Saturday, August 16, 2008

Clues in Your Clothes?

A friend who teaches flower arranging told me the first time she meets a class, she can guess how a person will arrange flowers by how they're dressed. According to her theory, a student in subdued, classic clothes will produce a tighter, more controlled flower arrangement. A student wearing lively, funky clothes will design a looser, more casual arrangement.

I laughed when my teacher/friend critiqued my first flower arrangement. She had me pegged! I had traditional Talbots on my back and a tight flower design on my table. I had proved her right.

Hm-m-m. Could her clothing theory ever apply to what writers produce?

Bet your thesaurus it can! Predictable me. Yes, I write tight prose. LOVE to ax unnecessary words. Rambling sentences? Never been mentioned in ten years of critiques.

Like all generalities, this can't be carried too far, but how we dress does have to do with personality. And our personality has something to do with what we choose for subject matter and how we write. Traditional vs. trendy? Concise vs. wordy?

Take Paula Danziger as another example. Her wacky, inventive clothes matched her written (and spoken) words.

So what's your writing style? Are there clues in your clothes? Do you prove or disprove this amusing theory?


  1. Hummmm.....thought provoking. I'm not sure if I prove or disprove the theory. I know I'm in between you and Paula Danzinger on the clothing scale - probably in writing too.

  2. If this is true, I should stop buying clothes from the Gap. This could be why there are gaping holes in my narrative.

    Seriously, I met with a publisher once who told me she could determine a writer's general personality by their talents. An introvert was more skilled at creating plots than characters.
    An extrovert was more skilled at creating characters than plots.

    When she asked me what my personality was, I said ambivert, which meant I must be good at both. :-)

  3. Interesting theory. I think I fall somewhere in between too.

  4. Does this mean that when working on subplots we should dress in layers?

  5. What a great marketing tool. Next time I go to a conference to meet and greet editors I will be sure to wear an outfit that matches my manuscript! What do ambiverts wear?

  6. Okay, I read this post and then had to think about my clothing style and my writing style and how they mesh.

    I definitely gravitate towards simple, casual outfits. And I think I do tend to write casual prose.

    Also I like cheery, happy colors. And most of my writing is pretty cheery and happy.

    And ten years of Orthodox Jewish day school left me with a lasting sense of "tzniut"-- modesty. Which probably matches with the fact that nothing I write is too edgy.

    But nothing I wear is ever too wacky, and some of my picture books definitely head in that direction, so I guess I've got some surprises up my sleeve too! : o )