1. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Clothing description

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Elgaisma, Sep 7, 2010.

    OK this is only one reader out of several most get the description one has however called it ridiculous. So curious how people perceive it lol.


    revision

     
  2. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    First of all, you shouldn't really say that last sentence at all - work it into the description, even if it means extra words like, "the tunic makes him seem so much taller - so much more intimidating" or something. You should never just state an emotional effect without tying it back in to what you've been describing.

    Secondly, you describe the undershirt first, then the outer. I know as dramatic presentation it might make more sense, but to be honest, no one notices something like that first - the outer layer sounds clearly designed to wow, so describing what's under it first shows that you're trying to do something with your writing, and makes the reader aware you're there, messing with the order of things, when naturally I'd say most people would notice the falcon and bright green-ness first because they're vivid, and only after some good hard staring at that take in all the details such as white sleeves or something. Especially since white is so much of a nothing colour.

    In your mind's eye, look at him, and describe what strikes you first, then fill in the little details after the first bold impression.
     
  3. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks Mel

    Do you get an image of it? He objected to thigh length sleevless tunic most of all? - said he didn't understand it.
     
  4. Lothgar
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    Lothgar Contributing Member

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    Just my two cents:

    Generally speaking, the common soldiers wear uniforms. The monarch will adorn himself in the military garb during public appearances where he officiating as the "Lord Commander of the Royal Army" or whatever title applies. The King's uniform would be the most ornate and highly decorated, with more military medals than you could shake a fist at, as is suitable to the station of a monarch. In medieval and many fantasy story situations, it is common for a monarch to appear in full plate armor (Ornately decorated with rich engravings, with the royal crown clearly visible atop his great helm and his "uniform" being the colors of his surcoat) flanked by both a standard bearer and a herald...and not uncommonly a formation of royal bodyguards very close behind him (but not so close as to obscure the monarch form being the center of attention of his subjects).

    When a monarch isn't reviewing his troops, he doesn't wear a military uniform (unless the monarch is actually some tin horn dictator of some war torn third world country). As King, he would be expected to set the social fashion for the male nobility and gentlemen of the court, by wearing regal attire, richly ornamented and bejeweled to convey the proper sense of awe inspired majesty.

    The whole point of Kingly presentation (The monarch overdressed in regal attire, sitting on a gilded and jeweled thrown, inside a GIGANTIC throne room furnished with the finest the realm can produce, surrounded by royal court advisers, heralds, personal attendants and grim faced men at arms bristling with a multitude of sharp and pointy weapons) is to inspire awe, intimidate, impress and make the visitors feel as small as possible, as if they were in the presence of a god (or at least a monarch who is King by the grace of the almighty).

    A monarch with body servants to dress them each morning isn't likely to favor subdued, plain or conservative garments. Whatever they wear would be embroidered with spun gold thread, bejeweled with sparkling gemstones, sporting buttons of silver or gold, with collar and cuffs trimmed with the rich fur of whatever animal is the most difficult to hunt and most expensive.

    These customs are part of the social order and protocols of being a King.

    Keeping these things in mind, I'd suggest describing the garments of the Monarch as:

    "He wears an emerald green, thigh length, sleeveless tunic of crushed velvet, trimmed with fox fur and sporting an insignia of a large falcon in flight, embroidered on the chest in spun gold, with a sparkling ruby set as the falcon's eye. It is worn over a silk undershirt, trimmed in layers of lace and tailor fitted, black, velvet trousers that were neatly tucked into his polished, black leather riding boots."

    (In fantasy/medieval times lace wasn't thought to be a feminine decoration. Because of its expense, it was viewed as a sign of wealth and means).

    Of course, my description leans more towards the "formal and intimidating" style of dress that you implied.

    ...But that's just my two cents :)
     
  5. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    I don't think of a sleeveless tunic as being particularly odd -- I mean, it's a culture you invented, and sleeveless tunics (perhaps originally intended for keeping their wearers warm in damp coastal weather) are distinctive enough that I like the idea.

    I'm a bit weird, though. Honestly, the thing that bothered me was the idea that the uniform had been the same for so long. I'm the sort of person who would introduce the idea of a fluid, changing, and therefore very real society as early as possible.

    If you like I can remove the above; I was just fiddling around with the worldbuilding and it sort of got away from me. I'm not familiar with your world, obviously, but it's fun to look at traditions and how they change -- and I think the idea of a particular color of uniform being associated with a royal house is a neat one.
     
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  6. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    LOL build your world away. My uniform holds a crucial thread to the story it does many things. Not least shows the MCs transformation to King later in the story.

    The uniform needs to remain the same or several rather fantastic scenes would be messed up:) I have a scene where the kings eject one of their members, it allows for easy identification of who they are as all portraits had been removed. Does the fact it has been made by the same people for the past 400 years help (the Abbot of the monastry is over 420 years old)lol? Also the falcon on the front is if the Abbot so decides magical. The King wearing it in the scene is the first to be ignorant of it's significance, and he is a stickler for all the superficial traditions:)

    I have a fluid changing society, part of the significance of the uniform is the idea of a monarchy at odds with the society. Angus is a typical modern teen, complete with MP3 player and laptop. His language and behaviour are at odds with the image. He is wearing a dirty jeans and t shirt in the scene lol He does have a uniform he refers to as his clown suit with a turd shaped hat.

    The early Kings of the Island probably dressed themselves they did have a valet but viewed themselves as servants of the people. Also it has to practical for their fighting style etc It was a variation on what everyone else used to wear:)
     
  7. Thanshin
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    Thanshin Active Member

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    Are you sure he's not wearing a tabard?

