• Jill G. Hall
  • [Behind the Book] 10 Tips to Creating Your Author Wardrobe
This blog was featured on 06/13/2018
[Behind the Book] 10 Tips to Creating Your Author Wardrobe
Contributor
Written by
Jill G. Hall
June 2018
Contributor
Written by
Jill G. Hall
June 2018

Several years ago, when my first novel, The Black Velvet Coat, was released, I had purchased the perfect dress for my launch event, an early 1960s cocktail dress. But as other author events arose, at such a busy time, I had to scramble for the right outfits. My party dress was much too fancy for book clubs, luncheons and conferences. The novel was inspired by my own black velvet coat and discovered if I wore it to my events people were delighted. So I choose clothes to wear with that.

I’ve found that donning the right outfit can be a confidence booster. It says I’m a professional writer whose book is fantastic.

As I’m preparing for my second novel, The Silver Shoes, to come out, I’m creating my book event wardrobe way ahead of time. I’ve developed some guidelines to help me and would like to share them with you.

Tips for Creating your Author Wardrobe:

  1. Go through your closet.  Find dresses, slacks, skirts and tops that match your book cover. Try them on. Place your best choices in front of the rack. 
  2. Study your accessories. Sort through your jewelry, belts, hats, etc. that call to you. Fashionable reading glasses are a must! 
  3. Wear a family heirloom or a focal point as a conversation starter. For The Black Velvet Coat events I wore my grandmother’s snowflake pin. Many people said they had one like it too. Sometime I’d weave it into my book talks. 
  4. Choose comfortable shoes. You never know how far you’ll need to walk or how long you’ll be standing. One night on my way to a book club I had to park blocks away in heels. I’ve now started a collection of silver shoes for my upcoming book talks, most of which I bought at Target.
  5. Make a shopping list to fill in your ensembles. If Nordies is not in your budget, shop at resale boutiques and even thrift stores. Some of my favorite pieces are secondhand treasures.
  6. Be genuine and true to your style. My style is bohemian with loose, flowing, textured layered pieces. If your closet is filled with structured, tailored button downs you are classic traditional. Wear neutral and dark colors with leathers and faux furs, you’re rocker chic. You are whimsical if your clothes have a lot of embellishments, patterns, and color.
  7. Know your audience. Remember you are the guest of honor and people are excited to meet you. I always go a tad dressier than the occasion calls for.
  8. Be comfortable, but professional. I recently attended a bookstore reading by a well-known best selling author. Yes, she wore jeans, but they were designer. With her fitted jacket, pearls, and pumps, she looked fabulous. If your book is about gardening, you might wear designer overalls and floral prints. 
  9. Plan for various types of weather. Dress in layers. One time I wore a heavy turtleneck sweater with a lacy see-through camisole underneath to a book festival. The sun came out and I boiled at my booth all afternoon. Even though it might be 90 degrees outside, air conditioners in hotel conference rooms are always cranked up. Besides extra copies of my books and favorite signing pens, I now always pack a hat, sunglasses, a shawl or scarf in my bag. 
  10.  Be well groomed and always wear a smile. Make sure to get regular haircuts and manicures. This is a hard one for me. I am an artist. When signing books I feel much more polished (pardon the pun) if my nails are done. A smile is the most important part of our wardrobes—and it’s free and low maintenance.

After you pull up to a venue, check your lipstick in the rearview mirror, do deep breathing exercises, and tell yourself you're a wonderful writer. You can do it. Now go for it! Get your book out into the world with style. And good luck!

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Comments
  • Jill G. Hall

    Judy, You sure did!

  • Judy Reeves

    How well I remember shopping for my "author wardrobe" when Wild Women, Wild Voices was due to be released. Thank you Jill, for your expert consultation. I felt like a wild woman in those great outfits we found... and felt like I embodied her at my presentations.