by Lilou DuPont, author of Dangerous Love
In my new novel, Dangerous Love, the heroine, Laura, is a chic city girl who leaves a successful advertising career for a Bohemian adventure in Prague. Although not explicitly stated, the story takes place a few years before the Great Recession. Laura is able to exercise stock options worth tens of thousands of dollars to pay for her trip and – evidently – a large wardrobe.
The book opens with Laura attempting to mimic the style of the young Prague princesses by wearing zipper-less black pants and a transparent white blouse. A peasant dress with a low scooped out neckline takes her from Prague to Vienna to Bratislava in the span of 12 hours: She had been living in this same floral frock since the morning. It had seen an illicit blow job, a jail cell, and sex in an ancient synagogue.
When feeling reckless, she wears an Urban Outfitters t-shirt emblazoned with the slogan, “My boyfriend won’t care ’cause he won’t know.” (I actually owned and wore this.) Recovering from a devastating breakup, Laura dons a black gossamer dress, black lipstick, and combat boots. What had possessed Laura to leave the house in this Gothic get-up? The answer was obvious. She was in mourning.
I sometimes wondered, am I dressing my heroine as if she were my paper doll? Or is being a fashionista one of her character traits? I conclude that both are true, but there is more.
For years, I also had a strong proclivity for shopping, buying new apparel before traveling, an important business meeting, a hot date, a family celebration. Often I needed no excuse. My goal was to look like the person I aimed or believed myself to be. It still is.
I dressed Laura not only for the occasion, but to express her inner life and emotions. One of my favorite chapters, (Sexbombe), takes place after a night of edgy sex between Laura and two men. That scene ends with one man leaving and one man – Byron, our hero – staying behind. For the first time, Laura and Byron declare for each other their love.
The next morning:
She chose the little black dress that was intended for evening . . . The sun blinded her eyes and she put on her vintage 60s shades . . . Her shocking pink and lime green sneakers notwithstanding, she was dressed from head to toe like a movie star. Who is that girl?
Rereading the above, I recognize that I, at one time or another, possessed every item described (even the garish sneakers, clearly ahead of their time). Truth be told, I have owned and worn nearly all of the outfits Laura wears in the book. Could it be that simple? That while penning away at the local Starbucks, I looked down at my clothing and wrote what I saw.
What is your favorite outfit and what does it say about you?