I play Pathfinder, a Dungeons and Dragons like game, most Friday nights with a group of friends at a local game shop. Generally, I have to know what my character is wearing before I can actually play the character.
Weird, but true.
Clothing is a direct expression of how my character thinks and functions in the world. Some people think about their characters in terms of unique weapons or speech patterns, I think about my characters in terms of what sort of shoes they would choose while trekking through a ruin.
I rarely draw my own characters (here’s an exception), but when I work on a paper doll set, I want to convey the world and personality through the paper doll outfits.
Marcus here is a mechanic. So, his clothing is utilitarian. The double breasted vest is in his “good” clothes, with a belt for his money pouch and a decorative pointless armband. His tie is loose. His other brown vest is more of a work outfit. He wears vests to keep grease off his shirts. With this outfit, his tie is tucked up, so that it doesn’t get caught in machines. He’s on his feet a lot, so he has two pairs of boots. The cap keeps his dreads from getting in the way while he’s working (because hair in engines = pain) and his leather satchel is where he stores his tools. Work gloves, a scarf for cold weather and some tools complete the set.
You can also tell a little about Marcus’ personality here. His dreads are decorated with beads and I know from people who have them that dreads take some maintenance. Clearly, he’s someone who cares about how he looks. Is he perhaps somewhat of a ladies man?
Paper doll sets can be tiny windows into lives and worlds. That’s part of the fun.