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Clothing and Garb

Discussion in 'World Building' started by trentonian7, Aug 17, 2015.

  1. trentonian7

    trentonian7 Troubadour

    What kind of clothing do your people wear? Is it influenced by any earth cultures or is it a creation of your own? How would a rich person dress versus a poor person? Middle class? Are there any status symbols in your worlds? Do people wear weapons openly? Do you have ceremonial or religious clothing? How do men as opposed to women dress?
    Dark Lord Thomas Pie likes this.
  2. Masronyx

    Masronyx Minstrel

    That depends also on gender roles in your world. How are the women treated? If women are meant to be more behind the scenes or dependent on their male counterparts, would their clothing be more conservative (high neck lines, long skirts, wearing men's clothing taboo?). If the women are considered equal to men, their clothing might be more revealing or allow for more freedom of movement, especially if women are allowed into your world's military/warrior groups, or may be more similar to the men's clothing.
    A lot of the above is based on my experience in 18th Century American Revolution living history. I've noticed that the more restricted the clothing for women, the more of a secondary role they take in a male dominated society.

    Those are just ideas I'm throwing out there. Not sure if you've thought of those yet or not. :) :)

    But in my case, it's based on the culture of any of the groups in your world. My main character comes from a warrior society whose clothing an bodily decorations I've based more on the Native American tribes during the 18th century time periods. Two secondary mercenary characters (both women) wear the pants/leggings, boots shirts and jackets of the men of each of their societies, having rejected the women's roles in both worlds. Both women have their own reasons for rejecting the passive roles of their mothers/female relatives.

    What kind of religious ceremonies do you have in mind? I think it depends on what religion your world believes in. How incorporated is this religion in the lives of your main character(s) and secondary characters? What about the country/city your story is set in? Is it similar to Catholic mass or a simple Sunday sermon in a country church? How is that religion integral to the plot?

    Again just throwing ideas out there. If any of this helps, I'll be happy. :D:cool:
  3. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

    I start with Climate and then Technology.
    How warm, cold, wet, dry is it? How much and fast does that change? Are there seasons?
    Can they weave wool, linen, silk? Mixed fibres? Cure leather? Dyes?
    Once I have them and a few other sorted out I usually have a feel for what sort of society I am looking at.
  4. Swordfry

    Swordfry Troubadour

    Honestly, I have not developed much clothing in my world for 2 big reasons:

    1. I totally forgot about. I am only one week away from being done with worldbuilding and outlining and starting to actually write the darn book. But that's okay, because honestly:

    2. My world does not need clothing...much at least. My one race is mostly a coast-dwelling race, and their skin secretes almost a natural sun lotion that protects their skin from the sun. My other main race is mostly a forest dwelling one. Their skin almost resembles tree bark, being dark brown and covered in a layer of thick, slightly bumpy calloused layer. This helps with camouflage and protects them from abrasion on the rough tree bark because they spend a lot of their time in the trees hunting and travelling. Even the ones that live outside of the forests have found that their skin makes for good protection against the sun and other elements. The only clothing anyone wears are very simple things like loincloths, vests, shirts, some shoes, gloves. But honestly I can safely say that most inhabitants of my world are half naked, lol.

    So nature provides my races with ample protection, and clothing is really just a luxury except for concealing privates and of course they all need some in the winter. This also fits perfect with my world, because it is set in my "extended stone age" and I just personally think that nearly everyone being half naked adds to the "ancient world" mood, lol.
    Dark Lord Thomas Pie likes this.
  5. valiant12

    valiant12 Sage

    The rich have nicer clotes. Pesants dress in practical clothes. Aristocratik clotes are more ornated and less practical.

    If I have to dress like a person from my stories, I definitely would pick some middle class clothes. There clothes are more colorful than those of the lower class, but not as eccentric as the clothes of the rich. The clothes worn by the middle class people in my stories are also considerably more practical than those worn by the poor and the rich.


    yes bouth women and men wear jewlery.

