Fashion and Dress in Greyhawk
Zagig Yragerne is revered among the many clothing manufacturers and merchants of Greyhawk for repealing all the sumptuary laws that restricted the types of clothing worn by citizens of the city. The upper class had long forced everyone else to dress in dull colors to highlight social ranks, but in time, even the nobles came to see the value in allowing everyone to wear almost anything — especially when this created an enormous and unending market at home for every type of clothing imaginable. Merchants sell more clothing here than any other merchandise, even food.
Today, few city populations have clothing styles as varied as Greyhawk’s. Every culture and race of the Flanaess has contributed something to the vast whirlpool of fashion that swirls through the city every year. The awareness that folk here have of social and economic status is intense. It has been remarked that the ultimate goal of fashion in this city is not to make everyone look like a noble, but to make everyone look like a merchant (in other words, rich).
The primary materials used in clothing are wool (grown and processed locally), cotton, linen, leather, fur, and — for a great price, available only through import – silk. Wool is most commonly worn in the cooler months. Poor folk wear simple and roughly sewn garments for the most part, but many try to make themselves look better than the rest of their peers.
Many middle- and upper-class folk, male and female, wear a vest, blouse, or surcoat with pants or a kilt (or along skirt or dress for women), though robes or togalike garments for either sex are common as well. Cloaks and gloves are most common in cool weather or at night. High boots or shoes with high stockings are often worn with a short robe, toga, or kilt. Some women wear full dresses or gowns. Nearly all clothing is cut so that the wearer has great freedom of movement, which is a principle that Greyhawkers feel strongly about, even if they rarely need it. People are largely unconcerned about exposed knees, ankles, necks, waists, wrists, arms, legs, and so on, though there isn’t a lot of exposed skin to be seen on a daily basis -people love nice clothing here, and they wear a lot of it to add to their social status.
Hats are not uncommon, but most citizens go bare-headed in warm months. Footwear is of every sort, and comfortable shoes and boots are widely available; stockings or foot wrappings of cotton or wool are commonly worn with them. Jewelry is very common, though usually restrained except among a few individuals. (It is considered an invitation to thieves to wear more than a few items of jewelry, and anyone who goes out with a valuable bauble and has it stolen gets no public sympathy). Even poor folk try to wear decorative items made from bone, feathers, colored string, beads, and so on. Rings, necklaces, bracelets or bracers, earrings, and so forth are seen on both sexes and all races.
The most common garment colors are natural hues of green, brown, rust, gray, and black. Anyone who wears these colors are readily available and inexpensive. Richer folk can afford brighter colors like red, orange, blue, purple, yellow, and so forth. White is considered a sign of wealth, as alack of dirt or stain means one does not have to work for a living. Colors are presented in solids, stripes, checks, plaids, simple patterns, and so forth. Some churches, notably that of Pelor, make a habit of collecting used clothing from wealthy citizens for distribution to impoverished ones; as a result, even poor folk often wear good-looking clothing in Greyhawk, though with patches and worn spots. Hair and beard styles are of every sort, like clothing. Though the people of Greyhawk believe that they are extraordinarily well groomed when compared to the people of any other city in the Flanaess, it should be pointed out that the middle and upper classes rarely bathe more than once a week on the average, usually before church services on Godsday; the lower class does not bathe at all except on major holidays. Perfumes and colognes are thus widely sought and used.
Roger Moore. Greyhawk, The Adventure Begins. 1996