When it comes to fashion descriptions for our characters, we writers basically get to play dress up. We create a visual image and express our characters’ personalities through what we have them wear. With erotic romance in particular, this includes what our heroes and heroines wear underneath.
Does the heroine wear granny panties? She probably hasn’t had a man in her life for a while, or maybe she’s a married woman who’s lost that spark with her mate and stopped trying. On the other hand, a heroine who wears boxers and a sports bra might be a tomboy or jock. She’s used to being one of the guys, but maybe that bothers her when one man in particular catches her eye – maybe a fellow who still sees her as just a buddy. A sheer demi-cup and lacy thong? Maybe something from Victoria Secret? This woman is bold, confident, and looking to feel sexy. Color conveys a world of information, too. White for virgins and traditional good girls. Red or black for seductresses.
Of course, using an unexpected lingerie choice can add depth and complexity to a character. In that regard, undergarments can symbolize the inner personality – the real person hiding beneath the surface. The virgin who wears a fiery red thong and push-up might be a passionate temptress who’s just been waiting for the right man. Whereas the ferocious man eater in the miniskirt might be wearing white boy shorts with little pink hearts on it because she’s really still a small-town girl inside.
Unless we’re talking about some kind of transvestite, dare, or Clockwork Orange scenario, the heroes are a bit more straightforward. There are three style choices: the traditional boxers or briefs or a popular favorite, commando. Yes, there are thongs for men, but I haven’t seen much of that in erotic romance.
Again, surprising underclothes can work as part of character development. The heroine wants to know whether the hero wears tighty whities or black boxers, but woo-hoo! He’s not wearing anything under those jeans/leathers. Or he’s super suave, but those smiley faces on his skivvies reveal he has a boyish sense of humor.
Don’t even get me started on jock straps for men or garters and corsets for women. Every piece of clothing – every descriptor an author uses – says something about their characters. What the hero and heroine are wearing against their skin can say the most of all.