    Women generally wear more feminine clothes.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2015
    Dark Lord Thomas Pie likes this.
  6. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

    In my world:
    Woman's garb:
    Human women are more traditional to Euro medieval dress, but have been influenced by Elven dress, which is more user friendly in working in ones occupation. An elf in a elegant dress would be dressed up for a special occasion or a high occupation where menial labor was not likely. That same woman of course would have hunting clothes.
    Elvish women clothes, while comfortable to work in, still have a feminine elegance look to them.
    If they have enough money, elvish women would have work clothes and elegant clothes for special occasions.
    Weapons are excepted, usually knives and daggers, since swords and larger weapons would be expensive and get in the way of work. Armor would be limited to warriors or people that might lead to a fight. Guard, lawman, towns watch, bouncers. Not against the law, just not comfortable to wear armor throwing bags of stuff around etc.

    Status symbols...
    Don't think so.

    Religious garb:
    Those that are religious wear items to show this. Clergy usually wear items to draw attention to them. Depending on the religion, some men wear robes, some wear normal clothing with religious symbols on them.

    Haven't got into many other races in my world. But the primitive races, such as orc, goblin, would center around clothing that allows them to fight in them, even the females.
    Dark Lord Thomas Pie likes this.
  7. ChasingSuns

    ChasingSuns Sage

    Mine are definitely inspired by certain real world cultures, but I like to mix and match different aspects of multiple cultures to get an original look. For example, there's one culture that blends Norse garb with some ancient Chinese and Mongol clothing.
    Dark Lord Thomas Pie likes this.
  8. Alpha

    Alpha Acolyte

    It can depend on many things; the culture of the place, the religion, the temperature/climate. Northern people would wear woolen cloaks and thicker clothes than someone from the south-east. Its a good idea to use real life examples to help make it seem realistic.
    Dark Lord Thomas Pie likes this.
  9. In the area I'm working on, females and males both have beards and dress the same(and generally have the same roles in society). Priests and people visiting the temple wear white robes and sandals, as do aristocrats and royalty, but typically with red or purple additions. Lower and middle class people wear brown or grey robes with sandals or barefoot.
  10. Son of the Roman

    Son of the Roman Scribe

    My work is heavily inspired off of pre-Columbian cultures, so mainly feather cloaks, cotton leggings, or clothes made from spun bark.
    I would like to take this time to describe some of the Aztec cultural quirks in regards to clothing. Most clothing was made out of cotton, but only the high-class nobles were allowed to wear colorful garments, and only the Chief of Men was allowed to wear turquoise-colored things. Meanwhile the lower-class farmers went barefoot and were forbidden from wearing anything besides undyed white cotton clothing. Those who dressed most uniquely were the warriors, who wore either a full jaguar pelt, or eagle feathers with a helmet.
    Dark Lord Thomas Pie likes this.
  11. elemtilas

    elemtilas Inkling

    In Yeola, most people wear very little of what we might call clothing. They have no need. Denê for example wear body paint, ornaments, and their own inner radiance. The same person might one day be entirely "naked" (by ours, not theirs) and the next fully covered from head to toe in gear, weapons, and protective articles, depending on what she's doing that day. I'm sure what clothing they wear looks like sòmething worn by a real world culture, but there's no specific borrowing or design inspiration. Perhaps of more interest: they don't have the concept of "rich and poor", so you'll find everyone regardless of age, gender, or occupation pretty much adorns themselves in similar fashion. They do take great pains to groom one another (long feathery wings and hair, you see) and maranderi, their form of body paint, is almost impossible to apply to oneself. Denê do wear weapons openly, but generally not when at home or in a reasonably well defended settlement. Orc raids, marauding zombie armies, and prancing Elf hunts are always real dangers, especially in the wilder lands, so weapons are never too far away however.
    Dark Lord Thomas Pie likes this.
  12. Patrick-Leigh

