The Opera Box,
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1874,
Courtauld Collection, London.
(The male model is Renoir's [very suave] brother.)
They say that guys like to read descriptions of cars and guns, and male writers seem to place more emphasis on how clothing fits, before and behind, than on any colour, style or co-ordination -- but that women are keen on clothes.
I have always enjoyed dress details in period novels.
Descriptions seemed to fit with those milieus that place great emphasis on proper apparel to determine social strata and status.
Perhaps it's a female thing.
My reaction to descriptions of contemporary clothing, however, is more subdued; and my interest depends more on whether the character can run-and-jump within the restrictions of her outfits, and designer labels make me cross my eyes. They often sound self-conscious.
Still, the same social/character indicators provided by fashion apply, regardless of the time setting, and I usually read them with interest, if without any special enthusiasm.
I am exasperated -- for several reasons -- by Anita Blake's girlish indecision and fulsome descriptions over her wardrobe and her dress du jour and how she may conceal her specially modified pistol and clips.
Perhaps it's primarily because of the first person.
Perhaps because those passages smacked of the sloppy staring-in-the-mirror trick.
Perhaps third person is a more amenable POV for garments, raiments and garb.
I have noticed in my WIP that my own characters might as well be naked most of the time ( though I haven't arrived at that point in the plot.) My descriptions of clothing are cursory.
I don't think that is a Good Thing.
Visualization aids are a Good Thing.
I think I shall have to be more forthcoming.
How do you feel about clothing detail in novels? Does a lack of those descriptive items annoy you?
Yesterday I received a request from Lucy Orbach, the co-founder of BooksPrice.com, to publicize their site.
BooksPrice purports to provide a free service for finding the best price for new and used books, CDs, and DVDs, from on-line stores by means of real-time search engines and an RRS price watcher, as well as other features and tools geared to enable customers to compare and track such factors as shipping, currency and condition.
Since I am a recovering Luddite who just made a first purchase from Amazon ( having relied on my Tech-Children to navigate any cyber commerce needs in the past), I can neither vouch for nor verify the site.
I have no idea whether it falls under a caveat emptor or a carpe diem.
I do believe, however, that anything that expedites book buying is a Very Good Thing, and so I venture to mention the service.
Besides, though she assured me that the gift was irrespective of any vulgar quid pro quo, a charming best-seller book bribe was attached.