There's an old proverb that states that clothes maketh man. This can mean all sorts of things, but in this case, I'm taking it to mean that what a man wears on the cover of a book (and in between the covers for that matter) helps readers form an impression of what sort of person he is.
"Wait," you might say. "He's the hero. That's what sort of man he is." True, but heroes come in so many different styles. Your action hero might well show up in a pair of jeans and a tight singlet top. He might be streaked with oil, mud, or blood. Okay, so that's Bruce from Die Hard. In passing, Bruce Willis has an interesting face for a hero. It's a blunt everyman face, but surprisingly expressive. No one does pained or about-to-quip quite like Bruce.
Now, consider putting an action hero in a kilt (with or without a shirt) and streak him with mud, blood and woad. Ri-i-i-ght. That's probably Mel from Braveheart. But still, you see what I mean.
Put your hero in knee breeches and a coat pinched in at the waist, and he's likely to have a rapier. Now he'll be streaked with blood and possibly powder from someone's wig.
Dress him all in black. How about a Zorro cape? Give him a sheriff's hat and a six-shot. How about a bluey on his back and a hat decorated with corks? Er- what? Somehow that last image doesn't cut it for an action hero. Why not? Well, because that's the clothing of an depression-era Australian swagman. Tough he probably is, but his toughness is that of endurance and wanderlust, with a touch of "don't-fence-me-in." He's not an action hero, but that doesn't mean he's not somebody's cup of tea.
What if you put your man in a beautifully cut suit? He's more likely to be at home in the boardroom than out there getting streaked with mud, blood or...I dunno. Maybe the ink off a contract?
Of course, if you're looking for more romantic action, there's a high chance your man will be out of his shirt at some point (probably on the cover). He might still be wearing jeans, or a kilt, but what if he's in ragged cut-offs? Or overalls?
Just for fun, I popped over to eXtasy Books and checked out what some of the heroes are wearing on the current crop of new books. The first one, A Demon's Heart, has one bloke in a black leather jacket and another one in a white loose tee-shirt. The next book, Fur and a Badge, stars black pants and a light chain around the neck. Rough Trade has a guy in a hoodie. Yep, a hoodie. The man in Royal Consort has black leather-look pants, a kind of half jacket and some extra leather and hardware. Trill to Me Sweetly has a young man in a brown pullover, leather jacket and scarf (and a snowy background, so he'd need to wrap up warmly) and Rediscovering Himself has a wholesome-looking guy in a blue checked shirt. It's buttoned up, but you can see the edge of a blue tee-shirt underneath.
So, what do these garments tell us about the heroes in these stories? I'm betting you can tell the action men at a glance, though maybe the scarf and check guys have a few secrets that might surprise. There's an unusual animal standing behind Check-shirt's shoulder.
Over to you, readers. What clothing you want to see on the hero of the next book you read? Let us know, do. Oh, and pop over to look at some of those covers. Pretend you are someone who judges a book by its cover. Which one tempts you to read?
ABOUT THE BLOG
Who are we? The Love Weavers are a bunch of writers. We all write for Extasy Books and/or Devine Destinies and a lot of us write in other places as well. We write in multiple genres for general and adult readership. Many of our books are love stories of some kind or another, and we enjoy looking at love in all its wonderful variety.
The purpose of this blog is to tell our readers something about our craft, our passion for stories, how we build our worlds, what characters we choose and why, how we use clothing, food, music, weather, colour, themes, symbolism, history, science, and (okay) love to bring these stories to life.
Some of our posts are suitable for general readers.
These will have a big G at the top. (G)
Some are in between.
These may have a big PG13 at the top. (PG13)
Some of our posts are suitable for adults only.
These will have a big AO at the top. (AO)
Welcome to The Love Weavers' blog. We can't wait to share the love.