Worldbuilding Wednesday 7/25/18: Clothing of Distinction

Making up things for characters to wear can be tedious sometimes, especially for a culture that has no earth analogue. Do we default to Medieval-normal (which wasn’t very normal at all), stick to the faux-Medieval we are most familiar with from endless movies and illustrations, or strike out on our own into new territory? Sometimes costumers strike a balance, like the Medieval-seeming-but-with-a-twist designs for the TV version of Game of Thrones; other times, they go hell bent for leather, like Paco Rabanne’s bizarre, never-again-repeated designs for the 1968 Barbarella, or Eiko Ishioka’s creations for The Fall and Mirror, Mirror.

Princess wearing a duck on her head… excuse me, swan… in Mirror, Mirror.

In SF and fantasy writing, the immortal Jack Vance always managed to clothe his protagonists in something bizarre,  and Robert Silverberg as well, who portrayed a woman wearing a giant amoeba in his SF retelling of  Heart of Darkness, Downward to the Earth.

If you want to strike a middle balance between plausible, historic, and memorable, here’s some (randomly generated) ideas.

Clothing of Distinction

Alligator hide clogs

Violet-dyed wool felt apron sewn with rough crystals

Knit wool shawl decorated with brightly colored pompoms

Tiger skin shoes

Red cuirass decorated with rough wooden disks

Emerald green dragon-scale loincloth

Woven tree bark shoes worn by youths under the age of ten

White wolfskin mittens sewn with freshwater pearls

Sheepskin headpiece decorated with eagle claws

Yak hair underwear

Indigo-dyed overskirt decorated with tiny silver bells

Green lambswool earmuffs with straps of gilded leather

Gray wool stockings sewn with old buttons

Dyed rabbit skin robe

Purple vest decorated with tiny silver bells and brightly colored tassels

Gilded leather slippers with lace insets

Velvet gauntlets decorated with baby shark teeth

Long orange kilt ornamented with copper beads and rough crystals

Snug snakeskin vest

Short felted wool tunic lined with satin

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