothing differences in “Under the Tamarind Tree”! And living and working in three countries would give an author really valuable conscious and subconscious awareness of how clothing affects the way a person is perceived.

      Liked by 2 people

  19. Interesting timing for your post on fictional characters’ clothing. I was working on that very thing this morning with two minor characters. (And having a bit of a struggle.)

    If I remember correctly, there was a big emphasis on clothing in Madame Bovary, particularly what Emma had and what she coveted. Clothing is playing a very big role in War & Peace as well to reveal character quirks and social class.

    Liked by 8 people

    • Thank you, Liz! Always glad when timing serendipitously works out. 🙂 Good luck with those two minor characters!

      Very interesting to hear about clothing in “Madame Bovary” and “War and Peace.” I read both novels long enough ago to have forgotten most of those books’ wardrobe details.

      Liked by 4 people

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