26 responses to “What Writers Wear”

  1. Cathryn Leigh

    I write in whatever it is I’m wearing for the day, since I often don’t get to write until after the day job is done and the kids are in bed. I was writing in PJs early in the morning for a little bit; that was nice. I have to have some sort of clothing on though. If I could, I’d totally consider wearing clothing from the story I was working on. But that would require my having time to design and sew it (both passions of mine with writing). I’d love it though. It would be totally awesome to play dressup in the name of creativity! *giggles* :}

    1. Eric

      Playing dressup’s a great idea! I’m writing a historical novel, but I’m not sure a loincloth would be right for me….

  2. The8treGirl

    I never wear shoes when I write but am otherwise always dressed to run out the door if I need to – like if there’s a fire or something – without scaring the horses in the street. (There’s a pair of clogs sitting by each door, just in case.) So this means bare feet, but make-up and a dab of Chanel No. 5 behind each ear.

    1. Eric

      There’s something very writerly about readiness for a quick escape. Sound advice.

    2. Dick Cummins class of '70

      My wite’s mother told her to always wear clean underwear in case she was in a fatal automobile accident, or something. Believe the Big Nurse wore white too no?

  3. Cheryl

    from Twitter—
    Does what you wear affect how you write? Interesting: http://bit.ly/HTEVBO h/t @2bwriters

    1. Cheryl

      Thanks for the shout out, James. Means a lot.

  4. Cheryl

    from Twitter—
    Of course it [what you wear] does. Writing is a projection of human experience in all its forms.

    1. Cheryl

      So now we REALLY want to know what you wear, Lawton.

  5. Valerie Brooks

    Hey, Eric, great question and fun!
    When I wear my sloppy clothes, I tend to be sloppy and lazy, but if the writer’s mind kicks in, I could be naked and it wouldn’t bother me unless there was a draft or the UPS guy knocks on the front door.
    Mainly, it’s the color of my clothes that makes me either distracted and crazy (red, dull brown) or royally focused and feel-good (purple or blue). If I wear pink, all I want to do is garden or play. Black is like being incognito and I love it, gives me a sense of mystery.
    And I confess: I wear a beret in the winter both in and outside, have for years. A beret makes me a much better writer. (And as you say, keeps my head warm.)
    When I write all day at B&N on M & F, I dress up and wear headphones. I have no idea what people think and do I care? No. It helps that people think I’m doing something important or that I’m a wacko with a laptop because they leave me alone.
    My favorite place to write is in bed overlooking our gorgeous meadow and the Leaburg Canal. I could wear anything because it looks like France and I’m always transported.
    Now to my theory on the white coat: who the hell wears a white coat but doctors and dentists? And did they test both men and women on this test because the research people are notorious about using only men for test groups. A white lab coat would make me flunk any test because it would feel too much like a straight jacket. White to me represents an authority figure and writers are notoriously rebellious. Let’s test a group of writers wearing lab coats and ask them to write a sublime paragraph. I bet the science fiction writers would be the only ones to pass.
    My two cents’–make that a dime’s–worth.

    1. Eric

      I like the idea of a study of writers in white lab coats. But I’d say let’s put half in white coats, half in berets, see what we get. You’re surely right about the science fiction writers, though.

    2. Cathryn Leigh

      But there are writers like me who are also scientists… crazy, I know. Then again I also write science fiction (okay try to) and fantasy. :}

      But there are other people who where white lab coats. Any medical profesional or people who manufactur regulated items (like food or medical devices) will do so. Sometimes it’s required (along with gloves and goggles and…) *grins* Of course, this is probably one of those things I know, only because that’s the enviroment of my day job. *giggles*

      It really is craziness – they ought to ask the people being tested how they feel about white lab coats before and after taking the test. Probably give you better insight.

  6. Cheryl

    from Twitter—
    I write my Viking novels in full chaimail, helmet & scratchy linen trousers. Was wondering why it takes so long . . .

    1. Eric

      I’ll bet a little akevitt would take the scratch out of those trousers….

  7. Cheryl

    From Twitter—
    I’m with Jane. Comfort is key. And color.

  8. Cheryl

    from Twitter—
    Two words: yoga pants. What a writer needs.

  9. Mona AlvaradoFrazier

    Pajamas and slippers when I write in the early morning and/or late evening. Other than those times, anything comfortable: if it’s my levi’s I unzip them.

  10. Joe Haldeman

    Working on my first novel (a couple of years before I went to Iowa) I tried dressing up in a coat and tie for a week or two. Fortunately, it didn’t seem to make any difference. Otherwise I’d have been wearing a coat and tie these past 40 years.

    Nowadays I write in cafes every morning, but don’t wear berets. I wear clothes appropriate for bicycling in Florida, usually shorts and a teeshirt. I ride between 3.5 and nineteen miles, round-trip, depending on which cafe I choose.


  11. Eric

    Interesting idea! Sweat as Muse….

  12. Cheryl

    I prefer writing with a beagle sleeping on my feet.

  13. Eric

    Dogs! Yes! Of course. In We Wanted to be Writers, Sandra Cisneros talks about getting ideas for her writing while taking a nap with small dogs, the more the better. They have a good energy, she says. Especially Chihuahuas. And of course there’s no substitute for a cat plopped down and sound asleep on your keyboard.

  14. David Abrams

    When I write my fiction, I’m clad in slippers, no-socks, underwear, shorts or flannel pajama bottoms, and a T-shirt. In between sentences, my left hand “wears” my lucky William Faulkner coffee mug.

    I should mention that I rise each day at 3:30 am to write. Hence, the wardrobe.

  15. Eric

    Ah, yes, a lucky Faulkner coffee mug. I have to get me one of them. Six a.m. is the earliest I can go to it, though….

  16. JFN

    It’s heartening to hear so many other writers say they can’t work while wearing patterns. I never wear pattern, writing or not, because I swear I can hear it, and it’s distracting. Same goes for bright colors. I stick to grey, black, and navy not because I’m a maudlin and moody artist, but because they’re “quiet” enough that I can hear myself think when I wear them.

    I am the lone writer in a very non-writerly office full of power suits, but I simply can’t get myself to dress like my colleagues who think I’m an unfortunate fashion disaster. I swear the energy that it would take me to dress like them in the morning — to think creatively in that particular way — would sap my writing energy, which is strongest in the early morning hours and waning long before any of the suits roll in anyway.

  17. Eric

    Thanks for your thoughts on clothing and distraction. Interesting that you stick to grey, black, and navy. I go for black myself; I have a closet full of black T-shirts, and I’m usually wearing one when I write. Or when I do anything else. I’m wearing one now, in fact, under several layers of sweaters since it’s December and freezing here. Black also has the added advantage of hiding the coffee I always manage to dribble down my front.

  18. Dick Cummins

    Sartorial splendor for scriveners?

    I myself have a closet full of hair shirts. Wear ’em when writing prose and stand-up shtick.

    Keeps my mind off of how hard “writing simply” is. Not my quote but Toni Morrison – about writing simply – not hairy Van Heusens.

    BTW – Is there such a thing as “hair blouses?”

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