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The first time a character is introduced, appearance matters. It determines a readers view of the character based on not only what is said, but also through dress. Several things can be identified through fashion and dress of a character, it reveals social status and a character's personality. Throughout literary works of merit, the most memorable characters have intense descriptions. These descriptions act as aid to help the reader develop a view of the character and further understand the character as a whole.
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From the above pictures you see examples of fashion icons. The picture on the left, the famous shot of Audrey Hepburn as Holly from the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's. The picture on the right, is the character Miranda Priestly, played by Helen Mirren, from the movie The Devil Wears Prada. A first glance at Ms. Hepburn, the mind immediately jumps to thinking wealth and high social status. Why would we do that? It's merely a snapshot that can't talk back, yet it is already formed in our minds who this lady is. The extravagant jewelry, luxurious black gloves, and the long cigarette holder all invoke thoughts of a well to do status. For some it may evoke an arrogant feeling of the character who is showing off their wealth. Now looking to the picture of Ms. Mirren in a very professional yet stylish outfit which seems to suggest a hard working woman in the business place. These images share nothing of the actual character's story, in fact Holly (Ms. Hepburn) is broke and lives in a relatively small apartment, but her appearance wouldn't give that away. Additionally, Miranda Priestly (Ms. Mirren) may look the part of the business woman there isn't much to suggest that she is incredibly rude and high maintenance as shown throughout the film.





Fashion in Heart of Darkness: Character Exploration

Within Conrad's Heart of Darkness, the descriptions of characters are immensely important. He goes through much effort to thoroughly explain the details of a character's appearance. We see this with the accountant the description:

"When near the buildings I met a white man, in such an unexpected elegance of get-up that in the first moment I took him for a sort of vision. I saw a high starched collar, white cuffs, a light alpaca jacket, snowy trousers, a clean necktie, and varnished boots. No hat. Hair parted, brushed, oiled, under a green-lined parasol held in a big white hand." (Heart of Darkness, Passage Four)

This discription brings vivid images of the character creating an aura about him. The man described here is an accountant who has been working in Africa for quite some time now and has managed to keep up his appearance. Marlow's attitude towards the man relates directly to his dress. Marlow even states, "He was amazing" (Passage Four) because he has maintained his appearance dispite the different atmosphere that usually makes men to restort to abandoning their traditional dress. Now this develops a certain feeling towards the accountant and one can see him as a particular person because he cares so much about his appearance. This first meeting is affected by the way the accountant was dressed. The importance of fashion is clearly shown through this



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In the above videos and pictures you can see how fashion changes one's personality. With the first Victoria's Secret Fashion show: The Pink section, you see that the models throughout this runway part, are young energetic and have a certain bubbly personality that goes along with the clothing that they are modeling. In retrospect you see the other video with the picture of Adriana Lima portrays a different attitude then the Pink section did. This video is showing a different segment of the fashion show where the models walking the runway have a completely different aura about them. They have a more mature type of dress (at least for the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show) and this translates to the fact that their personality is more mature then the rest of the models. As you can see fashion tells not just one, but many stories, each one significant to the character being portrayed. Specifically in this fashion show you see that the clothing they are wearing is the leading factor that defines their personality throughout the entire show. The Victoria's Secret fashion shows are really great examples of how fashion defines a person because in each show there are around six section that each define or describe a different type of scenery or clothing style.
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When it gets down it to it, the first impression means everything. What a character is wearing the first time they are introduced will impact the reader and form a view of that character. This is as true as it is in real life.People will judge based on what is seen at first, appearance means a lot and a big portion of appearance is what is being worn. Clothing of the character is "as important as a thousand words for dozens of later opportunities" ("Noubikko"). That impression given by fashion forms a idea of who that person is in everyone's mind. This is essentially a snap judgement based on appearance in part because other people know nothing or little about the character and they will use appearance to "judge (their) character ("Noubikko").This happens when we meet someone in real life and surely it happens in literature. The importance of fashion is that is acts an aid when determining how we feel about characters, what their character is like, among other things. First impressions create lasting impressions and fashion contributes to that impression.
Works Cited
Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. 1902. Passage Four. Print.

"Importance of First Impression." Noubikko. Noubikko Corporation, 2010. Web. 10 Dec 2010. <http://www.noubikko.com/noubikko-body/tips/advise/firstimpression.htm>
"Victoria’s Secret 2008-2009 The Ting Tings – That’s Not My Name.” YouTube. Web. 8 Dec 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-YM411KGVk

"Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2008 Part 6: Black Tie Holiday.” YouTube. Web. 8 Dec 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0zFZGIyRLs