Well fit jeans on a man with a great butt … a piece of art. I’m so glad I am not the only one who thinks so. 🙂
I’ve noticed something recently that I’m pretty terrible at including in my stories: Clothes. I’m sure my guys wear clothes because there’s always that delay before the sex while they take their clothes off. But what exactly are they wearing?
T-shirts and jeans, apparently.
In looking back through my stories, those two items seem to make up the bulk of my characters’ wardrobes. T-shirts and jeans, jeans and T-shirts. Occasionally, it’s a long-sleeved T-shirt and every now and then I throw in a color like red or blue. I think that, once, someone wore cargo shorts. I might’ve mentioned socks a time or two. Generic boots or sneakers.
Oh and sometimes they have on underwear too, but it’s usually just anonymous briefs that one guy’s straining to get out of while the other’s dying to get into them.
I think part of the problem for me is that I don’t know the words, what to call some particular piece of clothing. Now that I’ve recognized this issue in my writing, I’ve started stalking the men’s section of online clothing stores. Not only do they provide the words I need, they’re in the business of keeping up with the trends that even the most fashion-oblivious man will own simply because that’s what’s on the rack — I’m the female equivalent, if you haven’t guessed that already.
OldNavy.com is nice for their latest trends and bullet points like “seven-button placket” which tells me just how many buttons there are to undo on this short-sleeved, blue plaid shirt… Before I get to the T-shirt underneath. *sigh* Anyway. JCPenney.com is good for two things: 1. Describing that a Classic Fit in their Dockers “sits at waist and is eased at seat, hips & thighs with slightly tapered legs,” and 2. Nine times out of ten there’s a photo of a guy actually wearing those pants so I can describe the details of creases, wrinkles, seams around various bulges without having to resort to staring at some poor guy waiting in line at Caribou Coffee.
I guess, not everyone appreciates that kind of attention.
I’m a little hesitant about getting one of my guys into/out of a suit. Those things are very complicated and seem to have their own vocabulary. Not to mention the fact that his number of clothing items just tripled with vests, belts, ties, cuff links, tie tacks… Oh. Actually, it could be fun taking the time to get him out of all that, couldn’t it?
There is a Wikipedia page all about the suit, from it’s history to the etiquette of wearing one in addition to thorough descriptions of a suit’s many parts. Sure, some of the information is for styles that would be for a specific time period, so they don’t apply all the time. But even though your character might not know what a vent is on his suit, it could be what tears during a little manhandling or what gets caught on a nail during an escape, leaving evidence behind. Having a nervous guy try to fill a silence by mentioning that it’s possible British King Edward VII started the trend of leaving the bottom button on a single-breasted, two-button suit coat undone. (Why? I’m thinking he needed that extra bit of room as he was a portly fellow.)
So, we know I suck at including much about the clothes my characters wear, but who’s doing it well? Some of my favorites include “Just for You” by Jet Mykles and “Taking You Home” by Cooper Davis.
In “Just for You” we get Justin who both works in a men’s boutique and later talks clothes with a designer and a fashion-savvy, potential suitor. That Justin is so comfortable discussing fabrics and patterns with other men who are definitely interested in Justin makes Kevin feel out of his league and adds to the tension between them.
In “Taking You Home” we see Hunter coming to terms with Max’s cross-dressing while Max comes to terms with that being what drove a wedge between himself and his father. It might not be men’s fashion, but the hurt and healing caused by the rejection and acceptance of clothing is integral to the growth of these characters and the ultimate connecting of their families.
While I may never reach the point where the clothes my characters wear are a part of the plot or their personal growth, I do aspire to give them reason to wear them, help make sure they wear them well, and then get them out of them. Not that I have anything against men running around naked all the time, of course, but they say clothes make the man and I’d like fully-formed men in my stories from now on.
Romance has always been the main theme of Missy Welsh’s writing, even when she was twelve and concocting little tales for her friends. She grew up watching tough-guy action movies with her dad and stealing her mom’s romance novels, so it seemed perfectly normal to pair up the two and see what happened. As long as there are men being brave and falling love, Missy plans to fantasize about them— Um, she means write about them.
Visit Missy online at http://missywelsh.com for a list of her latest books.
And to win a copy from Missy’s backlist, she is asking for a few recommendations.
Do you have stories that have a memorable moment related to clothing? A costume, uniform, fetish, or even just the fact the characters wore more than T-shirts and jeans and you definitely noticed? I would love to find more books where clothing is done well.
To enter, please comment below about a memorable scene involving clothes. Or do you have a particular look that you prefer your heroes in? Rough and tumble or dressed to the nines?
Open until Friday, June 29 at 11:59 pm (PST). Winner will be selected and notified on Saturday.