    Patrick-Leigh Sage

    In my flintlock fantasy setting, I have a bunch of different races and within those races are multiple cultures. Thus, I'm doing a ton of research on clothing and historical fashion in order to get ideas for all of them. I know that, for my Orcs (who are not like what you see in Tolkien's work or Warcraft, but rather, large, green-skinned humanoids with tusks,) most of their cultures have sleeves as a different garment except in something like an overcoat. Sleeves are either two separate articles which are tied together or take the form of a shrug or bolero jacket and worn over a vest or tank top. The reason for this is that my Orcs, who are, on average 7 feet tall, generate a lot of body heat, so being able to at least uncover the shoulders to let off excess heat is just "practical" in their view. I'm still figuring out the rest of their attire styles, but I do know that most of their cultures the only parts of the body that are considered private, and thus must remain covered, are the space between the waist and the top of the knees. This applies to both men and women. But, while that region of the body is covered for the sake of modesty, the chest is also usually covered because it's considered unhealthy to leave it exposed to the elements. (You'll either get a chill or a sunburn, neither of which is good.) So, while a female Orc can bare her breasts in public (such as when she's nursing one of her children,) she'll still be told to cover up for the sake of her heath. An Orc man will likewise to cover his chest if he leaves it exposed for too long.

    Regarding my Elves, I'm drawing inspiration from the Far East for their attire. I was inspired by some images of Hanfu fashion movement in China, such as those shown below:
    Keep in mind, this is just what I'm using as a starting point. My objective with a lot of the fashion in my story setting is to find interesting ways to mix and match fashion elements of different cultures together to come up with new designs while keeping making sure to give the different cultures in my story setting good reasoning for having clothes of those styles (such as with Orcs using sleeves as a removable garment to regulate body temperature.)

    For my Elves, I also know that most of their cultures have very strict rules about which garments are worn by which sex. Elves in my setting are rather androgynous, with women being rather small-breasted and willowy and men being unable to grow facial hair (except the Wood Elves, gods bless 'em!) Even Elves can confuse a man for a woman and vice versa, at least from a distance, so to avoid any awkward situations, they make a point of restricting certain types of clothes to one sex or the other. (This is why a lot of their comedies involve characters cross-dressing, like in some of Shakespeare's works.) This principle also extends into hairstyles. Both men and women can have long hair, but women almost always have their hair hanging down (usually in elaborate braids) while men put theirs up into top knots and buns, a bit like what you see in the second image.

    I could go on, but I think these examples illustrate the methods I'm using to figure out clothing in my story setting. And, since my protagonist, Perdita Nightshade, is a bit of a fashionista, clothing will be playing a role in some of the stories, since she loves making interesting clothes almost as much as she loves wearing them.
  13. elemtilas

    elemtilas Inkling

    [QUOTE="Patrick-Leigh, post: 314969, member: 6861I'm doing a ton of research on clothing and historical fashion in order to get ideas for all of them.[/QUOTE]

    Nice show and tell! I have to ask: did you make the pictures? Either way, they're gorgeous!
  14. Patrick-Leigh

    Patrick-Leigh Sage

    Nice show and tell! I have to ask: did you make the pictures? Either way, they're gorgeous![/QUOTE]

    No, I found them on Pinterest. I’m using Pinterest to put together galleries of reference images for all kinds of stuff. Same with Deviant Art.
  15. Gospodin

    Gospodin Minstrel

    Simple and utilitarian. They are miners and their clothing reflects the need for durable, practical items. Hemp fiber is the go-to choice given the low amount of water needed to grow it, its quick growing cycle, and the medicinal aspects of cannabis in a very low-tech culture are not to be undersold.

    Their manner of dress is, again, influenced by the life they lead. Practicality above all things.

    Neither of these concepts - in the current modern sense - exist in my story. It is an egalitarian subsistence culture.

    In a manner of speaking, yes. Some people in this world are paired with precious stones that possess a certain degree of agency and can perform some simple tasks. One of the MC's is paired with an unusually large fire opal that is certainly a status symbol of sorts. The other MC is paired with a carved piece of jadeite, extremely rare.

    Not really, no. This isn't remotely a high fantasy story. The people aren't walking around armed to the teeth. Bow & arrow and knives are common enough, but they are hunting or utility items.

