For the symbol in heraldry representing wheat, see sheaf.
Garb (sometimes referred to as kit) is clothing that you wear, usually referring specifically to non-modern clothing worn at events like a Renaissance Faire, historical reenactment, or a LARP. The choice in clothing worn adds to the environment, creating a sense to involvement in the activity and signifying your participation. Garb can vary depending on the context, from a simple tunic and pants to complex dresses and doublets. The signifying characteristic of garb over the term "clothing" is garb's adherence to historical and fantasy visuals.
Garb is a very important aspect of Amtgard culture. New players are expected to begin wearing garb within the first month of participation, which they either obtain through gifts from veterans or of their own accord. Many parks offer the limited use of loaner garb for people who fail to wear their own. People wear garb in Amtgard for many reasons: immersion into the fantasy world, the boasting of significant colors or symbols, to represent a persona or NPC, or simply to be allowed to take the field under the combat rules.
Simple garb can be very inexpensive, which alleviates the barrier between new players and the continuation of playing Amtgard. Many players search through thrift stores to find old clothing that can be modified to fit the visuals of a swords and sorcery organization. Baggy polo shirts can be cut to resemble a tunic, accented by a belt at the waist and plain linen pants. With enough searching, persistent garb shoppers can find old army blankets for a warm clock, or a cool hat to complete the look.
On the other end of the spectrum, committed players will sometimes spend time, money, and energy to make beautiful handmade garb that dazzles the senses and wows their peers. Garbers spend years perfecting their craft, whether they make fighting tunics with complex applique or embroidery hoods or detailed dress.
Garb is often spilt into three categories: field garb, which is the de facto garb for weekend park activities; court garb, usually worn to feasts and court at large events; and monster garb, used to denote and represent a monster during battlegames.
In order to withstand the strain of battle, fighting garb should be as durable as possible. Reinforcing seams can help to prevent ripped garb. Adding gussets and gores to armpits, tunic skirts, and pant crotches relieve the pressure from major connection on garb, and can allow better range of movement.
Natural fabrics are often preferred, especially in hotter climates, since synthetic material doesn't wick away sweat and keep the body cool as well as natural fabric. Cotton, linen, and even lightweight wool will be much cooler than polyester and nylon. In colder climates, keeping warm is a top priority, though vigorous exercise can warm a body up very quickly. Wearing multiple layers is preferable to one thick layer, both as a trick to keep out the cold and to allow the fighter to remove and add layers as their temperature changes.
Depending on the class someone plays, or the way they fight, different garb might be required. A tunic and pants would allow a fighter to assume practically any combative position. Floor-length skirts, or very billowy garb, might make it hard to assume melee combat, though it may not impede an archer or magic user. When choosing fighting garb, it's important to consider what type of fighting you will be doing, and under what conditions.
Since court is often conducted in cover shelters or indoors, court garb is much less restricted in materials and fit than fighting garb. Amtgardians wear a variety of things to court, representing a wide variety of personas and personal tastes. In some regions and conditions, it's socially acceptable to wear fighting garb - just off the ditch line - to court or feast. In other times or places, it's considered rude, and people are expected to at least don a clean tunic.
When portraying a monster, either during a battlegame or as a monster race, monster garb is essential to properly convey the creature you are representing. The quality of monster garb varies from complex and creative, to minimal or non-existent, depending on the person or group who are playing a monster. The minimum requirement during a battlegame is a silver sash, though other accessories are suggested. The definitive guide for playing a monster in Amtgard is the Dor Un Avathar, a manual of the traits and abilities of both monster and monster races.
Types of garb
While garb itself is an important aspect of Amtgard, there is no clear cut definition as to what the category contains. Most Amtgardians portray a vaguely-medieval person, wearing a tunic, pants, and dark shoes or boots. Some Amtgardians break this mold by wearing garb to represent different personas: ears and a tail to play a catperson, hakama as part of an Eastern regalia, the chiton of a Greek citizen, or the orange and green wings of a fairy. Others portray a specific culture while wearing the standard tunic: adding a four-panel wool hat to portray a Viking, or altering the tunic pattern slightly to make the rubakha of a Russian. The wide variety of influence of Amtgard culture allows for infinite creative potential.
The most common item of garb for the torso is the tunic, a simple garment that is common throughout history and fantasy. There's also a standard shirt, often worn as an undergarment to add a layer between a tunic and the skin. A surcoat can look great over a shirt or undertunic. Dresses are always visible in Amtgard culture, with varying lengths and styles. Many people like to augment their torso layer with a corset, worn both under the garb as a posture trainer and over the garb as an accent piece.
