Dress the Part: Cress

January 16, 2014 2014, Cinder, Dress the Part, fairy tales, fantasy, Kate, Marissa Meyer 70

dress the part cress orange

In Marissa Meyer’s Cress, sixteen-year-old Crescent Moon is a computer genius trapped in a satellite orbiting Earth. Her only companion is a computer program modeled on herself at ten years old. Her only visitor is the witch who imprisoned her seven years ago, and even the witch only stops by to deliver food and water and the latest computer hacking assignment from the Lunar Queen.

Cress’s life basically sucks, and things are especially bleak for her, fashion-wise. She owns two dresses, and her favorite is three years old.  It has holes in it. She doesn’t have any shoes at all, so when she escapes her heavenly prison she has to make them herself–out of towels and her own braided hair.

I know. Gross. So, so gross. BUT. Cress’s satellite lands in Africa, and she gets to see camels and desert and mountains and trees, and a million other things that she had no access to in her tiny spaceship. More importantly, she has a crush on the super-sexy American outlaw, Thorne.  Unfortunately, Thorne is older and more experienced, and he has no interest in Cress and her towel-covered feet.

I’m a stylist, and I used to work as a costume designer, so I thought I’d help our girl out by showing her how she could easily jazz up that truly terrible outfit, using things she might have access to around the Sahara.

Dress the Part: Cress

Let’s assume she’s stuck with her too-small dress and disgusting hair shoes. Just to give us a base to build on. So the first thing she should do is borrow that cowboy’s bandana. She hasn’t washed her hair in days, and that shit ain’t cute. If she wraps it around and ties it at the top of her forehead, she can at least conceal her disgusting oily roots. I do this all the time with both bandanas and silk scarves.

Next she needs a bag to hold her portscreen in so she doesn’t have to carry it in her hand.  I like this vintage tooled leather thing, and it’s technically from Morocco, so let’s say she has could buy it at the market. Ditto this necklace made of vintage African beads. She should buy a bunch of those and layer them. And since she loves animals and everything Earth-related, she absolutely must have a bangle with cute little camels on it.

Et voilà: My crude rendering of what our Cress might look like in her snazzy new duds.


This series gets better and better with each book released. Cress’s story (although our time is split pretty evenly between Cress and Cinder here, with a bit of Scarlet thrown in for good measure) is by far my favorite for the three so far. The romantic stuff, in particular, is very, very strong–between Cress and Thorne, but also with Cinder and Kai and Scarlet and Wolf (holy shit you guys, Wolf is amazing in this one. I love him. I love him really a lot.).

One of my favorite things about the series, though, is its handling of people with disabilities. Cinder is a Cyborg, Wolf is…something weird, and Thorne is View Spoiler », and all three of the characters handle their deficiencies and otherness with such grace and self-respect, and they work hard to function normally in spite of the difficulty.  It’s so refreshing to see characters who are just incidentally disabled.  I also love that Meyer has yet to do the super upsetting thing where the disability is magically cured at the end. View Spoiler »

Cress is sweet, loyal, and kind, and she makes an excellent companion for fiery Scarlet and tom boy-ish Cinder. There is a softness about Cress that sets her apart from everyone else within the series, and my heart ached for her whenever things didn’t go her way. She also has some pretty freaking amazing computer skills, and her bond with Thorne made me squee.

And now, just for fun, let’s help Cress out with a sweater for those cold desert nights (I realized she’d need a jacket after it was too late–I’d already painted the clothes onto the above drawing. It’s really a bummer, because sleeves would totally hide the fact that I can’t draw hands. Or armpits.). She has access to blankets, from both her satellite and the lovely villagers she encounters, so I’m giving her two options here: One in a boring ship blanket color, and the other in fun tribal designs.

So here’s the neutral:

Desert Angel Cardi


And the fun:

Kindled Spirits Cardigan

Because of my background, descriptions of clothes are among the first things I notice when I pick up a new book. They tell me so much about the characters, and how they interact and are perceived within their worlds. I also love reading reactions other people have to characters’ wardrobes (like this post from Jenny Trout’s 50 Shades of Grey re-cap series–although I disagree with her assertion that Americans don’t wear heels with jeans. Some of us do so frequently.).

Do you find yourself distracted by how particular characters dress?  Do you wear heels with jeans? Can you teach me how to draw a hand? Let us know in the comments!

divider vine cropped

Cress, the third book in Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series, will be released on February 4, 2014. An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review.



