“Why Classic Crime Fiction was Obsessed with Fashion”

At Crime Reads, Tara Moss writes about Philip Marlowe, fashion and her own crime fiction. “Marlowe (and his creator) notice the clothes, the hairstyle, the gloves and what they signal about the person wearing them. This is no mere description, not simply the delightful painting of an aesthetic picture, but a type of cheat sheet for every character Marlowe encounters. It’s true that in hard-boiled we are accustomed to descriptions of hard men and femme fatales with faces like angels, but the clothing takes us a necessary step further. Without nuance and purpose the whole exercise falls too quickly into cliché, but the sartorial observances of Marlowe are meaningful.”

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