Red Velour Track Suit

While I haven’t been writing much, I’ve been thinking about writing almost constantly. My characters are alive and kicking and just waiting for the moment I can put an obligation or two aside and sit down with them again. (It’s looking like that will happen tomorrow when I have to wait with my dad for an appointment, so come on brain power!)

One of the things I’m working out is how to make my characters more distinct from each other. I’ve probably talked about this before, but I honestly have done almost NO work on my wip since January, so those same thoughts are still percolating. My characters already have their individual nervous ticks, and one character is always looking for her purple hoodie, but beyond that I need a few more distinguishing characteristics. Something that my characters do for pleasure. The majority of my book is doom and gloom, so I think a detail here and there to lighten the mood could really… er… lighten the mood.

Personally, I love clothes. I remember where I bought almost everything (as well as who I was with and what was going on at the time) so my things have a lot more meaning than just another gray t-shirt–I tend to have specific memories that I associate with each item. I remember how excited I was when I found that gray t-shirt at Kohl’s (while shopping with my cousins) because it was super soft, didn’t have a tag, and it was only $5. I’ve probably worn it once a week since that day.

(For example, my outfit in the header: white t-shirt bought at Costco in Mexico City while with Ibis and his aunt, and the jeans are from Lucky and were the first thing Ibis ever bought me. Can you feel the warm fuzzies?)

My point in all this is I have enough quirks to fill a department store, so it seems like I shouldn’t have a problem cherry-picking the “best” ones and distributing them to my characters. Last night I unearthed an outfit (and strutted around the house in it) that one of my peeps MUST now have: a red velour track suit, complete with matching slippers. (I believe my mom’s reaction was “Wow!”, or something to that effect.)

Do you have your own “red velour track suit” that finds its way into your stories?

About Melanie Hooyenga

Writer. Designer. Jock. Reader. Wife. Puppy-Mama. SCBWI member since 2015.


  1. In my first novel I gave my main character my bad habit of scratching the nail polish off of my fingers when nervous or upset. It turned out to be a habit-breaker for me; bringing it up in the book so many times made me very conscious of when I started doing it in real life. Since then, I’ve mostly managed to avoid having ragged little black islands on my nails and black chips dotting my shirt and pants.

    • Avery, I do that too, but I’m compulsive about getting every bit off. I try not to do it where people might get upset (waiting rooms) but the floor of my cars are always quite shimmery.

      *makes note to add this quirk*

  2. Allen Parker

    Well, sort of. My characters are mostly in their birthday suit. I don’t remember buying mine, but I think my mom and dad were there.

    Of course, by this time in life, my birthday suit is a little wrinkled, there are several places where I had to patch it. Perhaps its time to trade me in on a new bag of skin and bones.

  3. JLC

    I think the only thing I share with my characters is my sense of humor and imagination. Most of them are a combination of personalities I’ve seen on TV.
    Love the red jumpsuit!! 😀

  4. Wow, Melanie! This is fascinating. I don’t remember my clothes at all. Mostly it’s just Glenn grabs a shirt from me as I’m taking it off and says, “No. This is going in the trash. It’s not even good enough for Goodwill.” And then, when it’s his day to choose what we do on Saturdays, I’m sent into a store and not allowed out until I find x number of shirts/pants/shorts, etc.

    I do have this gray sweatshirt that zips up that I carry around always, in case I get cold. Since this is Arizona, I wear it nearly every night…

  5. Nadine

    When I read red velour tracksuit, I automatically think of the Royal Tenenbaums.

    I tend to hold on to clothes too and have specific memories of them, especially if I wore it to specific events, etc.

    I have a pair of capri’s that I love and can finally fit back in (yay for running!)

  6. robinaltman

    That tracksuit sounds great! I’m definitely a fellow clothes lover. I love shopping, and figuring out what to wear to work. I’m actually glad I have a job where I have to dress up, but don’t have to wear a suit. It’s fun.

    You can shop ebay now that you’re back. Yahoo!

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