Happy Tuesday, friends! I posted a special editorial last week about the value of cultivating personas and roleplay, but today, we’re all about constructive positivity in action! Today, let’s GET HYPE about showing your persona through your garb! We’ll start with some theory, then move on to some borrowed ideas, and then end with some examples. ❤
I must also recommend this excellent article. I found it when researching costuming for Dystopia Rising, but it’s applicable to any situation where you’re trying to create a character.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when tailoring your garb to your persona.
1) Have a cohesive idea.
This personally has been my struggle in demonstrating my persona through my garb. I’ve had many ideas over my Amtgard lifetime, and they don’t all coincide.
Ideally, you should be able to encapsulate your persona in 3-4 words. My current persona garb goal is “Valkyrie Sailor Moon”.
2) Have a focal or statement piece.
I think a key to defining a persona is to have a signature garb piece. This is something that when other players are asked to quickly describe you, this piece comes to mind.
For Amtgard, this can be tricky–we all have lots of garb that we want to wear!–but I think Lisael’s defining statement piece is a sluff coat with black rus pants. This is kind of how I see myself mentally when I envision my persona.
Identifying my signature garb piece is much easier for my Dystopia Rising persona. Filly wears a distinctive off-white infinity scarf. Practically, the scarf makes me identifiable in the dark, but persona-wise, the scarf is practical and multi-purpose: I can use it to wipe sweat, as a sling for a broken arm, to help filter dusty air, or to staunch blood or apply pressure.
3) Focus on the details.
One of the best ways to elevate your garb from “costume you wear” to “clothes your persona wears” is to focus on the littlest of details.
For example, if your persona is historically based, do a little research regarding the crafting techniques and technology of the time. You don’t have to create everything authentically, but for example, how did people of your persona’s culture fasten their garments? What colors of dye were available in the time period and region, and would they be available to someone of your persona’s socioeconomic status?
You can also display important parts of your persona’s character and personality through minor details.
Does your persona follow a faith? Would they display this, and how? They might wear a religious symbol or embroider their garb with runes of power. They might have a religious tattoo. They might carry faith beads on their belt. They might have scrolls with prayers hanging from their tassets.
Is your persona frugal, or do they come from a poor background? They might wear patched or “upcycled” garments. Their garb might be mismatched because it’s comprised of what they have scrounged. They might have limited accoutrements, or they might have a treasured, tarnished, gaudy bauble.
Is/was your persona a part of the military, or did they receive military training? Their garb might be precisely fitted and pressed, or it might incorporate military-style elements, like epaulets or blazoned emblems. They might look very orderly, with limited doodads.
Is your persona a traveler? They might have extra pockets for storing supplies on their person, or they might have extra water containers. If they traverse the wilds, they may incorporate more natural decorations in their everyday apparel, which could change with the seasons.
Is your costume practical wear for your persona’s daily activities? Long, billowy sleeves get in the way of bowstrings. Dresses can be hard to move in. Corsets make it difficult to breathe, which is necessary for athletic activity.
These are just a few ideas. Most or all of these can be incorporated into field garb without hindering your ability to be battlefield effective, and these ideas can also be incorporated in ways from free to fancy.
A few borrowed ideas:
I definitely feel there are a few key concepts we as Amtgarders can borrow from Dystopia Rising and other full-immersion LARPs. Just a highlight:
Distressing clothing. Surely not all of us would have immaculate garb in this fantasy world. Tea-staining, strategic fraying at points of stress, and visible repairs are easy ways to distress garb and show that your persona lives in a realistic world.
Form over fashion. Would your character and their clothing really be able to survive the field of battle? Will you (the player) hurt or endanger yourself or others because of your costume?
Convert pre-existing garments. One way to make your garb realistic is to use real clothing as a base. Sometimes off-the-rack items (like scrub pants or a flowy blouse) can be converted into good, immersive garb. Thrift store finds are great.
NOW FOR ALL THE PICTURES!
There are so many options for showing your persona through your garb. Don’t be afraid to try things! Happy crafting!–<3 Lisael