Skirts hardly need to be justified as a costume basic; a tube of fabric is so common as to be nearly universal, and therefore is a good addition to any larp wardrobe. I bring them up now because it is spring, and gauzy full skirts are (at least according to Bloomingdale’s), quite in style. In style = readily available, so feel free to take advantage and go shopping!
Allegra K Lady Soft Lining Elastic Waist Pleated Full Skirt White by Allegra K. Cotton/Nylon blend. Ships to the US and Europe. $12 USD
Journee Collection Pretty Angel Womens Elastic Waist Crinkle Skirt by Journee Collection. 65% silk, 35% polyester. Comes in Brown and Ivory. Ships to the US and Canada. $17 USD
All images via Wikimedia Commons. From first to last: Nirmal Painting [Public domain]; Yezidi Woman by Max Tilke (National Museum of Georgia) [Public domain]; Japanese Peasants before 1902 [Public domain]; Unmarried Peasant from Krakow by Jean-Pierre Norblin de La Gourdaine [Public domain]; Siamese peasant, 1904 by J. Antonio (The 1904 traveller’s guide to Bangkok and Siam) [Public domain]; Wallachian female peasant by D. Lancelot [Public domain]; and Twirling Dancers with Skirts By Mike Powell from United States (Caroline Design Dancers 15) [CC-BY-SA-2.0].
I remember learning, at some point in my pop culture education, that tartan patterns were hugely important and ancient symbols of clans and whatnot. Unfortunately, it turns out that belief was a result of a resurgence in interest in Scottish culture in the 1800s. People assumed tartans were a clan symbol, something to be proud of, and a way to show their general Scottish heritage as well as their specific clan heritage, and so, going forward, they started to have that meaning- but it was based on a belief in the historic use of the patterns that simply wasn’t true.
Symbols are funny that way. The Scots had trouble connecting with their heritage the usual way because, well, they had been subject to various attempts by the English to suppress and eliminate that heritage. Breaks in tradition often mean new traditions must be created.
How does this relate to larping?
Well, as a player, consider the idea that your character might think things about their own heritage that are factually incorrect.The easiest way to roleplay this would be if you picked something that the game lore establishes as a fact- like, say, the invasion of Elfland by the Thinly Disguised Japanese Analog culture. The elves, as the oppressed people, probably had some of their culture suppressed. When pressure from the TDJA lets up, and the elves are free to express themselves again, they may well have lost direct links to their heritage- documents burned, elders that have died, etc. They want to return to their roots, now that they have the freedom to, but those very roots are obscured.
What fills the gap?
Well, if the TDJA culture said elves were stupid, especially their stupid leaf pattern, then a reactionary movement might well elevate the leaf pattern to the height of fashion and cultural significance. Since they keenly feel the desire for a link to their past, it would be incredibly tempting to claim that the pattern has always been this important, even if, pre-invasion, the leaf pattern was just one of many.
The thoughts of the dominant culture about the oppressed culture can often affect how the oppressed see themselves long after the dominant/oppressed dynamic has officially ended. This is also an excellent source of conflict between players- imagine how an elf would feel if a TVJA historian claimed the leaf pattern wasn’t that important!
While you’re mulling this over, take a peek at this lovely kilt blowing video from Dragon Con 2010.
Oh my god, shoes.
Really. We have wonderful shoes nowadays that keep your feet nice and warm and dry and apply traction on ice without destroying floors and all these other tricks… but we’re larping! In a psuedo-historical setting!
If you just can’t give up circulation in your toes, don’t fret- buy boot covers. And oh, look, it’s Halloween season out here, and pirates are still big, and there are cheap pirate boot covers everywhere!
The type of folded over boot these covers are imitating has been around in Europe since the 1500s at the very least, so they’re appropriate for late medieval settings at the earliest.
Unless, of course, your character knows a very creative cobbler. The boot heel is the only interesting technological addition; the rest is simply another interesting way of piecing leather together. More information can be found here.
The following are all from Costume Kingdom on Ebay.
Top Left: Black Pirate Vinyl Boot Tops $13, Black, vinyl
Top Right: Adult Black Pirate Boot Covers $12, Black and Gold, polyurethane
Linen pants are a great costume basic- and on sale! Bye-bye, summer…
Top left: Centro Linen Pants - Men’s sizes, $27.99
Top right: Prana Cassie Pant - Women’s sizes, $56.00
Center: Linen Paper Bag Waist - Women’s sizes, $23.99 as shown or $16.99 for Optic White
Bottom left: Plain-Front Linen-Blend Pants - Men’s sizes, $14.97
Bottom center: Maternity Linen-Blend Drawstring Pants - Women’s sizes, $15.97
Bottom right: Women’s Plus Size Merona White Wide Leg Linen Pants - Women’s sizes, $24.99