I can't even …
… follow the rules all the time
by Sara "Zarine" Jessop
Recently I have been approached by plebs a plenty asking me a plethora of questions. And not queries of the normal variety. Usually I get questions like, “Which cream should I use for this rash” or, “how much for that blonde in the window?”. However, lately I have been getting wonderfully refreshing questions like this one: “How do you reconcile the fact that white shouldn't be worn after Folkestone questing with A: white appearing in the heraldry of multiple nations, and B: the traditional colors to wear at the black and white masquerade being, as expected, black, and white?”
Well, you see dear reader, fashion is a fickle thing. It's full of all sorts of rules and some of them can be quite conflicting. Sometimes what's fashionable one season might be to completely ignore the rules and be a rebel. Of course, conforming to nonconformity has it's dangers. If one of your friends suddenly acquires a taste for flannel, puts his hair in a man-bun and starts acting like Drike, seek a medical professional immediately! They are clearly coming down with what we in the medical field call “being a hipster”, which is a quick moving disease that will completely kill off all of your hopes and dreams of being fabulous. There is a cure, but it's quite complicated, and... oh dear, I have gotten completely off topic.
Even in fashion rules are meant to be broken and it's important to know when and where it's acceptable to break them. Unfortunately there are very few guidelines on such things. Rebellion has no defined rules and as such is very treacherous terrain to traverse, but I will do my best to dredge up some common sense answers to the aforementioned question. I will even give some unasked for advice as well, because I'm so giving!
Patriotic colors are always fashionable regardless of season. Many nations of the Realms use white as part of their heraldry. So of course you can't just put away your flags and tabards after Folkestone Questing, that's just plain ridiculous. However, just because there is white on your nation's tabard doesn't mean that you need to wear white pants with it. White, like black, goes with any color, which likely explains why both colors get used so often in heraldry. No one's flag is just a plain field of white, else they would be surrendering every time they took the field. So chose a different heraldic color to represent in the clothes you'll be covering up with your tabard.
Any individual social event can call for the breaking of any number of fashion rules by it's very nature. The Black and White Masquerade, for example, happens after FSQ and calls for costumes of... wait for it... black and white. Therefore, wearing white is not only acceptable, it's required. Wearing colors other than black and white or appearing unmasked are the only obvious rule breakers. Of course other rules could still be broken, like not matching your shoes to your handbag. On the other hand, perhaps somewhere there is a party where the whole point is to have completely clashing purse/handbag combinations! Or maybe there is a gathering of socialites having a socks with sandals convention, though I wouldn't recommend attending such a ridiculous debacle. Some rules exist for the safety and security of our dignity and should not be messed with.
White should never be worn at a wedding by anyone but the bride regardless of season. Dear reader, even an unmarried single lady like myself understands the sanctity of the brides special day and her desire to be the center of attention. And as much as I love to be the center of attention, weddings are one of those times when even I stand aside for someone else. Likewise, white shouldn't be worn to funerals either. Once again, you aren't the center of attention, the deceased is. Everyone should be staring at the cold, dead, bloated corpse, not your tacky arse.
Gentleman's dress shirts and women's chemises are always an exception to the white rule as well, provided something is being worn over is, like a doublet or vest for a man, or a corset or dress for the ladies. Of course, winter white is always a better option in the winter months, but a nice crisp pristine white works as well.
Remember that these rules are for social events and gatherings. Wars, rescuing villagers, raiding weaklings and such have different rules where fashion is concerned. I hope, dear reader and concerned citizen of the Realms, that these words have cleared up some of the confusion surrounding my previous advice. Some rules are meant to be broken. How else would fashion ever evolve if it weren't for the few brave souls who successfully challenge and change the status quo? People of great importance who innovatively move the world forward? Just remember, most of you aren't actually that important.
Zarine is the proprietor and Madam of Alchimia Lupanar, a magic marshal approved practitioner of medicine, and has 35 years of experience in giving her unsolicited opinion.