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 Let's all play dress-up!

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PostSubject: Let's all play dress-up!   Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:13 pm

So there I was, designing characters, when I suddenly realized I had no idea what should I make them look like. That made me wonder... what was I trying to do? More importantly, how do other people do this?

I tried to make the first character look like a cross-country hiker who was ready for a fight. I mean, everyone ought to look like that, amirite? Well, here's the deal- when looking at pictures of cross-country hikers, you see a lot of denim shorts, rubber sneakers, comfy T-shirts, and backpacks big enough to hold entire ecosystems. But the sources I've consulted say that in a jungle you need long sleeves, arms and legs, in case of mosquito, poison ivy, or whatever have you; maybe open field hikers aren't the best models for a forest hiker.

I tried instead to look at African park rangers, with 'eir long sleeved khaki jackets (and flannel shirts under), and thought "hey, bet'cha I can make that look work". Little problem, though, that look ain't complete without a rifle bigger than your mom. No ranger ever goes out with just a knife, because they are, in fact, not retarded, and would never try to stop an enraged rhino with a machete: it's hard enough to do that to a crocodile if you're Steve Irwin. Just the mental picture of someone trying to hold a knife to a wild animal while dressed like a park ranger is silly as they come. To hack through underbrush while avoiding panthers, maybe, but you'd need someone toting the big gun.

Good ol' nazi uniform is classy enough to go with everything, but unfortunately, I don't think the Germans went all the way down to the jungley side of Africa dressed like that. Them Afrika Korps didn't go any further south than to the deserts of Libya, Egypt and Tunisia. Maybe it'd have worked in that other biome too, I dunno? I thought of a knifeproof vest (most animals don't, in fact, wield guns), but dunno how hot those are, and considering medium-size animals would rather eat your neck (or trample you to death) than scratch your back, it might be just dead weight. I'll be rolling some dice trying to figure something that'll do the trick for me, I guess.

So while we're at it, how do you pick outfits for your characters? What factors do you keep in mind, and which ones are you confident ignoring?

Fais que ton rÍve soit plus long que la nuit.
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PostSubject: Re: Let's all play dress-up!   Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:39 pm

I just throw over the top stuff out the window and go with not only what looks good, but has at least a little practicalness.

Like Ben's T-shirt for instance, when he goes hunting for something non-sentient, the animals tend to be color blind so he doesn't have to worry too much about his bright and colorful tail, yet he wears a camouflage shirt to hide his upper half because it surprisingly stands out more.

Or Jimmy's outfit, while the jeans aren't necessary practical for hiding in the woods, his black shirt and camo vest almost make up for completely.
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PostSubject: Re: Let's all play dress-up!   Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:55 pm

Well, and this may sounds silly compared to all the reasoning you've been doing, the thing I take into consideration most when picking my character's outfit is their personality. "What sort of clothes would they pick out?" I ask myself. Because, unless your character is a 5 year old who lives with his mom, he or she most likely picks out their own clothes. In Naharou's case, his shirt's a given, because that's kind of his power, but he at least chose his own plain tan slacks - lightweight, comfortable, easy to move around in, and because of his sleeve power, he needn't be concerned about pocket space. He also pairs this with straw or leather sandals. This reflects his personality in that he doesn't feel the need to dress up or look impressive, feeling that personality matters more for a good first impression, but is concerned about comfort, while also being smart enough to know what will work best with what his personal abilities are. Caldswell, another character of mine, wears an olive dress shirt, brown cargo vest and carrying belt with satchels, smooth brown slacks and quality traveler's boots. This ensemble is meant to fit a man who both likes to be at least somewhat prepared, even though he doesn't do much adventuring in the wilderness, and also thinks about his appearance and enjoys making a good first impression. Kira, Caldswell's daughter, takes to wearing raggy-looking clothes; a black belly tee with the sleeves torn off, a green and red plaid skirt over top a pair of ripped and hole-ridden denim jeans and heavy, steel-toed black boots. This reflects, as she would put it, her uncaring attitude toward her physical appearance. However, it can be viewed as a subtle hint towards her hidden image-conscious side; she wants people to think she doesn't care, doesn't want to attract the attention of men, and at the same time wants to give strangers a warning that she means business, all with her outward appearance. Unfortunately for her, her attention to her image makes her wardrobe tend to be somewhat impractical, but this can be justified in that she really tries not to leave her house unless she really has to.

Sorry if I'm over explaining here. ^^; I really like talking about my characters. For your lattermost question, and to further sum up what I'm saying, the factors I'm comfortable ignoring are the factors my characters are comfortable ignoring.
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PostSubject: Re: Let's all play dress-up!   Fri Aug 09, 2013 5:05 pm

Oh this is an interesting subject, and clothes often are a big thing for me in my characters and I often try to do something that hasn't been done to death. Normaly it simply comes down to their personality and role in their storyline.

Winona here for example was given a black velvet fitted waistcoat over a white chiffon shirt as her default outfit. a large reason Winona was given this was due to the fact that her area of operation is around Negav, so she doesn't have to be dressed for epic travels across Felarya, I'd probably design another outfit if she ever had to do something like that.

