JAN:What with Wimbledon on, I was reading about the latest fashions for tennis wear -- which I admit to spending way too much money on, because HEY, you have to look good on the courts. That means pleated skirt if pleats are in, no pleats when they go out, and now of course, a tennis dress instead of a tennis skirt.
But it got me to thinking. How about writing wear?? Yes, or course, most of us sit down in front of the computer in our comfortable grubbies, but we do think about what we're wearing when we speak at book stores, libraries and conferences. We
think about what looks "writerly."
For example, I'll admit that I own a sheared fur jacket. I WOULD NEVER wear it to a writing event. And not because I'm afraid by being attacked with blood by PETA, because the jacket actually looks like it could be fake. The reason I wouldn't wear it is because in my mind, even fake fur is too flashy to be "writerly."
I generally feel most comfortable looking like a reporter, in dress pants and fitted, button down shirt. But I feel compelled to wear long earrings and jewelry. Not expensive jewelry, funky, arty jewelry.
So my question is this: What do you wear for writer appearances, and what exactly makes it writerly?
HALLIE: I want whoever walks into the book event to know which one of us is "the writer." So I do try to dress "up" - up from my usual jeans-and-T-shirt. Whenever I start promoting a new book, I treat myself to one special item (for Never Tell a Lie it was a long charcoal sweater from Eileen Fischer) that's gotta be washable and packable and no wrinkle, and then I wear it to death. Yay, funky jewelry! Hold the tiaras.
ROBERTA: Yes, what I wear at home should never be translated to the outside world! My hub works from home too now, and the two of us have to be the worst-dressed people in town. We have to remind ourselves to go up a notch when we visit the supermarket or the P.O.
But on the road, I'm with Hallie. I like to dress up a little--not like I was selling Mary Kay cosmetics, but a nice pantsuit or slacks and a sweater. And never, ever forget to wear the pin I had made with my cover on it and the cutest little charms...it's the best advertising I ever bought!
RHYS: I agree with Hallie. I want the person who comes into the store to know that I am "the writer" straight away. Also people who attend a speech or book signing have come with expectations. They want the writer to look good. How the writer looks good is up to her personality. Think of Barbara Cartland and her feather boas. I'm not the feather boa or the artsy-crafty type. In my case it's fairly tailored--either pant suit or interesting jacket and black pants, plus I often use scarves to liven things up (if only I could learn to drape them like the French do).
JAN: There's a book on scarf draping. I owned it once.
HANK: Oh, please. When I'm home writing? I have a t-shirt from the gap that says tiRED. And a baseball jersey someone gave me that says PRIME TIME. My lucky shirt.
At events I try to look like "the TV reporter." So suits, heels, pearls. And yes, scarves. (My theory is, they look best if you don't worry about them.) And I'll admit, I try to wear something that will photograph well.
I think it's also about respect--the wonderful people have come to see you! And if it's a signing where you're just introducing yourself as people come in--you've got to look like you're someone they want to meet.
And I've worn high heels every day all day for years--no problem. (Though I always have flats in my bag.)
JAN: I'm over six feet with heels, so I've avoided them most of my life. I WISH I could wear high heels. But if I could wear them, I'd probably reach right for the "floozy" models instead of the writerly ones. (that's what happens when you've been deprived.)
Anyone else out there have preconceived notions about what looks "writerly," and why?