Clothing of the Lassaran - A Study of Transitional Culture
Clothing of the Lassaran - A Study of Transitional Culture is an Official GemStone IV Document, and it is protected from editing.
Upon discovery of a Lassaran encampment of sylvankind in Whistler's Pass, scholar Lisano Torrenzia of Ta'Illistim immediately asked if he could record some of the details he would learn while taking advantage of common sylvan hospitality during his three-day visit. The following lore was revealed by storyteller Morrin Cairwyn and gives great insight into the influence that other cultures have had upon Lassaran clothing. The author would like to reinforce that while the Lassaran sylvans still retain many of their traditions and customs from the days in Yuriqen, their particular style is influenced by their travel and contact with various other races and cities. It is important that we not confuse it with traditional sylvan clothing customs, but instead take focus on the mixing of the two.
Lassaran clothing styles have evolved into a more versatile style with the introductions of new means of crafting cloth, discovering dyes, creating adornments, and finding/trading new materials. Traditional sylvan clothing tends to be crafted from hides, furs, and airy fabrics such as chainsil, cotton gauze, linen, and nubby raw silks. Today, they keep primarily to the same trends, but have added twists from the influence of their exposure to other races.
Barks, reeds, grasses, and flowers, as well as a variety of wooden beads, small bones, or other trinkets have long been used in sylvan clothing as adornments. In addition to these adornments, Lassaran styles have added pieces of metal such as mithril, ora, rolaren, and silver, as well as lesser metals such as copper and bronze. They can be used in the form of wire, beading, or braided into lengths such as wristlets or chains, even occasionally seen in the form of crude shards or ovals. Though dyes could be applied to the metals, they tend to be left in their natural hue and instead are applied to wood and fabrics.
Dyes were limited previously to the flora found in the Yuriqen forest, but as Lassaran traveled and became acquainted with new flora and foods, their dyes expanded. Dyes commonly used by the Lassaran include both traditional and modern concoctions made from these items in nature:
Blacks and Blues
- Iris roots, wild grapes, and sumac leaves create a black hue
- Mournblooms and grumbleberries are perfect for a darker purple bordering on black
- Mulberries and blueberries for a deep shade of blue, woad makes an excellent indigo blue, while larkspur flowers produce a delicate pale blue
- Wild plum roots for rust brown, oak bark for a light tan, acorns and walnuts for darker shades of brown, wolifrew lichen creates an ochre hue and red leaf buds from maple trees are for a red-hued brown
Purples, Reds, and Pinks
- Foxglove, heliotrope, and elderberries for a lavender hue, cherry roots and blackberries for a strong purple
- The cochineal bug, when ground into a fine powder, can produce a range of colors from dark burgundy to bright red to soft lilac and pink
- Strawberries, cherries, winterberries, teaberry fruit, and raspberries for shades of pink and red, roses and lavender with mint and some lemon to create a vivid pink hue; thornberries for a pale pink and tkaro root for a darker hue of pink
- Dandelion roots, red cabbage, and beets produce red hues, most red leaves and red lichen as well
- Hibiscus flowers, beets, and old blooms of daylilies produce a red-purple tint
- Madder root and annato seeds produce a range of hues running the gamut from dark red to deep orange
- Dragonstalk, flamestalk, monkeyflower, and sirenflower produce more basic shades of red-orange hues
Oranges and Yellow-Golds
- Onion skin, goldenrod, and lichen for yellow-gold hues, and pomegranates for brighter orange; for a more true orange they used carrots
- The roots of plum trees are used for a peach or salmon dye
Greens and Yellows
- Spinach, artichokes, algae, Imaera's lace, and grasses create shades of green
- Coreopsis flowers, marigold blossoms, daffodil flower heads, and celery leaves after they have dried produce shades of yellow
- Goldenrod produces a medium hue of yellow, while angelica is used for a paler hue almost the color of yellow-green
- Ginkgo leaves in the autumn also produce yellow hues
Styles of clothing for Lassaran tend to be more practical due to the heavy traveling they partake in, forgoing the flowing gossamers and fragile fabrics used by sylvans in Yuriqen. Instead, they favor less entangling styles such as loincloths, fitted pants, and simple shift-styled dresses. It should be noted that in dresses, the simple style would include a loose hemline that allows for movement, but does not flow outward to entangle in the environment.
The density of fabrics and materials used by the Lassaran (such as doeskin) is also something of importance, as the more dense a fabric is, the closer it drapes to the body, and the less likely it is to get caught up by a limb or bush. In addition to the new dyes and metals, fabrics such as silk and leathers were adapted as adornments on belts, clothing, and other items. It appeared as if there were meanings behind some of these patterns, but if so, it will take more than a three-day visit to unravel.
Hemmed usually at mid-calf, the garments are tailored to skim close to the form without being overly constrictive or voluminous. A simple matching belt and several lacings are used to customize the length of the sleeves and hem to match the environmental needs – overly warm weather, rising creek and river waters, protection against the cold, etc. Fastenings include laces and/or toggle-type buttons on plackets. Embellishment is often limited to tonal, organic patterns mimicking nature – the haphazard fall of leaves, animal markings, and other striations found in nature.
Breeches, Shirts and Blouses
Similar to dresses, shirt fronts are usually placketed and fastened with laces or toggle buttons, and the sleeves can also be adjusted for the elements. Necklines tend to be high and straight or square-cut, however, the placket can be folded back to create a diagonal V-shaped opening. This might reveal a thin gauzy underpinning, insulation that helps hold in body heat during cold weather, or wicks off perspiration during hot weather conditions. Breeches can be simple with a placket or laced front, sometimes worn underneath a loincloth, or with elaborate pant legs designed to wrap and tie to conform to the wearer's leg shape and needs during hunting and fishing or other chores.
There are two types of loincloths: functional and often worn alone, and the accessory style worn over breeches -- more as a fashion statement. They can vary in length from mid-thigh (usually worn during summer) or the more modest knee-length, and when made of hides usually feature an uneven, natural hem. Braidings or beltings of matching leather or fabrics bind the garment. Linked chains are generally avoided for two reasons: they can pinch the flesh and make noise – both hindrances to movement and stalking.
Shoes and Boots
Shoe styles have largely remained the same as traditional preferences, with the addition of moccasins and fitted boots with thick soles.
While they do like to indulge in the new styles available to them, the Lassaran remember to be practical as they move quite often, and stealth is important. As such, gems tend to be more muted hues and used sparingly. The more flamboyant a decoration is, the more attention it calls to the encampment, and as such, the use of gems is most often symbolic rather than aesthetic, though there are exceptions.
Amber is one such gem that holds symbolic and religious importance among the sylvans and is found most often as an adornment. Believed to be the solidified tears of Imaera when nature is disturbed, it is often symbolic of a grieving earth. However, because it is formed naturally, it also has found meaning for sylvans as a symbol of nature in itself, and as all nature is the creation of Imaera, this often translates into a blessing of Imaera. Those who find or receive a gift of this gem with intact encapsulations inside, such as a tiny acorn or whole leaf, a bug mid-flight, or a small reservoir of water, are considered destined for greatness, as it represents Imaera's blessing. In general, the use of the gem in gifts, or as adornment for various items of the Lassaran has purpose as well as expresses their own personal sense of style.