Verrrrrrry interesting discussion at the #kidlitchat (held every Thursday at 9pm Eastern) on Twitter a few nights ago. Among the topics discussed was male POV in YA books, as well as the possible differences between male and female authors' depictions of boy characters.
One Tweeter mentioned that whenever a teenage boy narrator spends too much time describing someone's clothes, it throws him or her out of the story because it doesn't feel real; while I agree to a certain extent, I also find it ironic that in that most "male" of genres, the hardboiled detective story (as exemplified by Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett), descriptions of people's clothing occur frequently.
Here's an example from Raymond Chandler's classic noir, "The Long Goodbye":
"She was slim and quite tall in a white linen tailormade with a black and white polka-dotted scarf around her throat. Her hair was the pale gold of a fairy princess. There was a small hat on it into which the pale gold hair nestled like a bird in its nest. Her eyes were a cornflower blue, a rare color, and the lashes where long and almost too pale. She reached the table across the way and was pulling off a white gauntleted glove and the old waiter had the table pulled out in a way no waiter ever will pull a table out for me." (p. 89)
What's brilliant about Chandler is that his description of Mrs. Wade's clothing tells us so much about her character, and not just about her style, or her class position in life, but about the effect she has on others, including the waiter, the narrator (and the reader!). There's a lot going on in that deceptively simple paragraph. Hell, there's a lot going on in the last line of that paragraph.
Here's another segment from the same book (Vintage Crime edition):
"He wore a gray tweed suit with no padding. His shoulders didn't need any. He wore a white shirt and a dark tie and no display handkerchief. A spectacle case showed in the outside breast pocket. It was black, like his shoes. His hair was black too, no gray at all." (p. 230)
This description of Harlan Potter, an older, obscenely wealthy man, tells us that Potter is apparently virile, too; his shoulders don't need padding and his hair has no gray in it.
The Fedora Lounge offers some more examples of clothing description in Chandler's work.
Would a teenage boy notice someone's clothing and relate it in such detail? No, probably not. But I thought it was interesting that today it might be an indicator of something amiss in a male voice, when in the 1950s it was a common and effective tool.