I Can't Even...
by Sara "Zarine" Jessop
With my recent article on adventuring gear and the latest edition of “Ask Syruss”, I have been thinking a lot about practicality. It's a subject that I have never put much thought into, honestly. Like the kitchen, I know that it exists, but I have never thought about how I might actually use it in my own daily life. It's something that, until now, has been best left to others.
Dear readers, you have inspired me lately to think outside of my comfort zone and explore new and uninteresting things. So I shall explore the more practical things in life, which we shall all pray goes better than my exploration into cooking. Since I have been prescribed bed rest after an unfortunate minor explosion that in no way at all lead to the Order of the Spoon needing to open a new training facility, I have had plenty of time to think. So I laid in bed, trying to convince myself that I can choose function over form. It's not going to kill me. Of course that's what my cooking instructor said... But there are worse things than death, like for instance, being a boring pleb. Why is practicality always so dull? And then I began to think, “Maybe it doesn't have to be!” We shouldn't have to choose form or function. Like my dear friend Eldrich always says, “Embrace the power of 'and.'” We can have both!
“But Zarine, you're on a lot of pain killers, maybe you aren't thinking clearly..” Oh no, dear reader, I am thinking with the clarity that only near death boredom can bring. Just because something is functional does not mean that it can't be aesthetically pleasing. One look around at my own employees proves that. So let's explore some ways in which you can be practical and not be a boring eyesore.
Pockets. Pockets are a simple thing that can be put into nearly any garment to make it more practical. They can either be visible and add to the look in an interesting way, or they can be hidden away inside where they still provide functionality without detracting from the garment. All sorts of things can go into pockets, including pocket watches, which are also an example of something that can be both functional and beautiful. You know the time and you're fashionable? If those pockets are deep, then you and I need to talk!
Spectacles. They don't need to be bookwormish or clunky. They can enhance both your vision and your features if you get the right pair. Now I know that you can't see them, but other people can. Especially the other people with enhanced vision like your own. So, now that you can see more clearly, look in the mirror and ask yourself, “can I do better?” Spoiler alert, the answer is yes.
Flat footwear. I know, crazy talk right? No. You can find beautiful footwear that is also both comfortable and practical. I don't always make the most sensible choices when it comes to footwear. Just a few weeks ago I heard them snickering behind my back as I participated in a Gladitorium in what the uneducated boys thought were heels. They were not heels per se, but they were certainly not practical and my feet and legs were quite sore. I should have chose something more fitting for a day of adventuring and fighting. I hear you can even have boots made with sheaths for knives, or compartments in the sole where you might smuggle things.
Cloaks. Outerwear is another area in which I struggle to make good decisions. Do I always look good? Of course. Am I warm? Absolutely not. The clothiers of the Realms make beautiful cloaks and jackets which are both warm and fashion forward. So there really is no excuse other than pure stubbornness that we stand around looking beautiful and freezing to death, or gad about like a homeless, unwashed pleb while being toasty warm. It's fixable and we need to do it.
Accessories. Yes, even your accessories do not need to be purely for show. Ladies, is a man getting too frisky for your liking? Stab him with your hat pin. Trust me, if you stab him just so, he will never bother anyone ever again. A hat or hair pin can also double as a lock pick if you find yourself in need. A cane can hide a sword, for you never know when a fancy party might turn violent. A locket can hold a vial of poison, for when you want to kill someone but lack the stomach for actual violence. Your friends might pick on you, but you can poison them too. Your ring might hold a (very) small dose of snuff, if your into that sort of thing. Rings also provide added oomph when punching someone in the face. Fans can help keep you cool and you can call someone hither with them. Belts hold up your pants, but they also hold satchels and pouches and drinking implements and they can be quite nice looking. Purses and pouches likewise have many uses and can hold many things and the looks of them do not need to be merely an afterthought
So you see, in just a short time I came up with a tidy little list of ways that you can be both practical and fabulous. All it takes is a little thought and you can be both a paragon of fashion and an efficient dealer of death all without changing your outfit. So let's all put in a little more thought and a little less terrible into our choices, shall we?
See you next Tuesday.