Heroic Wardrobe Decisions

I notice that when I read romances, I really enjoy scenes from the hero's point of view. I love the change in perspective, but more importantly, I love scenes where, because I know the character from the prose, I almost know already what he's thinking.

But then, I realized, we've known for a long time what men are thinking in romanceland. Take, for example, these marvelous examples of portraiture which are all courtesy of the amazing old skool collection of JamiSings, who scanned and sent all these images to me.

I think we've been subtly taught by these cover images what the romance hero is thinking, particularly about fashion. These heroes are here to guide us through important heroic wardrobe decisions.

Wardrobe is very important. Whether you're in the dazzling Tudor court or the sparkling Regency or the semi-carbonated Jacobean era, what you wear is crucial. See? This poor man looks miserable.

“It's cold and windy. I'm in the Highlands. The weather forecast is ALWAYS 'chance of cold and windy.' So why in the name of bridle fringe didn't I wear a shirt today? Flat Male Nipples do not keep a man warm.”


When it comes to fashion, a hero worth the designation has his limits as to what kind of suggestions he will allow from the heroine. 


“Look, this is my LUCKY SPARKLE VEST. You may not wear it. You haven't even pulled your Spanx all the way up and you're wearing TWO SCARVES. Fix that before you even speak of my Lucky Sparkle Vest.”


And some heroes are easily distracted by other people's wardrobe decisions:


“I'm sorry, what were you saying? I was transfixed by, um, the, uh, puckered rosebuds. Yeah.”


And yet some heroes remain a mystery to me, to you, possibly to everyone.


Horse: “Look. He's the Prince of Mom Jeans and Duke of Combover, not Viscount Google Maps. Do you really want to ask him for directions? I didn't think so. Move along, nothing to see here.”

Seriously, I'm not sure about that last guy. I'm not sure what he's thinking. What do you think? 

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Tina Chaney says:

    I keep trying to come up with something but I’m utterly distracted by the dissonance caused by the juxtaposition of a shirtless doofus astride one of those plastic ponies that toddlers ride for a quarter and the tagline, “He was the ultimate lover – the modern-day vampire of her dreams…”  Really?  She dreams of a guy who looks like he can’t quite figure out why he’s on the horse, wearing his Mom’s second-best jeans?  That’s some low standards there.

  2. 2

    As a former equestrian, I’m most disturbed by the English saddle, the hybrid western/English bridle (???), and the fact that he’s holding the reins the way six-year-olds do when they’re terrified to be on the back of a real live animal.

    Actually, I think he’s wondering if he got a haircut from that guy in the first Wayne’s World movie with the vaccuum haircut thing. What was that thing called? The Suck-Cut? :-)

  3. 3
    LG says:

    I remember that last cover, and I remember hating it, because it looks like not a single thought is running through his head. That man’s mind is blank. Either that, or the effort of trying to think is overheating his brain.

  4. 4
    Jenyfer says:

    The last guy actually looks like he might have been sleep walking and is wondering how he woke up shirtless on a horse (the sleepwalking might also explain the mismatched saddle and harness) Nothing really explains his hair and mom-jeans…

  5. 5
    Hannah says:

    I can’t decide what’s more disturbing about that last cover: the look on that guy’s face, the fact that the image has been distorted so that that horse is squished, or that he’s actually a vampire out during sunset.

  6. 6
    Melanie says:

    “OMG…I’ve forgotten to put on a shirt again.”

  7. 7
    Beccah W. says:

    In the last cover the guy looks like he has a tear in his eye…I’m going to agree that his brain is overheating.

  8. 8
    Clau says:

    I agree with Hannah he looks a few tacos short of a fiesta platter, the expression is vacant really, the poor horse is squished into the picture…..and of course the sunset thing….

  9. 9
    Janelovering says:

    I think that last guy is thinking ‘I asked for a pelham and they’ve put the damn thing in a hackamore!  A hackamore! With my ‘shopping trolley’ hands…. asking for trouble!’

  10. 10
    cecilia says:

    “Oh crap. Did I leave the oven on at home?”

  11. 11
    Jewel says:

    “You haven’t even pulled your Spanx all the way up” bwahahahahah!

