This week our regular columnist Annie West looks at the fun of dressing up for an extra special occasion. For real or maybe just within the pages of a book!
I saw this picture of Clive Owen and thought YES! It fits exactly the idea for this blog: the joys of injecting a little elegance into our busy lives. And if Mr Owen doesn’t make elegance look enticing I’m not sure who could.
OK, let’s take a head count. How many of us sit down to write at the computer while wearing silks and diamonds? How many recline on Italian leather to read the romance they’ve bought, while wearing elegant couture clothing? Anyone.....?
An interviewer once asked if I got ‘frocked up’ in evening wear and jewellery to write scenes of beautiful people in luxurious surroundings. The idea was that by dressing the part I’d feel I was really there. Sadly I had to disappoint and tell him about that little thing called a writer’s imagination. Apart from the cost aspect, the idea of wearing Manolo Blahnik spike heels or something similar while typing just doesn’t work for me.
One of the joys of writing is that you can get up in the morning and start work while still in PJs. The only draw back is when you get carried away, hours pass and you’re so absorbed you lose track of time till a visitor arrives, stunned to see you in fluffy slippers when it’s nearly lunchtime! No, no, it wasn’t me, but still...
It doesn’t matter what I’m wearing, I can still inject a little elegance into my life as I write. Since I write for Harlequin Mills and Boon Modern/Sexy/Presents (depending on what country you’re in) part of my brief is to include glamour into the world my characters inhabit. As a result I pay attention when I see TV shows or magazine articles about beautiful people looking suave, sexy and fabulous. When I’m in a big city I window shop at the exclusive boutiques, knowing I’m not buying for myself, but thinking about what I might “purchase” for my heroine. World renowned jewellery stores take on a whole new dimension when you’re on the hunt for something that will bring a scene to life in your head. In my current release the hero owns a fine jewellery house, creating exclusive pieces fit for royalty (if they can afford it), so I felt it my duty to get a feel for his world...
However, this isn’t just about researching a story. I think there’s something positive we get out of making that extra effort for a special occasion. When I’m reading there are times when I love a little elegance in my fantasy world. Perhaps that’s part of the reason why stories with royal themes or wealthy tycoons do so well.
Occasionally, very occasionally, I get the chance to dress up. I put on the glad rags and go out to celebrate a special occasion. Usually it’s with friends to mark a special event, sometimes with fellow writers and, occasionally, it’s just me with my husband. Maybe it’s the change from my everyday world of washing to do, errands to run, homework, chores, work, and so on, but (after the initial panic of wondering if I’ve got anything to wear!) I love getting dressed up. It makes me feel special. It’s like a holiday from the daily routine. Even if it isn't silks and pearls, but a candlelit dinner on a fold up table with the one you love, I do think it’s good for the soul to add a touch of elegance occasionally.
What about you? Do you like dressing up for formal occasions? Or do you prefer to leave that world to the books you read? Do you have a favourite elegant outfit or piece of jewellery that always makes you feel special?
Annie's current books gave her plenty of excuses to search out elegant clothes and jewellery for her heroines. She also got to attend (er, create) some very exclusive formal occasions. The fashions pictured above helped provide a little inspiration. Her current release The Greek Tycoon's Unexpected Wife is on sale this month in North America.
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