    It'd be quite peculiar to wear a thigh length sleeveless tunic over an undershirt.

    Not that I know much of those kinds of things, but my wife sews medieval clothing so I've worn... many kinds of things. And let's leave it at that. :)
     
  8. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    It is between the two in my head lol However in shape it is closer to a Greek tunic than a tabard which is usually shapeless. Tunic gives me closer to what I have in mind. Possibly gambeson is the closest, but then it is not padded.

    Plus my warriors and army wear the same tunic except their's has sleeves and is black or various shades. The Queen's certainly isn't a tabard either.
     
  9. Lothgar
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    Lothgar Contributing Member

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    Monarchs who actually view themselves as servants of the people, instead of being entitled to power and privilege by divine right?

    Your fantasy Kings are truly noble indeed :)
     
  10. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    :) I pinched them out of the Book of Mormon lol farming kings. Seriously I like nobility I like reading about it etc
     
  11. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    By the way, just another random grammar note 'cause I'm sort of working and don't really have time to get involved in the discussion, but 'thigh-length" would probably help out a lot... Just 'cause another stumbling point might be not knowing where to put the emphasis in that section.
     
  12. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    thanks have corrected it in the manuscript:)
     
  13. white
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    white Banned

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    Something else to consider (details made up on the fly):
    Always try to explain why things are the way they are. I don't like 'emerald green' because I think that is such a cliche word pairing, so I opted for 'deep' green.

    Hope that helps.
     
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  14. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    it is emerald green because there is an enchanted emerald in the crown later on the colour was chosen by the first King to represent the strength and wisdom of the position of king. My first person narrator doesn't yet know why the falcon is there.:) Except the length of the tunic every other aspect of the uniform has significance to the story somehow. Even the under-shirt and trousers. Right now my narrator only knows the uniform is the way it is because the king wears it lol Knowledge is restored throughout the book.

    I'd have to change whole chunks of the story, if I change it too much. I waas concerned one of my readers didm't get an image from the description. Thank you for the ideas though just not convinced it is worth me reworking the story at this stage.
     
  15. Aeschylus
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    Aeschylus Contributing Member

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    Just a general suggestion for description: when you describe something, use specifics. Use concretes. If you're vague, the reader will be left guessing; you want to associate adjectives with specifics. If you say that he is intimidating, don't just say that--say what is intimidating. Likewise, if you're describing New York and you want to explain that the city has a "cold" or "harsh" feel to it, don't just say that it's a cold city. Say what about it is cold. That doesn't mean you need to list everything that might be applicable; just give a couple of concrete examples to form the picture properly.
     
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  16. Thanshin
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    Thanshin Active Member

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    I don't understand what you mean with "shapeless". The tabard can have the exact same shape as the tunic but for the vertical cuts under the arms, that can be tied (front with back) to form exactly the same shape as a tunic, while being much easier to put on.

    Over the armor? Or under it.

    Putting on a tunic while wearing an armor would be really hard to do without help. If they're wearing it under the armor it's essentially a short chiton, which would be undististinguishable from a long undershirt and it would be strange to describe it as a tunic.
     
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  17. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    no armour which is why I am reluctant to call it a tabard, it is simply worn over the top of the undershirt. It's purpose would be closer to a martial arts uniform the material would probably be similar to lycra in the way it clings to the body. There are no ties just straight over the head and it is closer to a frock style waistcoat in shape without the buttons.

    Depending on the culture it is from a tunic tends to be closer to the shape I want, like I say it is between the two, because of the addition of the other uniforms it makes more sense to use tunic to me anyway.

    A man that is usually calm and measured never shouts has been hollering and shouting at his errant child for about three paragraphs lol and is about to go on to whack him upside the head. Does that work?
     
  18. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    The word uniform should be replaced with regalia.

    Kings and Queens wear regalia. You could add pompous -Have worn the same stye of pompous regalia for over fourhundred years. But being that it is the princess talking she probably won't see it as pompous.
     
  19. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    would it be regalia if the valet, equerry and military chiefs all wear practically the same uniform and it is practical? The monks also wear something similar when in warrior mode. When it was first designed it just a variation on what the rest of the population wore.

    The only things that distinguish the king's uniform from that of his staff are the colour, the falcon and when out he wears a cloak (his has a coloured lining and is longer than the rest of his staff) and crown jewels. In this situation it is just the tunic. This is where the under-shirt and trousers come in everyone within the king's court has the same base to their 'uniform'
     
  20. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am not a 100 per cent sure.
    I would think that if the king is not in Royal regalia but is in battle dress to go to war or inspect his troops then I would say The King dressed in the uniform of 'the Royal Marines' or 'RAF or whatever. Then point out what makes the Kings uniform stand out from the rest.
     
  21. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    It is not even a military uniform either, it's hard to explain but the early kings of the Island had farms etc they were self sufficient. The aim was they provided leadership rather than being a burden. The tunic and crown jewels have certain powers that allow the king to function in his role but in the first chapter they are unknown to my first person narrator. The idea of the tunic was it could be just taken off allowing the king to work, that is why his and those of his court are sleeveless.

    I had forgotten by the start of the next book school teachers at the Royal Academy wear a dark blue uniform of the same style.

    Everyone in the early society that began by mixing the indigenous race with an incomer were trained as fighters and could defend the country. This only became completely lost during the reign of the narrator's grandfather.
     
  22. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    How can you not understand "thigh length, sleeveless tunic"? Seems pretty clear cut to me. (Of course, I used to work at a casino and wore a thigh length, sleeveless tunic!)
     

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