For warmth, most Amtgardians default to a cloak, with styles and lengths depending on personal taste. Some cloaks are hooded, or have sleeves, while others are more simple rectangles fastened around the body. Coats are also popular, like the Norse kaftan. Materials for cloaks range from think satin to thick wool.
Unless you are wearing a long garment on top, bottoms are a must. The most common contender are trousers, though some people cheat with dark-colored jeans. Skirts are also popular, and can be as thin or fluffy as the wearer desires. A common sight in Amtgard are wrap pants, and their cousin hakama, both intended to wrap and tie around the wearer's waist. Some who wish to wear more period bottoms might try hose fitted to their legs, or chauces and braies.
Shoes are often a point of contention among the Amtgard population, as good leather shoes either require leather working skills or a decent chunk of change, which some Amtgardians don't have. When medieval-looking leather shoes aren't an option for any reason, it's common for players to wear neutral-colored sneakers or boots. A thrifty player can often find used boots at second-hand stores if they are willing to search.
To kick it up a notch, plain shoes can be augmented with spats to hide the modern aspect of already-owned shoes.
When money or time aren't issues, pair of leather shoes or boots can be a solid addition to a garb wardrobe. Pre-made or cutsom-made shoes by artians are not cheap, but can be a perfect fit and made to order. Learning to make your own turnshoes is time-consuming, but can cut costs far down and be a wonderful A&S entry.
Good accessories can add a fine touch to garb. The most common accessory, used by almost every Amtgardian, is an o-ring belt. Belts are essential for keeping tunics from billowing while fighting and moving. Some people prefer a buckled belt, both for looks and support. Solid white and red belts are reserved colors, representing knights and squires respectively. Black and yellow belts often indicate men at arms and pages, but are worn by a variety of people.
The belt can serve a secondary function of acting as a place to hang pouches and belt favors, which can be accessories unto themselves. Some fighters like to hold their weapon in a sword frog, while a small minority prefer to craft a boffer-friendly scabbard.
From the Rulebook
Each class has its own particular garb parameters. In addition, there are certain other garb elements that denote special positions. Additionally you may receive a Look the Part bonus for your class if your garb portrays your class well. Note that all battlefield participants must be in “period” garb (tunic, robe, Armor, etc.):
- White belts (any belt more than 25% white), unadorned chains, and spurs are reserved for knights and may not be worn by others. A knight may also choose to trim a knight's white belt with a color particular to that order of knighthood: Gold for Knight of the Crown, Silver for Knight of the Sword, Red for Knight of the Flame, and Green for Knight of the Serpent.
- Red belts (any belt more than 50% red) are generally only worn by squires.
- Black belts with silver trim are generally only worn by men-at arms.
- The phoenix is the symbol of Amtgard. White and Black Phoenixes are reserved for knights. Gold Phoenix on red background is reserved for Warlord. Otherwise, the phoenix is generally only worn as part of kingdom heraldry.
- A sash in the color of their class decorated with a silver trim is the reserved symbol for Paragons (Class Masterhood)
- Guildmasters are entitled to wear favors marked with the symbol of their guild.
- The use of crowns and coronets is reserved for royalty and nobility, although their retainers may wear the symbol of a crown on their garb.
- Most companies and many individuals choose to register their personal symbols and colors. While not specifically disallowed, it is considered bad form to use another’s coat of arms without his agreement. Personal symbols and colors should be registered with the Guildmaster of Heraldry and the Prime Minister.
- The garb of a page is a yellow belt and is generally not worn by others.
- The use and application of good garb is important in creating the correct mood of the Amtgard battlegames and events. All members must be garbed in a “period” fashion. Newcomers should have their own garb (and weapons) within a month of having first attended Amtgard. It is easy and inexpensive to fashion a T-tunic or tabard, and plenty of people are willing to help. If you have questions about garb or any area of the rules, then all you have to do is ask.
- For the purpose of determining what class people are playing, class sashes must run diagonally across the chest from one shoulder to the opposite hip. They must be at least two inches wide. You may not wear sashes for classes you are not currently playing. Paladin and Anti-Paladin symbols must be at least 5 inches by 5 inches.
- Garb Made Easy by Elissa
- Trashy Garb and Positive Perceptions, an article about garb standards by Sir Randall
- Festive Attire Historical Costuming, a seamstress's blog, making garb from Renaissance era to near-modern clothing, focused on feminine clothing
- Costuming website by Eva, and SCAdian.
- Patterns based on historic art (German language)
- Extreme Costuming, a historic reenactment blog displaying costuming
- Basic Tunic Tutorial by Frú Ka'a Acklie
- Viking Hood Tutorial by Frú Ka'a Acklie