70 Responses to “Dress the Part: Cress”

  1. Tabitha the Pabkins

    Hands are a pain in the butt to draw! I love your sketch! I’ve been doing a TON of sketching and painting lately. I’ve done a few hands in the past that have looked pretty nice, lately though I’ve stuck to cartoon hands or ‘mitts’ as I think of them.

    Cress oh how I love her and Thorne yes he is fantabulous…mine mine. But Wolf he has my heart and yours obviously as well. Rock paper scissors for him *holding sharp scissors behind her back..who me what i would never hurt you*
    Tabitha the Pabkins recently posted…Teaser Tuesday: Between & The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz

  2. fishgirl182

    I really have to start Cress soon. I loved Cinder and Scarlet. I love the outfits, esp those cute sandals. And your IMDB pic is super gorgeous.
    fishgirl182 recently posted…Stacked (90)

    • Kate Bond

      Yeah, Cinder was a three star book for me, and I still don’t quite connect with her and Kai’s love story. I think the series got MUCH better in the second book, and this one is the best so far.

      You may want to give Scarlet a try and see what you think. And don’t worry about the insta-love aspects of Scarlet; they get addressed in Cress.
      Kate Bond recently posted…Classic YA/MG Readalongs!

  3. Leandra

    I loved this post! The clothes felt spot on(loved the camel bangle) and your drawing was great. I haven’t read any of the Lunar books, but I really should, shouldn’t I? =) All the guys sound super swoony…
    Leandra recently posted…Snowy Covers + A Winner

    • Kate Bond

      YES. You absolutely should. I didn’t love Cinder as much as everyone else seems to have done, but Scarlett is great, and so is Cress. The relationships really deepen as the series goes. Its’ a lot of fun.
      Kate Bond recently posted…Classic YA/MG Readalongs!

  4. Jéssica Maciel

    Girl, did i loved this post! Your drawing is lovely and i am hyper excited about the book as well.

  5. starryeyedjen

    Wow, this is just fabulous. I tend to zone out when characters’ clothing is discussed in more contemporary novels because a lot of authors tend to rely on listing brands rather than actually describing the outfits, but in a story like this, it really makes a character. I haven’t gotten to Cress, yet, but I am even more eager to pick it up now. Hair shoes? Really? I need to meet this girl so I can start envisioning my own makeover for her. :) And, yes, I wear heels with jeans all the time…that’s a standard casual Friday for me at the office. :D And I wish someone could teach me how to draw a hand. :P
    starryeyedjen recently posted…The Weekend Update – 1.18.14

    • Kate Bond

      Yeah, and sometimes writers have terrible taste in clothes, so the outfits they describe are awful. Or you’re reading a book written five years ago, and what would have been a perfectly acceptable look back then is now dated and lame.

      Also: Hair AND TOWEL shoes. Cray.
      Kate Bond recently posted…Dress the Part: Cress

    • Kate Bond

      Yessssssss heels with jeans FTW!

      And clothes are really important when it comes to my vision of a character–in general, I’d prefer that authors not get super specific about the clothes, because then my brain can fill in its LA idea of that they look like, and my sister can fill in her suburban Orlando one, and so on.
      Kate Bond recently posted…Classic YA/MG Readalongs!

  6. Marlene

    Kate, I ADORE this post! It’s both fun and creative! Only someone with excellent fashion sense could pull this off so skillfully! ;) Now that you’ve given Cress some wonderful pointers, what advice would you give to Cinder? I’d LOVE to know! :)

    And just to throw this out there: I’m a total fangirl of this series, and I CANNOT WAIT for Cress!!! Wolf & Scarlet (they’re totally my fave). <3

    Marlene @ The Flyleaf Review
    Marlene recently posted…Mark Your Calendars! The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkowski

    • Kate Bond

      Haha thanks! The Wolf and Scarlet stuff in this kind of choked me up a little. It was really lovely.

      Cinder is the one I’m most interested in making over, actually, because she’s a mechanic and uncomfortable with really girly stuff. As a personal stylist, my job isn’t to do the, like, tv makeover show thing of getting a person who likes to lie around in sweats all day to start wearing sheath dresses with heels; it’s to find clothes that look good on that person and are reasonably within the same comfort range of a pair of sweat pants.

