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Basic Information

Clothing is a very useful technology, it keeps you warm, and protects you from both the elements and charges of indecency.

In terms of price and utility, clothing varies extremely widely - from the cheapest stuff available to top line fashions, from the utilitarian to the visually impressive and from minimal covering to the heaviest of cold weather gear.

In the modern era, there is quite a large gap between the price of the cheapest clothing on the market and that of the most expensive, but by historical standards, clothing is cheap1. In previous eras poor people might well only own one set of clothes, carefully patched and darned - even to the extent that rich people would often pass on unwanted clothes to the poor by way of charity. You might be too good to wear patched clothing, but someone else would be glad of it. By contrast fashionable individuals in Elizabethan England might own a wardrobe of clothing that was worth more than their house, which is virtually unthinkable in the modern era. To some people clothing might well constitute treasure - hence all the stories of people2 being robbed of their clothing as well as their goods - and, indeed, items of clothing being left in wills. The Mosaic Law includes regulations on mortgaging your cloak and even the quite recent past contains records of people pawning clothing and bedding in extremis. One of the possible interpretations of the nursery rhyme "pop goes the weasel" is that it concerns the protagonist pawning his suit or coat to make ends meet3.

There is an immediate visual contrast in most eras between clothing worn for work and that worn for leisure - although in some eras owning leisure clothing will be a status symbol. In many societies, include most dystopiae your clothing may indicate your caste, or some other aspect of your status4. Where these distinctions are important, Sumptuary Laws may be enacted to ensure that only the "right" people wear the relevant clothing.

Workwear may be simple and utilitarian, may be a livery of your employer's and/or may include protective aspects appropriate to your work. And that's not even considering armour.

Here is a list of pages on Arcana Wiki pertaining to clothing:


1. How to Be a Tudor, Goodman, Ruth.

Game and Story Use

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