Most of the time when your new character arrives, just like a new baby, it comes naked. Its your job to go out and get that figure some new clothes. Personality and character that you want come from the clothes you put on them. Your figure can have many different changes of clothes, this way your scope is much wider. Give your character a prime wear and then from there make the changes. Maybe your going hunting, or to a formal diner, maybe he's going on a cruise. What ever the situation dress them for it.
How a character dresses depends on who or what the character is. He could be a sports minded fan who likes a particular team, or maybe just likes jeans, sneakers,long sleeve tee shirt, remember that the legs and arms aren't real so no shorts or short sleeves, and a baseball cap.
How Should Fred Dress? He should be wearing a turtle neck shirt or a closed collar shirt due to his not having real skin. Maybe your performing for a diner, a picnic, a corporate affair, a birthday party... its always nice to try to dress them a set above your audience. A good habit is to both dress the extra niche above your audience. What might be a great idea is to have several bodies for quick changes of outfits during a performance. So all you need do is just switch heads.
You will see on many occasions both the ventriloquist and the figure dressing alike, the audience likes this. Always look to accessorize the outfit with glasses, a top hat, medals, belts, suspenders, socks and shoes, sneakers. OK where do I go to find these clothes you might ask, well I have a few Ideas for you, use them or come up with a few of your own...You know some people with small children who have out grown their clothes, ask them for it. Usual size is a 4T which means a toddler who is 4 years old, if you are handy with a needle and thread or a sewing machine then you might want to try thrifts shops, garage sales, yard sales, flea markets, salvation army are all great places for used clothes for a nominal fee. Remember to look in these stores for formal wear or dress up clothes. Sometimes parents buy a dress up suit for that special occasion and the child out grows it, its another chance for a purchase. Want to dress your figure in a special costume, the day after the holiday is the right time to go and see how much you might save. Whether it be Halloween, Christmas, Easter, or what ever holiday. Just remember that when you buy these outfits they will have to be altered by cutting the slit in the back for your hand as well as a slit in the waste for the seating position of your character. If the figure is wearing more then one layer of upper clothes make sure that the inner layer has a bigger slit and make sure that when cutting to hem the cut. One thing that I almost neglected to tell you, be sure that you don't make the clothes attached to the figure unless that's all they are going to wear, otherwise its difficult to change them. You can use Velcro strips to keep the shirt and or pants in place should you so desire. You might need some alterations on the jackets and pants... So if you have other ideas to share with the readers please enter them and I will place your name along side the byline. Thanks for your input..