      So with Cinder… Man, I should do a post about Cinder. I’d put her in a slim-leg heavy-duty pant that fits well–like a nice jean, or something in olive canvas…But she’s the type of client who would PROBABLY insist on cargoes. So maybe I’d do darker-colored cargo pants, in charcoals or olives, and fitted layers on top. So while she’s on a climate-controlled ship, I’d do like a long-sleeved Michael Stars tee with a short-sleeved tee layered over it for a little added protection. I’d top that with Frye 8R engineer boots; a solid, nice-looking, oiled canvas messenger bag for her tools; stud earrings; and a short, simple necklace–maybe something in rose gold to soften her a bit–that hits at her collar bones.

      When she’s in hot climates, like in Africa, I’d like to see her in shorts (NOT long cargo shorts–short ones) with a taller boot–to stick with Frye, I’d maybe pick their basic campus boot in either a 14L or 14G, depending on what her calf muscle situation is.

      I’d give her gloves, but she’d never wear them.

      She also needs a really good hair cut that can dry naturally and still look good, and to learn how to fix a ponytail that doesn’t fall down four seconds after she puts it up. Or a bun. Buns stay up better than ponytails.

      I’d also like to see her do some VERY minimal makeup occasionally–maybe just a Nars Multiple stick for her cheeks and lips and a champagne-y eye shadow with mascara for her eyes. Something she can apply in under five minutes.

      Don’t get me started on dressing her up. I could write PAGES (and draw pages of handless pictures) on that subject.
      Kate Bond recently posted…Classic YA/MG Readalongs!

  7. Jen @ YA Romantics

    Those shoes are SO much better than the hair shoes! Love your sketch. Now I want to chat more about costume design. Like, how do you feel about Dmitri from VA and his long black leather duster coat? I think that’s like a 90s movie villain look and he needs a more updated look for the movie…
    Jen @ YA Romantics recently posted…Freebie Friday: A Mad, Wicked Folly

    • Kate Bond

      Well, here’s the thing… He wears a brown duster in the books, and it is referenced a lot and it’s a very specific character thing that they couldn’t really get around using. And his duster in the movie is actually brown, as well, but you can tell that when they color timed the mix they made things a lot darker than they would have been on set, and I wonder whether that mightn’t have made a dark brown coat look black in some shots. (As a side note, blacks are tough to work with in costume design because they can fall really flat on camera–you need to build in A LOT of texture to make blacks read properly on a white (or asian) person without making them look like they have a big moon head.)

      I’d also be willing to bet that Ruth Myers (who is a BRILLIANT costumer) had to show them at least fifteen different coats before the studio and the director found one they agreed on.

      And you know, dressing vampires is tricky because they’re usually so old. Real people tend to stick with dressing the way they did when they were at their peak, and their sense of style really doesn’t evolve with the times after their forties, so I can understand the desire to reflect that in the costume design when immortals are involved. The problem, of course, is that this is a different kind of vampire–it’s not like Spike from Buffy, who is still all punk rock and shit because he’s a billion years old or whatever–and…I don’t know. It bothered me that the Twilight vampires (the main ones) dressed so modern. If I had spent the first 30 years of my life in a corset, it would be tough (vanity- and modesty-wise) to make the change to freeballin’. Especially if I were a super traditional culturally as, say, a Rosalie.
      Kate Bond recently posted…Classic YA/MG Readalongs!

      • Jen @ YA Romantics

        Brown! I’d forgotten it was brown, but I’m pretty sure it was leather and according to the internet, a duster comes almost to the ground and… I’m not convinced that much billowy leather reads “dead sexy.” To me. Yet.
        Spike! Oh, how I loved him in spite of that whole Billy Idol look he had going…
        Jen @ YA Romantics recently posted…Extra! Extra! Trends and Treats

        • Kate Bond

          Oh, the leather thing. I totally see your point. Cowboy dusters were not made of leather, but modern ones almost always are. I think the one in the movie might be lambskin or suede or something–it’s certainly distressed to keep it from being shiny (dusters were, like, canvas and (of course) covered in dust, so if you’re wearing one for the reason Dimitri does–you know, to look like a cowboy–you probably won’t want a shiny one like a punk rocker). Does the book ever specify what material it’s made of? The Kindle version isn’t indexed, so I can’t search through it for every instance of the word “duster.” I know fabric isn’t specified in the first few chapters.