  12. 12
    Melanie says:


  13. 13

    Thanks for the reminders of why we love Old Skool books and the heroes who adorn them.

  14. 14

    I love it… He’s the duke of combovers…

  15. 15
    MelM says:

    I have thought for a long time that almost all male cover models have a slightly dazed look like they have just woken up from a drunken blackout and are wondering what the heck they missed between 2:00 a.m. and dawn. “Where am I?” “Who is this woman?” “Why am I wearing thigh high boots and no shirt?” “Why does it feel like my underwear is on backwards?”

    Maybe this explains why so many models are shown headless these days.

  16. 16
    Maria Litsas says:

    @MelM ROFL! Yes and Yes. That must totally be why they are shown headless.

    That first guy has that same look of utter consternation that my ex-boyfriend used to get when I would tell him a joke based on a pun, or pretty much any joke that wasn’t lifted from The Office or SNL. (Yes, that’s more than half the reason I broke up with him). “Honey, don’t strain your brain too hard, you might break something”

  17. 17



    I can’t believe they still exist.

  18. 18
    Todd says:

    I remember seeing a cover – a step-back, actually, if I remember correctly – set in the highlands and the hero’s standing on a rocky promontory in a storm. His long hair is being tossed about in the wind … as is his mini-kilt. Nice knees, but every time I saw it, I thought “he MUST be cold!”

  19. 19
    R.Savage says:

    Not sure about the last guy … but my brain just had some fun with #2. It’s so much more like he’s trying to hide the fugly slacks or whatever it is she’s wearing.

    “No darling, you’re not dressed well enough to share cover space with me. Go sit in the corner and think of what you’ve done. Don’t leave the house again until you can look as good as me.”

    Though of all of them I think the sherrif up there is having the most fun. Or will be having the most fun. Maybe…

  20. 20
    Smelly Pugsley says:

    “Crap, I left the Sun-In in too long again..”

    I agree the vacant look doesn’t do it for me.  The arrogant-vacant look is even worse.  The sheriff looks OK, but a bit on the smug-vacant side.  Almost as bad as the heroine dress-coming-apart thing IMO, which is rubbish, because everyone knows it took hours to be sewed into those things, and then you couldn’t go pee until you got undressed again.

    And yes, I know it’s a bit chilly in the Highlands, but I do actually like coverboys with their kit off.  Better than kit on IMO.

  21. 21
    Flo_over says:

    Let’s be honest, that last guy looks like he’s about to fart and he’s vaguely disturbed by the sensation.  At least that is what my toddler looks like when she’s about to fart… sans combover.

  22. 22
    KenHoughton says:

    Y’all are too young.  The last guy is clearly thinking, “They wanted ME for a Romance Cover. Wait until I tell the guys at Uncle Charlie’s tonight!”

  23. 23
    VandyJ says:

    Eh, even squished, the horse looks smarter than the guy in the last picture.  All his face says to me is “durrr?”

  24. 24

    BTW – All these and many others are ones I’m weeding from my personal collection. So if anyone just HAS to have them let me know. They’ve been in storage so they’re a bit yellowed and such. I don’t see myself rereading any of them.

    Otherwise I’m giving them to the Friends Of The Library where they’ll be sold for 50 cents each. Or in their Buck A Bag sale.

    I’m going on a fishing trip on Monday and work all weekend, so you have to let me know ASAP. First come, first served. Yes, they’re free.

  25. 25
    Sveta says:

    I was more wondering why the guy was half naked and sitting on a horse with a wild eyed expression on his face. Probably likes showing off his abs and muscles I’d guess.


  26. 26
    Deldryden says:

    Cannot stop giggling at Viscount Google Maps.

  27. 27
    Molly Montgomery says:

    Horse: Please get me the hell off this cover.

  28. 28
    JoanneF says:

    About that last cover, I didn’t know that Sheldon Cooper from “The Big Bang Theory” moonlights as a romance cover model.

  29. 29
    Abby says:

    This cover brought to you by Ambien.

  30. 30
    Kate4queen says:

    Thanks for the laugh! I needed it :)

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