Clothing is the one thing about ourselves that we change the most often. When we go to a job interview we (hopefully) don’t show up in our t-shirt, jeans, and scrubby tennis shoes. If we’re smart we show up in something professional that reflects our seriousness toward the job we’re after. Similarly, we don’t show up at a back-yard barbeque and rib-fest wearing intimate apparel.
No, typically when we dress we wear what we expect to be most appropriate for whatever the situation. Thus, when a writer or an artist or a movie/game maker creates a character for their story, regardless of genre, it makes sense that the character’s clothing should fit their particular situation (or have a thematically appropriate reason why it doesn’t).
As a culture, I think we’re finally becoming more aware of longtime oversight in the sensible attire department: namely, female characters in various fantasy/adventure stories. From medieval fantasy to 1950s-70s science fiction to anime to steampunk to comic book superheroes, to video game characters, we find a myriad of grossly impractical, sensationalist outfits for female characters. While there are occasional examples of smartly dressed adventuresses in each of these genres, it’s really only been the past 10–15 years that I’ve seen any kind of a move to promote a more sartorially smart heroine.
There are a lot of image blogs and galleries out there that celebrate the smartly dressed heroine in various sci-fi, fantasy, steampunk, anime, modern adventure, etc. Fuck Yeah, Women in Armor, Shield Maidens, and Armored Women, are all very good ones, and I occasionally check up on Women Fighters in Reasonable Armor in hopes that it will start updating again. While these blogs feature amazing images of paintings, drawings, even photos of women characters in effective adventuring apparel, I find them to be sadly short on commentary and explanation as to why these are useful and effective outfits.
The purpose of this blog is to offer collected, thoughtful commentary to go along with the images. I try to discuss why I find particular outfits to be effective: what works in terms of protectiveness, utilitarianism, story, setting, environment, character role, thematic appropriateness, and genre appropriateness.