Gesture drawing is something artists do to warm up, or to capture the essential movement of a person when they only have a few seconds to get everything down.
I love ornate costumes, but there are times when you find yourself needing to do the costume equivalent of gesture drawings. Maybe you’re spending the weekend playing approximately 10 different characters and monsters. Maybe you’re preparing for a convention and you know you might pick up an extra game. Maybe both.
In my experience, there are a few things to keep in mind:
1) Improvise. The “loincloth” in the above costume was actually one of the generic tabards our game uses to indicate monsters. I grabbed it to play a siren.
2) Go for the shape, if not the detail. Doc Martens are only 50 years old, and shoes with laces in front only go back to the early 1700s in Europe. However, they are boot-shaped, and in combat, people tend to look at the center of the body or the hands, not the feet. (Especially in larps with no foot strikes.) If you’re going to fudge, fudge here.
3) Safety first. This was a particularly humid weekend on parts of the gulf coast, and heat exhaustion caused a few near misses. Both the top and bottom were made of breathable material. The boots protected me from the taller grass in the area, but they would have been way too warm if the rest of my body hadn’t been in loose/no clothing. I probably could have used a hat, but we had enough cloud cover that sun wasn’t the issue, just 90F and 80% humidity. (I still had sunblock on just in case.) If you prefer not to have bare skin, loose clothing is key. You don’t want anything trapping heat as it leaves your body. (If at all possible, have a bright game designer who makes the siren mostly cause paralysis and sleep, keeping battles from being too hot to begin with. Thanks, Dwayne!)
In short, did any real life depictions of sirens show anything like this? No. But they were associated with the sea, and hot weather, so dressing in a way that evokes the sea and keeps you safe in hot weather is close enough to get the fundamental aspect of a siren- the gesture drawing of her, at least.
If you are packing for a larp but you don’t have a specific character to play, bring pieces like this tabard/loincloth. Scarves/bandannas/bandages are handy for dandies/hippies/soldiers. Generic dark colored pants without visible pockets or seams might not be period appropriate for everything, but they also won’t jolt people out of scene since they are so inconspicuous. If you can get a pair of non-lacing leather boots, whole swaths of history will be open to you, but if not, follow your pants into inconspicuousity.
Oh, and by the way, bras are now totally ok for medieval settings.
Okay, So Realm of Larp Looks Pretty Awesome. LarpEspn! ~ Fun With Failure, or Letting Characters Choose to Fail (On My Personal Monster Required Reading List) ~ I Love This Cover Art ~ A Lovely Guide to Etiquette When Meeting People with Interesting Genders- AKA, If You Are Uncertain of my Gender, Don’t Ask About My Junk ~ Attn: Vampires ~ SO EXCITE ~ We Must Be Doing Something Right