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Worldbuilding: Apparel

Clothes maketh the man.

From Sherlock's hat, cape, and pipe, to Poirot's impeccable suits, to Queen Elizabeth's ruff and crown, details about a character's wardrobe add richness and define who they are ... or who they wish to appear to be.

Do your characters dress to impress, rebel in leather, T-shirts, and jeans, or wear four-inch designer heels while chasing bad guys (Please stop!).

Here are ten questions to consider when designing the wardrobe for your cast.

1. Do people dress to conform or stand out?

2. What clothing items were available and popular at the time?

3. Do clothes indicate status or position?  What prejudices, judgments, status, or honors are attached to items of clothing?

4. What fabrics were possible and popular? Did they have weaving, synthetics, raw materials for wool, silk, cotton, or linen?

5. Are there uniforms? What do they represent?

6. How did they feel about nudity or skin exposure?

7. Were there fashion fetishes?

8. What is your character's preferred mode of dress?

9. Are clothes easily available? Do they have ready to wear? Do they have seamstresses or have to make their own clothes?

10. In a futuristic or magical world, what options are possible? Do clothing items serve special purposes?

Next week, we will take a deeper look at pigments.

For advanced world-building, the SBB Build A World Workbook is available in print and e-book.

Other titles in the series:

Story Building Blocks: The Four Layers of Conflict available in print and e-book takes you from story seed to conflict outline. The fourteen companion Build A Plot Workbooks, in print and e-book, offer step by step development prompts: ComedyCon, Heist & Prison BreakFantasyGothicHistorical,HorrorLiterary (Drama),  MysteryRoad TripRomanceScience FictionTeam VictoryThriller & SuspenseWestern.

SBB II Crafting Believable Conflict in print and e-book and the Build A Cast Workbook in print and e-book help you build a believable cast and add conflict based on the sixteen personality types.

SBB III The Revision Layers in print and e-book helps you self-edit your manuscript.

Free story building tools are available at  

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