    In one part of the story, yes. The second MC comes from a town to the south of the neighboring country that operates under a kind of theocratic system devolved from Western Abrahamic traditions once found in North America. It has yet to come up in the narrative, so I've not really settled on how that will look, garment-wise.

    In the location where the story takes place, very similarly. Again, the clothing is practical and pragmatic.
    Dark Lord Thomas Pie likes this.
  16. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

    T-shirts and jeans, suits, the usual.
    My setting is mostly based on 60s-90s America so I’d say the fashion is “normal” if a little quirky.

    If there are notable clothing worn in the story, it’s mostly used to show that character is part of a specific subculture, youth culture or scene rather than a class thing or different ethnicities.

    I care a lot about what individual characters wear but I don’t think too much about traditional clothing in the setting. Which fits since the characters aren’t very “traditional”.
    Dark Lord Thomas Pie likes this.
  17. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Inkling

    Generally speaking people in the world I created wear a variety of costumes based on what their race is. Over time the setting for my work in progress has moved from a medieval European type setting to a more Asian-Pacific circa 1930s type of settings.

    Class is distinguished less by the style and more by the quality of the wardrobe. For example in the image below the woman is wearing a silk dress with a flower pattern. A low income woman is more likely to wear clothing made from flax fibre or cheap


    Much of the story is set on tropical islands modelled loosely on those of Samoa, Tahiti and Hawaii. Many locals wear traditional costumes made from flax fibres or, increasingly, cotton or silk depending upon their income. However, traditional costumes are seen more as something trotted out for tourists or traditional ceremonies and festivals rather daily attire except for a few die hard traditionalists.

    Aparima, (tahitian hula).jpeg

    Men tend to favour suits with fedora hats. As with the women the quality and expense of the materials used for the clothing tend to denote class rather than the style. A poorer man is likely to dispense with a jacket and tie.

    Famous Gangster and Outlaws Period Attire, Sky Masterson in Pinstripe Suit.jpeg

    Professions also have specific wardrobes. As in our world police and soldiers wear uniforms. In my work in progress the police uniforms are modelled on those of the German police during the Weimar Republic (1919-1933). Unlike our world doctors dress in elaborate costumes and have unique face markings not unlike those of the witch doctor below.

    Mens Witch Doctor Costume.jpeg

    Mages (including clergy) often wear robes either with or without "street attire" underneath depending upon personal preference. The colour of their robe designates their specialty. Black for combat, white for spiritual, dark blue for healing, brown for non-specialist, red for a "harem mage" (a mage who is paid to specifically serve aristocratic or other wealthy families) and grey for unranked. Dark green is worn for mages in training hence the term "green" for a novice or inexperienced person. As a rule mages don't wear anything that can conduct electricity such as rings, precious metals etc unless they have a death wish. Increasingly, robes are worn only for ceremonies or while performing their duties in more conservative or traditional communities.

    red wizard by artastrophe.jpeg

    Fa'afafine wear both male and female attire. Fa'affine describes anyone who is not specifically male or female biologically. Men don't wear dresses but many traditional costumes worn by men resemble skirts.

    In terms of weapons soldiers and former soldiers carry ceremonial swords or spears when they're in uniform and law enforcement personnel carry guns. Due to a strict "shoot to kill" policy towards any civilians armed with guns criminals tend to favour bats, batons, knives, razor blazes, switchblade and other concealed weapons. Poisonous blow darts and crossbows are weapons of choice for assassins.

    (All images are from Pinter estate and used only for illustrative purposes.)
    Dark Lord Thomas Pie likes this.
  18. Gurkhal

    Gurkhal Auror

    Early middle ages and late antiquity for my current setting. :)
  19. D. Gray Warrior

    D. Gray Warrior Troubadour

    I am working on a clockpunk setting, so I've been trying to strike a balance between historical Medieval and Renaissance fashion and more contemporary styles.
    Gurkhal likes this.
  20. Patrick Leigh, I love how detailed the clothing aspect of world-building in your world is.
    Patrick-Leigh likes this.

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