Gamers, by our nature, are not ones to dress to the nines. But, as Mark Twain Said: “Clothes Make the Man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” There are a slew of things that your clothing says about you. Especially at game. There are also a lot of ways to use the way you dress to impact your game.

Gamer Gear
We’ve all got a slew of T-shirts with geek sayings on them, or accessories that come from beloved shows or books. Clever bits of geek culture that connect us to the things we like. They also mark us out as what we are: Geeks. Every sub-culture of society has their own markings that connect them with others. Have you ever been walking through a random non gamer place, seen a person in a Star Wars or D20 shirt, and made a comment because you knew there was some common ground. Their gamer gear marks them out as someone of the same sub-culture as you are.

How's it sit? Pretty cunning, don'tchya think?" Kaylee: "I think it's the sweetest hat ever."At the table, Gamer Gear helps you get immersed in the game. Whenever my group plays D&D or fantasy games, red dragon shirts and “I Roll Twenties” adorn the gathered. When playing a Star Wars game, we all wear Star Wars shirts to each game. Once I had my Jayne hat, I had to run a Serenity game, just to have a chance to wear it.

 

Dress To Impress
Sorry you get to see my ugly mug so much. Dressing up in gamer gear helps you get into the game, but it isn’t always the best way to dress. Ever want to make a deep impression on your players? Show up in a suit. Wearing a suit, dressing more nicely and cleaning up puts you in a different frame of mind and gives a different sense of authority. Dressing more professionally can also be great for getting your players to take a game a little more seriously. When you’re acting out the part of the Mr. Johnson, or the CEO of a Megacorp, and all your players can see is you in a suit, they can’t help but impose the sense of professionalism you bear onto the NPC.

 

Dress To Break The Mold
At my day job, I often try to have one piece of unique clothing on, just to offset the work-a-day world that I have to be in. Either a pair of cargo pants with lots of pockets, a wide black double pronged belt or my favorite felt newsboy cap. It doesn’t break the dresscode, but makes me feel a little unique. It’s an old confidence trick, like imagining everyone naked. A small way to show rebellion.

Dressing to break the mold can help get more quiet players over their shyness and help them participate in the game more. If no one else is wearing a hat, but they are, then they’ve got something unique that helps them feel like they stick out a bit more. Sometimes all it takes to get a person over shyness is that first little step, and sometimes it takes a kilt and goggles.

Ahhh! The white legs of Ohio!

Dress for the Game World
One of my many steampunky costumes.Getting into costume for a game can be fun. Even a small prop can help you get into the role of the character. One of my friends showed up to a Star Wars game in full Stormtrooper armor. It was hard not to get immersed in the feeling of being a squad of elite Stormtroopers after that. Another friend set up a whole costume as a skater punk elf. It was a little dorky, but it really cemented the idea of his character in the players heads. Me, I build props in my spare time and always have something new each con season. Whether its a small prop or a full costume, dressing for the game world can really amp up immersion. Just be careful not to cross any common sense lines with your costumes.

 

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A Warforged head I made for one game.

 

 

Me, in my normal state.There are an incredible number of options for clothing at game. Whether you dress in the most chic of gamer gear, outdo your friends with your fashion sense, break the mold or dress to immerse yourself in the game world, paying attention to your clothing always has great benefits. So take a minute or two and think about what your clothes say about you at game.

What type of clothing do you usually wear to game? What is your favorite piece of gamer gear?

About  John Arcadian

John Arcadian is the head of Silvervine Games, a freelance writer and art director, a website developer, a builder of sonic screwdrivers, and a purveyor of kilted mayhem. When he isn't out causing trouble in his kilt... Well, no, that is pretty much what he does when he isn't running RPGs or or trying to take over the world.



15 Responses to Dressing Up For Game

  1. First off, gamers are not fashion-unconscious “by our nature.” I happen to be both a gamer and a sharply dressed man.

    Ahem.

    That being said, nice article! Must say I’ve never gamed with a stormtrooper before.

    I was DMing a game for some college freshmen. This group was known to be rowdy and often scatter-brained. To project a sense of being in charge, I made sure to show up in a shirt and tie. The first thing anyone said was “Wow, nice shirt” and from then on they listened to what I (the DM) had to say.

  2. I’ve recently started encouraging the players in my Serenity game to use costumes and as you say it really helps with the immersion if, when you’re talking to somebody they look like their character. A few sessions in 2 of the 7 now have full costumes while the rest have bits and pieces. Even just having a jacket or hat seems to be helping in that it defines the character a little more, which is always useful at the start of a campaign while the player is still trying to define the personality and background.

