I find myself glossing over what my characters are wearing in scenes. There's an opportunity to give away subtle secrets about your characters here. You can let your readers know, not only what your characters are wearing, but how they are wearing them. A person can wear a pair of jeans, but are the jeans worn smartly, really, does anyone know what that term means--really. Perhaps, wealth, pride, good taste, gives a rip.
Or the jeans might have holes in the knees, think Allen Jackson. Also think sloppy, trendy, laid back.
There are some crime novels where the main character wears nothing but name brand, Italian, three-thousand dollar suits and yummy silk ties. Where their fellow detective are rumpled in their, off-the-rack from Sears, ill-fitting suits and wrinkled ties with red sauce stains.
That brings up ties. Are they red power ties, brightly colored ties that match the pocket scarf? Or are they, like above, wrinkled and spotted.
Shoes? Well, it's not something I'd mention unless the detective with the expensive, name-brand shoes will soon be walking through muck. If he thinks about his ruined shoes, or complains about entering, said muck, due to his shoes, that suggests a bit about his personality.
Women are fun to dress, well, smart professional suits, or just slacks and a button-down shirt. Seductive, or stiff, fancy dresses that plunge at the neckline and come up short in the hem. I'm thinking, racy, or slutty. What fun, yet how hard if you're not schooled in popular fashion trends yourself.
Don't forget accessories, for men as well as women. You can't miss with the man who wears an earring, a fist full of diamond rings and flashy bracelets, pimps or mobsters come to mind. The Rolex screams wealth, or thief.
For a woman, she either wears god-awful pendants, or hearts on delicate gold chains. Wears sneakers, or stelletos. And don't forget about piercings. Those speaks volumes about your character's, well, character.
Here's a list I got from Writing4Success Tipsheet, Tipsheet No. 145 March 2009 where you'll find another perspective and more ideas, and a pretty good source of information.
Some suggestions for lists:
Designers/Brands/Bargain Stores. (See below.)
- Clothing Catalogues from companies that specialize in hiking/camping/fishing/extreme sports/everyday sports/outdoor activities.
- Colours. (Be creative about the way you describe colours. Think like an artist: be accurate. Take a tip from the copywriters who look for ways to invoke a colour in the reader's mind. For example, not 'orange' - but 'pumpkin'. Not 'warm brown', but 'copper'. Not 'red', but 'ruby, or 'crimson', or 'scarlet'. Not 'blue', but 'cerulean'. You can come up with creative descriptions by relating colour to food: 'At first he thought her shirt was black, but then he saw it had a purple tint, like an eggplant'.)
- Fabrics. (To know what different fabrics are called, look for ads from craft stores/fabric stores. Note how clothes are described in catalogues. Look for reviews of fashion shows - how do they describe what the designers came up with?)
- Shoes. (So many of them! Joggers, sandals, flip-flops or thongs (depending on which country you're from), stilettos, polished leather shoes, loafers, boat shoes... again, look for catalogues from different stores.)
- Cut and style. (Do clothes flow, pull tightly, or stretch? Do they fit your character or not? Are they comfortable - or will your character wear anything to be fashionable or accepted, whether they feel comfortable or not?)
For a good resource, if you, like me, are a little short in the fashion sense, go here. Shop a World of Catalogs You'll also find catalogs for home decor as well as almost anything else your characters might need.
I hope this gives someone out there some help. I've learned a lot just talking about it, as usual. I never mean to come off as an expert. A lot of times, I'm writing about subjects that I need help with and I find writing about it and doing some research on subject, helps me as well.