Fashion Police: What Would Our Characters Wear to a Mystery Convention?

Pulling together outfits is half the fun of going to a mystery convention or conference… at least for us authors. But do our characters feel the same way? Read on to find out!

Ellen Byron


After much outfit sturm und drang, and some seriously embarrassing choices –  ill-fitting jeans and a Tulane Green Wave tee shirt, anyone? – I’ve landed on a theme suggested by fellow Chick Lisa Q. Mathews: the Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold. Even my underwear is purple on some days! Seriously. But my protagonist is another story. Maggie Crozat is a jeans-and-tee shirt kinda gal. She spends a good portion of her day in a hoop skirt and ball gown for her day job as a tour guide at Doucet Plantation, so when she goes home to Crozat Plantation B&B, the first thing she does is get comfy. Since she’s an artist, she also needs to wear clothes that she doesn’t mind getting paint on. Being the artsy type, I think she’d keep it casual at a convention and stick to the jeans and tee shirt theme. And she’d look way better in them than I do.

Lisa Q. Mathews

CotC Word balloons

Right now, my over-stuffed bag(s) and I are safely on the first leg of our train trip to Malice. No way to change any questionable outfit choices now. But I did think about my co-sleuths as I frantically packed last night.

Dorothy would have carefully chosen three practical skirts with matching cardigans and pearls, and her most stylish AeroLite shoes. For the banquet? A navy, Jessica Fletcher-style silk dress. Twenty-something Summer would have tossed a bunch of tight sundresses and a fuschia tube number with lime green stilettos and giant swingy earrings into a designer bag and barely made her flight (train=deal breaker). So which character is my style twin? Hmmm…

 Marla Cooper

CotC Marla Cooper

We’re all at Malice Domestic this weekend, so it’s a question that’s been our minds lately. I had 95% talked myself into wearing a taffeta bridesmaid dress in honor of my book, Terror in Taffeta, but I couldn’t find one tacky enough that people wouldn’t just think I’d way overdressed for the occasion. (I found an awesome off-the-shoulder number in seafoam green at a vintage store, but alas, it was a size two, which I am not). Anyway, I guess the convention my character would be most likely to attend is a wedding fair. So she’d have to wear something chic and somewhat dressy, just like one would wear to a wedding, but subdued enough to not be threatening. Because everybody knows that nobody—especially the wedding planner—is allowed to outshine the bride. Meanwhile, I’ll be here in Bethesda all weekend, kind of wishing I’d gone ahead and just worn the taffeta anyway.

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