Ask a Fashion Goblin

A gamer… asks:

Dear FG,

My GM seems hands out magic items that simply can’t be used together! Skull wands, then flower motif rings that glow softly… Seriously?? How can I get some simple fashion tips across?

Dear A Gamer…

I understand your vexation.  As the most stylish goblin in my gaming group, I face similar irritations.  The short answer is “Talk to you GM and have realistic expectations”.  (Is that ever NOT the short answer?).

Know your GM and your game.  If you’re playing in any sort of organized play situations (like Pathfinder Society), I’m afraid these tips won’t help you.  You probably won’t be allowed to make any changes, and you’ll have to be content knowing in your fashionable heart-of-hearts that the purple Robe of Arcane Heritage you found is actually a lovely shade of green that flatters your character’s complexion.  If your GM and the rest of the players in your group are very by-the-book, you may have to content yourself with this as well.

arcane1 arcane2 arcane3

(Possible Robes of Arcane Brilliance by Renato Balestra, 2014*; Naeem Khan, Spring 2015 Ready-to-Wear; Tadashi Shoji, Fall 2012 Ready-to-Wear)

Talk to your GM.  Sadly, not all gamers posses impeccable fashion instincts. Your poor GM may not know any better.  Start small and simple.  Ask what colour an item is.  Ask if it could be periwinkle instead.   Ask her whether the in-game town has a jewel-smith who can recast your ring into something less last-year (without changing the mechanics). You should probably do this away from the gaming table.  You’d be surprised at how many Pathfinder players don’t want to talk about clothes while they’re playing.

GMing is hard work, and takes a lot of time.  Many GMs are looking for ways to share responsibilities.   Your GM is probably excited that you have taken such an interest in the world and your character.  If she’s smart and/or lazy she’ll take advantage of your enthusiasm.  Offer to write descriptions of items you’d like to have, not the mechanics, just the appearance.  Can you draw?  Draw you character (and the other players), to help give everyone a better visual sense of each other.  It’s easier to see that an orange cloak is going to look garish over red armour, than to read it.

Have reasonable expectations.  There will always be occasions where, for whatever reason, the GM will not give you free rein to design the look of your items.  “I’m sorry, cleric of Desna,  I know you were hoping to find a butterfly pendant on these cultists of Zon-Kuthon, but they are really committed to their skull and chain aesthetic.”  Remember, NPCs (even evil cultists) have as much right to match their accessories as PCs do.

deszon1

(What you wanted:  Valentino*; What you got:  Alexander McQueen*, 2011)

Certain items, like rings, are often described in ways that provide hints to their purpose.  A ring of swimming, for example, is described as having fishlike designs.  Organization may have official or unofficial uniforms.  A Red Mantis Assassin, will not be wearing olive green, no matter how much it flatters your complexion.

redmantis

(Not a Red Mantis:  Mugler, Fall 2011 Ready-to-Wear)

Embrace the Contrast.  Finally, if you end up with the skull wand and glowing flower ring, never underestimate the visual power of the hard/soft dichotomy.  Yes, it’s overplayed and cliché right now, but done well it can still create a visually stunning aesthetic.

hardsoft

(Prabal Gurung, Fall 2013 Ready-to-Wear)

* I couldn’t find an complete reference for these, if any one knows season/year/designer, please let me know, and I’ll make corrections.

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Capes of the Gods

The three dominant Gods in Ustalav are PharasmaUrgathoa, and Desna.  Among their symbols are spirals, skulls, and butterflies, respectively.

What’s the most important factor is choosing your deity?  The kind of cape you get to wear, obviously.  Here are some choices for discerning worshipers of the three gods.

cape_3 cape_2 cape_1

 

(Valentino Spring 2013 Couture; Manon Kündig, Antwerp Fashion Department Show, 2011; Valentino Fall 2014, Ready-to-Wear.)

The Manon Kündig piece inflates to actually be skull shaped, there’s an inflated pic in the show’s gallery.

Evil Queen of Osirion

For the Evil Queen Pharaoh of Osirion, it’s all about white with gold, bold necklaces, lotus flower motifs, long column dresses, diaphanous fabric.

Valentino’s Fall 2014 couture collection combined many of these elements:os1 os2 os3

 

Even without the iconic lotus flower, these capture Osirian power dressing.

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Badgley Mischka, Fall 2014 Ready-to-Wear Collection and Sass & Bide, Spring 2013 Ready-to-Wear Collection

Dress the Iconics — Hakon

Hakon, the iconic Skald, was unveiled on many Thursdays ago, but vacation kept me from posting. The class is a barbarian/bard hybrid, which might have presented an interesting sartorial challenge.  How to meld the rough hides of a barbarian with the clean look of a bard.  Hakon’s robes, though tend towards the bard side of things.  They are, in a word, impeccable. They don’t have the usual, worn-in, adventuring look about them. (Is it safe to assume that prestidigitation is on the Skald’s spell list?)

hakon

Valentino Couture Spring 2009

The real world equivalent for Iconic’s fashion that doesn’t look lived in, is surely Valentino.  Also impeccable.  Always.

This picks up the two contrasting green, clean lines (I worked really, really hard, not to say “impeccable” there), interesting trim (which is important in Hakon’s backstory), and even fur-like trim, to keep the Ulfen warm.

Valentino Couture Spring 2009

 

Other impeccable green clothes on Hakon‘s pinterest page.

Dress the Iconics — Enora

Thank you Paizo! For lobbing a nice, slow pitch right over home plate.  The new iconic is a caster, wearing the classic hooded robe (so much easier to dress than those peskie heave armor wearers):  Enora, a Halfling Arcanist (Wizard/Sorcerer hybrid).  Because of this, you are forgiven for not announcing an ‘Evil Queens of Golarion’ paper doll book at the Paizocon Banquet last night.  *sigh* There’s always next year.

There is a real shortage of hooded capes on the runways, something that clearly needs to be rectified.  The few that existed were riffs on classic looks from Azzedine AlaÏa, so there’s no reason not to use one of his looks for Enora’s literal interpretation:

Grace Jones in

Grace Jones in Azzedine Alaia

The hood is great, but the rest of the look doesn’t really scream “until recently, library-only based researcher”.  (It’s a black catsuit, for the curious). Also, Grace Jones would make a awesome “Evil Queen of Numeria”.  But I think I’ve already crowned about five.

 

Luckily for Enora, the absence of hoods is made up for with an abundance of capes.  She could rock any of these three dresses:

enora3 enora2 enora1

(Alexis Mabille, Ready to Wear, Spring 2014.  — Love the scarf in her hair, she looks like she just put it up with what ever was at hand, because it was distracting her from her books.

Zang Toi. Ready to Wear, Spring 2014. — Beautiful and dramatic, even if it skews a bit Ustalav.

Valentino, Fall 2012 Couture Collection — You can always count of Valentino for dramatic, elegant looks; and recently, often with capes)

enora

Juanjo Oliva Spring 2012

 

This captures Enora’s essence as a magical researcher. (Sadly, without a cape, which is the next best thing to a hood) The belt and covered buttons take it sort of Librarian, and the length and flowiness (yep. real word.) take it Magician.  Juanjo Oliva, Spring 2012.

 

 

More looks for Enora on Pinterest.