Of course it matters. I’m not a closet nudist or anything.
But in our writing. Does it matter?
In Woven, I’m very generic. Cloaks, skirts, shawls, scarves. That’s the extent of my description except in one instance where I really wanted to capture the moment and try to give a good description of the MC. It was my way of avoiding the dreaded mirror trope.
But I have this very specific idea in my head for what the characters are wearing, what they look like. And I can’t find anything historically accurate for any time period that actually reflects what’s in my head.
With Curse of Life I have an even bigger challenge. This one is set in a desert clime. I initially pictured the MC in my mind dressed like Princess Jasmine.
Which is not historically accurate. So far as I can tell. You see, when it comes to anything- history, fashion history, culture, music, any of it- the internet doesn’t care about anything but Europe and America.
Which stinks. Because there’s a massive world out there to pull from. It’s varied, it’s vibrant, and it’s unique.
And that’s the problem.
So now I sit here at my desk with my head feeling ready to explode wondering if it really matters what my characters are wearing. Can I get away with being generic? I have an image inspiration for one character from Curse of Life but finding images for the other characters, for all the characters in every story in my head, is going to prove a greater challenge.
So far, I really like a variety of clothing styles. All of which stem from the 1700s-1800s and would really only work for the kingdom in which Woven is primarily set. Curse of Life has a greater fashion challenge and is the one making me question whether I really need to expend so many brain cells on it when I should be writing or editing.
What say you? Do you find clothing descriptions more helpful if they’re generic? Or do you like getting a hint of a specific style without the author going overboard on technical terms?