Winona being an ISD covert agent (as aposed to an ISD offical officer) Isn't in ISD uniform as obviously her job is not to advertise who she is working for. But at the same time she needed something formal to reflect her sophisticated charm. Her dress stops just under her knees, allowing her decent amount of moblity without fear of triping up on it. It also exposes her legs covered in long socks for added sexual appeal. The dress also has a deep V-line, also for added sex appeal, but the shirt underneth keeps it subtle, you can just make out the folds of her bust in the shirt, rather than just have it naked. This is a woman who is confident in her appearance but doesn't whore herself out.

Along with her outfit she has a black handbag, but also note the pockets in her dress. She knows better than to hold everything in her bag and will often keep the most vital stuff on her person.

It was imporant for her character that she doesn't have any protecting armour. Her strength is in her wit and swiftness, so she doesn't need anything that can weigh her down. It also puts in effect that her foes will greatly underestimate her, as no armor will communicate that she isn't a fighter and therefore nothing to worry about. The only metal she needs will be the small hidden stabbing instruments that she will strike into your tenders when you least expect it.

The dominant colours for Winona is Black and White, reflecting her grey morality. I wanted it to look like the black has coated over the white to perhaps suggest that the cold side to her may just be an exterior that has grown overtime on a soul that might had orignaly been pure.
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PostSubject: Re: Let's all play dress-up!   Fri Aug 09, 2013 7:42 pm

I dunno if you wanted my advice but if so, I'm afraid I don't have any because I never had this problem xD
But in case I do in the future I'm interested in what everyone else has to say here.
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PostSubject: Re: Let's all play dress-up!   Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:58 pm

Interesting thread! Clothes tend to say a lot about a person and it's great to see that people are clearly thinking about that when they garb up their characters Smile

I recently settled on a final design for my human-sized elf character Arcis, who is featured in the comic I'm currently drawing up. I had a lot of trouble nailing down her basic colour scheme but eventually selected a fairly plain set of clothes for her to wear under her coat, reflecting the fact not many people get to see them. The coat speaks more about her, the colour making her the walking equivalent of the old red tent gag and indicating her spoilt upbringing and survival naivety! She also keeps it fastened even in the warmest of climates, as she prizes her body and feels other people don't deserve to oggle it. Style over substance at its keenest! In this way it represents a sort of wall she puts up between herself and other people, and taking it off would be a sign of vulnerability. Her boots are stylish but not overtly so - just the sort of thing that might be all that's left of someone who met their end in the Felaryan jungle...

Tarynn doesn't really count here - her 'clothes' are just born from a mixture of leaves and necessity to cover up areas she's less than happy about, but also to provide enough material in case an emergency sling or tourniquet is needed. Girl's got problems!
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PostSubject: Re: Let's all play dress-up!   Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:07 am

When I come up with an outfit for my OCs I think of three things, their personality, race, and what they usually do on a day to day basis. For example, Leila wears a short black dress. The dress is short and fitted well enough that it wouldn't get in the way if she had to fly, fight, or do some other kind of physical activity while still remaining feminine and cute.

With Nina and Valandil, I picture them wearing something like what Ezio wears in Assassins Creed. Something that they can hide weapons in, move around quickly, and hide in the shadows with if need be. Nina's outfit is colored to help her blend in places that are darker and more urban areas while Valandil is better suited for hiding in a forest.

As for Nergal, the only thing that ever remains the same is his black cloak. Other then that he may wear a suit one day, a bright tie-dye outfit the next, or some other crazy outfit. Heck, you know the outfits Miss Frizzle would wear in the Magic Schoolbus? Picture clothes like that sometimes. =/
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PostSubject: Re: Let's all play dress-up!   Tue Sep 03, 2013 4:34 am

Practice regularity, study humans, allow extremism in minority, abandon traditional notions.

The uniforms for the Authority in my story will be changing, but the idea behind them is inspired by futuretech human clothing and anime largely. Simpler and practical clothes, like the old story version of Liari's, are dictated by what you would particularly find someone in her profession generally wearing. Nyselyn's clothing is completely unnecessary, so one can go extremist with it - in a high tech world with neat and professional uniforms / clothing styles, she wears an ancient style dress out of place from where and how you would typically find her engaged.

Of course, you can also keep with Felaryan standards and go nude. It can even be a status symbol - for example, lessay you have a human and a succubus. The human needs to wear clothing to keep themselves protected from the elements, particularly when it is cold. A frost succubus on the other hand enjoys the cold, and if societal standards were different for your setting she could be nude 100% of the time. And that could therefore be a status symbol in reverse of how human societies have typically portrayed it - she doesn't need clothing, so she doesn't wear it. The human does need clothing, and this difference is as striking as if the succubus were decked out "...in the finest corinthian leather" yet introduces a completely different dynamic.
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PostSubject: Re: Let's all play dress-up!   Thu Dec 12, 2013 6:53 pm

My fairy OC, Exona, originally wasn't going to wear a thing. But after I started writing Dynamic Equilibrium, I decided at the last minute to have her put on a lab coat. I still can't believe how well it worked out.
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