Hopefully your characters are not wandering around your story unclothed and exposed to elements. And even if fashion is far from the focus of your story, hopefully the reader can picture what they wear.

Fashion doesn’t have to be the focus of your story, but it is important. Description is vital to what your reader sees, and maybe you aren’t focused on every little detail of the clothes. But when you are world building, some care into what they wear makes sense.

Of course how detailed you get with creating your world is up to you. You may want to know exactly what materials are used to make fabric and who supplies it. Maybe you have a history of the evolution of fashion for your world. Some of those details may be highlighted in your story, some might not be. But in a story that doesn’t focus on those details, are the clothes still important?

I am not a fashion expert by any means. I enjoy shopping and I happen to like standard “chick flicks” that focus on fashion, but it’s not a passion of mine. In fact when it comes to my writing, I use basic descriptions with my character’s clothes. I don’t have much rhyme or reason to what they wear other than it seems fitting for the character, and where they live in the world.

Having basic descriptions of your characters’ clothes is important, though make sure there is consistency. Your world needs to make sense, and what your characters wear have a purpose. The purpose is to help create the environment. To help the reader visualize. And when done right, to create a reaction. Maybe you want your reader to hate what one of the character wears, or maybe you want your reader to already begin to visualize the cosplay they can make someday.

I don’t often remember what book characters wear, and that’s okay because that’s not often the point. That’s understandable since the focus should be on the character development. However, there is someone who is an expert on characters, worlds, and fashion. Gail Carson Levine. I have read her masterpiece Ella Enchanted several times. Even without reading it over and over again, I think it would be easy for the reader to visualize and remember the fashion and colors of her vibrant world. She describes not only what Ella wears, but why she wears certain gowns. It helps us to understand the character and it puts us in her head.

World building and descriptions have a lot of details, and the details you highlight are always up to you. It should be your personal preference, because it’s your story. If you don’t want to worry about what your characters are wearing, keep in mind that the reader does want to visualize them. Keep the description basic, and move on. If you are more inclined to be more detailed, the sky is the limit – just make sure it makes sense for the world you created, and doesn’t stop the scene and flow of words. You are the author, and it’s your world, and your fashion.