[LMB] OT: Why, oh why do woman mystery story writers seem to be obsessed with clothes???

Corrina Lawson corrinaannelawson at gmail.com
Mon Dec 2 22:02:08 GMT 2019


Coming from the viewpoint of someone who writes a seamstress as a
protagonist in a steampunk story (The Curse of the Brimstone Contract, A
Hanging at Lotus Hall), and from someone who didn't pay that much attention
to clothing because, well, I'm good in t-shirts, jeans, and sweatshirts, it
was eye-opening to do so much research into clothing. Not just the clothes
themselves but the history of it, how it was used as a political weapon
against women, and how women took some of it back to weaponize.

Bra-burning was apocryphal, but the pushback against restrictive bras and
girdles was not. Women wearing miniskirts were often making a political
statement, as were men in leisure suits and Nehru jackets--out with the
old, in with the new, in the latter case, though the new didn't last too
long. One comes to the conclusion that men's suits haven't changed much
over the last 100 years because they're still seen as a power move, whereas
women have had to pushback/assimilate more elements as their role has
changed in the U.S., particularly.

You can learn so much about a society when studying what people wear--and
with micro-societies as well. That's one of the elements of the excellent
"Pose" television show.

That said, of course, you can go overboard describing things as a writer.
While my character can tick off the exact list of clothes people are
wearing, for the sake of pacing, often she notes the quality of the fabric,
the cut, and the stitching.

And I have gained a newfound and profound respect for designers who work on
films and television shows.

Corrina
Who's enjoyed following this whole conversation.


More information about the Lois-Bujold mailing list