          The pictures and video I’ve seen make it look pretty long, too. It may be a couple of inches short of a traditional cowboy duster, and you may have seen footage of it that I haven’t that makes it not work. You’ll get billowing with any long, open coat, whether it’s made of canvas or leather, unfortunately. The dumb superhero cape look can’t really be avoided.

          And I mean, dusters ARE cheesy. The whole point was that they were like a big bag or blanket to protect a cowboy’s only set of clothes from getting disgusting while he rode through the dust, so ANY modern use of these coats in the developed world, in the age of washing machines and cheap clothing, is an affectation. And it’s called out as one in the VA books, so I hope it will be in the movie, too.

          I love that Spike’s duster went from being bad-ass and punk rock (when they thought they were going to kill him off after a few episodes) to a silly thing that a ridiculous character wore to look cool.
          Kate Bond recently posted…Classic YA/MG Readalongs!

  8. Mary @ BookSwarm

    LOVE IT!! I haven’t had the pleasure of reading Cress yet (pre-ordered!!) but I can’t wait to meet this girl and Thorne! Poor girl definitely sounds like she needed some fashion help and I love the outfit. Those towel shoes are sooo last year.

    One of my favorite thing about this series (besides the plot and character and world, don’tcha know) is the handling of disabilities, too. It’s brilliantly incorporated in the story and discussed with a deft hand.
    Mary @ BookSwarm recently posted…Mini-Swarm Reviews: A Touch of Magic

    • Kate Bond

      Man, authors can get the disabilities thing SO wrong. A HUGE pet peeve of mine is when authors do the awesome thing of writing a main character with some sort of physical or mental impairment, and part of the pig finale is the curing of that thing, when what I’d really like to see is the character coming to love her- (or him-) self and function in the world with those disabilities. R.J. Anderson did this SO well in Ultraviolet, but there have been a few books I’ve read in the past few months (Sophie Jordan’s How to Lose a Bride in One Night and…oh, I shouldn’t list the other one, because it hasn’t been released yet. It’s a sequel to a popular book from last year, and the love interest had a physical injury, and at the end of the second book it gets cured, and I was sooooo upset by that ending because WTF?) where disability–like even just a limp–is cured in a way that isn’t physically possible, and I just…I don’t know. Bad things happen to our bodies, and handling that in a dishonest way really bums me out.

      And Cress KNOWS she needs fashion help, btw. That’s part of what was fun about this. She lives in this little bubble, and she sees actresses and what-not, and she wants fancy sparkly things…so it was fun to give her a little bit of that. No more towel shoes, ladies!
      Kate Bond recently posted…Classic YA/MG Readalongs!

  9. Dreams

    And now that I sufficiently teased about this book, I have to go back to work on my time machine. This was a great feature, you should to more of them. And now that I’ve read this, I am going to be thinking about this while I read the book.
    Dreams recently posted…Review – Amulet of Power

    • Kate Bond

      I really enjoyed putting it together. I put some arbitrary constraints on myself re: the sourcing of the materials; I will try not to do so next time. Next time I’ll choose someone who lives near a mall.
      Kate Bond recently posted…Classic YA/MG Readalongs!

    • Kate Bond

      It was a crazy job, and I ultimately had to quit doing it because my husband and I couldn’t BOTH work fifteen hours a day, seven days a week, but it’s certainly a fun thing to have done.
      Kate Bond recently posted…Classic YA/MG Readalongs!

  10. Rachel

    What a fun post, Kate! I’m sure Cress would appreciate some style pointers especially if she’s trying to catch Thorne’s attention. And you’re drawing looks like a masterpiece compared to the horrible stick figure I’d have come up with! I still haven’t got around to reading this series, but everyone seems to love it. I’m not sure what’s holding me back.

    Btw, I often wear heels with jeans. I find being 5’2″ they’re often a must! :)
    Rachel recently posted…Review: Playing the Playboy by Noelle Adams

    • Kate Bond

      Yes! Heels with jeans! Preach!

      And yeah, Cress is interesting because she wants fancy dresses, and she lives this rich fantasy life, and she’s essentially been a hermit for the past seven years. She needs help with EVERYTHING.
      Kate Bond recently posted…Classic YA/MG Readalongs!

    • Kate Bond

      A good friend of mine wears a size 11 (women’s), but she actually kind of likes it because her size is always on the clearance racks. I mean, she’d rather be a size 7 and have a harder time finding things on sale, but you know what I mean.