    The only issue I’ve found so far is, as the GM, trying to find something suitable to the theme. I have one costume that fits with a regular NPC but given he won’t always be present during a session it seems a bit out of place to dress as him every time.

  3. The pictures are what really got me convinced actually.

    If I’m not wrong, each picture is of you, right John?

    Seeing the difference between every picture really got me thinking. Especially the CEO picture (at first I thought it was David Beckham oO) The differences between each picture is astounding!

    I’ve always been thinking to dress up like some occult monk, just to make my players feel the shadyness of the bussiness they’re dealing with. (Also to make them feel that they are not the only ones that can be evil)

  4. @ZedZed77 – You’re right. Not all gamers are fashion unconscious. It’s impossible to apply that stereotype to every gamer out there. However, I do hold that it is a fairly major part of gamerdom that it applies to, at least in regards to game. I know when I sit down to game I’m not usually worried about more than being clean and having a good gamer shirt on, fashion-wise. Its my relax time, and unless there is a need for it, I don’t usually think too much about my clothing.

    @whodo_voodoo – That’s awesome! I think this approach works really well for more modern games. Its much harder for fantasy games, as medieval faire garb seems slightly out of place. Maybe not in gamer living rooms, but it never quite fits.

    Costuming for a GM is hard to pull off because of the multitude of characters portrayed. I like to have one prop that I’ve constantly got on for a major NPC (such as an Eyepatch for the captain of the guard), and then use image representations of other NPCs.

    @Patrigan – Yup. Each one of those pictures is of me. I’ve never been compared to David Beckham before, thanks! Now I need to see if I can fool Victoria Beckham. :)

  5. Kurt "Telas" Schneider

    The pictures did it for me, too. I’ve always used props, but drew the line at anything too LARP-y. Now I think I might invest in a few hats, scarves, eyepatches, etc…

  6. I’ve never done the costume thing -except- for LARPing, but considering how bloody bad my group tends to be at settling down and focusing on the game, perhaps its time for me to start showing up in businesswear.

  7. The only dress up I ever did was in this supers game where I was playing the son of Superman. We played Wed. aftern work, and I would sometimes wear a Superman T-Shirt under my buttondown work shirt. The first time I opened my shirt to show the Superman T underneath everyone thought it was pretty cool, and I felt fairly badass.

  8. @John Arcadian – I’d definitely agree that the approach works much better for modern games, if only because it’s easier to convince players. I hadn’t thought of having a significant prop for each NPC, might have to give that a try during the next session.

  9. While I often wear gamer gear, I like the idea of dressing up for an RPG. Like deadlytoque I’ve dressed up for a LARP, but it’d be cool to do it for the normal game. Hmm… maybe it’s time to start looking for some circuitry temporary tattoos for Billchow.

  10. @Kurt “Telas” Schneider – The getting too larpy is a definite downfall of props or costumery. Another one is gamer distractability. One nerf dart gun can cause a WHOLE lot of trouble . . .

    @deadlytoque – The setup of the gaming space can also factor in to the groups rowdiness. Back in college, conference rooms were available everywhere. They were the best places. Huge tables, nice chairs a projector every so often.

    @Hawksmoor – That sounds awesome! I’ve never, aside from the crap superman movie that just came out, seen the son of superman done.

    @Scott Martin – I’ve never been involved in a big larp, but I’d like to try one at some point. I’ve got some friends who do it pretty heavily, and they always come up with elaborate props and costumes. To me that would be half the fun of it.

  11. I think my “Sith Happens” t-shirt was a good indicator of where our Star Wars series was heading.

    I wonder if the game would have turned out differently had I rented a Sith Lord costume instead? :D

  12. Whenever my gaming group gets together, we usually end up making costumes/props on the fly when we get really immersed in the game. When my players dash out of the room and come back with ties, fedoras, and fake guns that they stole from my little brother, that’s when I know they’re getting into the game.

  13. As a girl, I have a couple options that most guys don’t; jewelry. I wear the harp pendant when playing my bard; the dragon pendant when playing my dragonborn, the fleur-de-lis pendant when playing my French scholar, etc. It doesn’t do anything to help the other players, but it helps me to remember who I’m playing and to get into that mindset.

  14. Kurt "Telas" Schneider

    @Sewicked – True. We guys (especially we nerdy guys) tend to notice anything between the neck and sternum… ;)

  15. @Sewicked – Guys can totally wear jewelery too. Mind you, we won’t look as good it in, but we can. Sewicked, what would you say the suit and tie equivalent for a female gamer is? Pantsuit?

    @Kurt “Telas” Schneider – Only if you are looking at the Evony ads, Kurt. :)

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