Wed
Jul 28 2010 5:02pm

Fashion Dos and Dont’s for the Paranormal Heroine

Everyone knows that being a heroine is all about how you look. Forget about kicking supernatural ass—the skills are secondary, and you can always use props. Look at Rachel Morgan (from The Hallows Series by Kim Harrison). Most of her skills come from amulets she bought and potions she brewed based on recipes. She has backup to do the hardcore fighting.

In other words, it’s all about how you look while you do it.

Do you want to be a paranormal heroine? You can be. You just have to dress the part.

Do…
Invest in leather.

Boots, pants, corsets, coats… You can’t go wrong. The more leather you own, the higher up the heroine food chain you are. Boots must be thigh high; coats must be trenches. Black is preferable (since it shows less of your foe’s blood) but red will do, especially if you want to be noticed.

Don’t…
Wear white. Ever.

The after Memorial Day/before Labor Day rule doesn’t apply to the paranormal world. White is always verboten.

First, it’s much too virginal. Second of all, it’s much too visible, even in the dark. Finally, it’s impossible to remove blood splatter, much less splatter from other internal parts.

Do…
Accessorize.

Because everything is a weapon. A belt can double as a holder for bullets for your shotgun. Twist your hair up and secure it with a sharp wooden stick—perfect if you find yourself in a close-range scuffle with a vampire. And don’t forget, pointy silver earrings are excellent for poking out eyes.

Don’t…
Forget that you’ll have to fight in whatever you wear.

Spiked heels? Not the best choice, especially when chasing supernatural baddies. And it’s really hard to do any sort of kick in a tight skirt—unless it’s short enough to hike up. In which case, make sure you wear underwear. Just saying.

Do…
Keep a change of clothing on hand.

You never know when you’ll end up with your outfit shredded. This goes for doubly if you plan on engaging in skirmishes with werewolves or other creatures with claws.

Don’t…
Wear your favorite clothes on a mission. (See above.)

Do…
Get a tattoo.

The more you have, the more of a bad ass you are. Period.


As a little girl, Kate Perry dreamt of many things. Like becoming a ninja. Dressing up in black and carrying a big sword? Seemed like a no brainer. However, Fate had other plans for her, and she studied Kung Fu San Soo instead. A Kung Fu Master, Kate now has more weapons than she ever imagined—including several swords.

She lives in San Francisco. Voted by her friends as the woman they’d most want to stroll with down a dark alley, Kate’s as likely to be spotted at the opera as she is doing tai chi in Golden Gate Park. Usually wearing black—in both cases. You can also find her at her website or on Twitter.

This article is part of Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy Month: ‹ previous | index | next ›
9 comments
James Wu
1. kamikazewave
Heh, spot on.

There's also the obligatory first person narrative.
RJones
2. RJones
Cute... The do's and don'ts are fun. But I'm really struck by how the intro is the exact opposite of why I actually read urban fantasy. Maybe you should have clarified "be an urban fantasy cover model," since it has so little to do with the inside of most books.
Karen L
3. changisme
the heroines always wear heels, which bothers me, because I can't do anything in heels, except being a demsil in distress.
Kate Perry
4. Kate_Perry
Kami: true about the first person. So you also have to be really into yourself. ;)

RJ: You're right. I remember reading the first Mercy Thompson book and being mystified why the cover was such a departure from the character.

Chang: I've fought in heels before, and it ain't fun. Although it makes stomping on someone's foot really satisfying.
RJones
5. vcmw
Every now and then (in non running situations) high heels can be useful for the paranormal heroine.
My aunt says that in the days of ferocious wooden wedge heels, she once foiled a guy who was trying to drive her off somewhere by taking one off and threatening to club him in the head with it.
And I think I've read at least one paranormal where women use wooden high heels as improvised stakes.
RJones
6. Story_tha
vcmw, I think the series is the Riley Jenson Guardian series by Keri Arthur. I literally just finished reading the 9th book tonight before logging on. I was thinking the first time I'd read that she wears 4" wooden heels so she could also use them as stakes as the first time anyone ever made a decent excuse for wearing such ridiculous foot wear!
RJones
7. MBG
This was funny, and I appreciate it as humor.

But, I personally avoid PNR books that feature black leather clad, stiletto-heeled, midriff-baring, motorbike-riding, tatooed, self-proclaimed badass female protagonists. Anything that doesn't feature this on the cover illustration or the cover blurb is likely to get a second glance from me.

#1 I'm over the cliches.
#2 I'm not 20-something anymore.
#3 It strikes me to much like pandering to the wish-I-were-like-her reader market.
#4 It has way gotten old.

I'm weird, but that's me.
jon meltzer
8. jmeltzer
I would think a paranormal heroine might want a bit more protection around the lower chest and the neck.
RJones
9. Foxessa
No lemming, the Buffster. The Slayer and mapped the map. She still rules.

Love, C.

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