      I’m wondering if the reason I see so much of heels with jeans is that I live in Los Angeles, where everything is really casual. There tend not to be dress codes, but heels lift your butt, so you want to wear both heels and jeans. Also, this:

      And yeah, I’m planning of doing more of these. Trying to figure out for which books right now.
      Kate Bond recently posted…Secret (Elemental #4): review discussion

  11. Sunny

    First, I love this feature. It’s really fun and I had a great time reading it and drooling over the clothes. Second, will you come live with me and be my designer, fashion coordinator, and clothing-giver? I have desserts *tempts with treats* :)
    Sunny recently posted…10 Steps of Fangirling

  12. tonya

    I love this feature so much! I’m reading Cress right now, and this will be the perfect image in my head for the rest of it.

  13. Sara Strauss

    This is so fun!! I love how you imagined what Cress would wear! I loved the first two books and I’m really excited to read the third!! I also do a series on my blog where I create outfits based on book characters, book covers, movies, and tv shows!!
    Sara Strauss recently posted…Inspired By: The Classics Vol. 4

  14. Kim

    Will you be my stylist, Kate? Halp.

    I can’t believe I haven’t read this series yet. I obviously need to do so. Very strong romantic stuff? Give it to meeeeeeeeeeeee.

    My question is, this far into the completion of the series, will I have a book hangover at the end of this and be annoyed that I can’t time travel to next year???

    • Kate Bond

      One of my favorite things is helping my friends go through their closets and then shopping for clothes that look good on them that they will actually wear. I could do that all day every day.

      I would say the strong romantic stuff really kicks in in this book. But they’re all pretty solidly feminist–although ALL the bad guys are women, classic fairy tale-style, and that kind of bums me out.

      I’m not craving the next book. That’s all I can say in answer to your question. I will, however, point you to the five billion 5-star reviews on Goodreads. Those peopel may have a different opinion.
      Kate Bond recently posted…Secret (Elemental #4): review discussion

  15. Wendy Darling

    I love how this turned out! I can think of quite a few book characters who could use a stylist. What was the series where you were disturbed by all the turtlenecks again? *shudder* As much as I love Merit from Chicagoland Vamps, I feel like she’s stuck in a rut, too. But maybe it’s just the covers making her leather vests and pants look more like pleather.

    I’m so excited to start CRESS soon so I can have MORE WOLF and MORE THORN. Um…I really like the girls I’ve met so far too, but you know. I get all excited about the swoony ones.

    More of these, please.

    • Kate Bond

      I can’t remember… I remember the turtlenecks and wrap-around sunglasses from Black Dagger Brotherhood, though. That nonsense is seared in my memory.

      Merit and her leathers. Sigh. And then they get destroyed and she gets new ones just like them. Sigh again.

      I think Cress will be your favorite girl. Scarlet was probably mine? Cress certainly has the most natural love story progression.
      Kate Bond recently posted…Classic YA/MG Readalongs!

      • Wendy Darling

        Among the many things I disliked about that series. And hah, you’re right about Merit’s clothes being replaced by exactly the same thing every time they were damaged. So weird that she can’t wear interesting clothes.

  16. Ellie

    So cool that you’re a stylist and I love your drawing. I always look for what a character is wearing, their hair, if it’s up or down and all the details of how they look.
    Ellie recently posted…The Power of Research

    • Kate Bond

      Oh, hair being up or down is a good one! I also remember in Dance of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin, characters kept taking off and putting back on their masks, and I would have to flip back pages to try to get it right in my mind.
      Kate Bond recently posted…Classic YA/MG Readalongs!

  17. Lucy

    Fun feature! I haven’t read Cress yet so thanks for the warning about the towel/hair shoes. Everyone is loving this book, and I’m waiting for the audio release to read it. Also, I’m quite enamored with the Desert Angel cardi! Can’t help you with the heels and jeans, I’m a flats girl myself though I do see lots of women wearing that combo.

    • Kate Bond

      I have series that I am obsessed with on audiobook, but it takes so much longer to listen than to read–but I can listen while driving… there are trade-offs.

      As long as you’ve SEEN women in America wearing heels with jeans, I think my point has been proved.

      And yeah, that’s an amazing freaking sweater.
      Kate Bond recently posted…Classic YA/MG Readalongs!