Over the top costuming without being absurdly impractical

Hiya once again!

I’ve been staring longingly at all of the gorgeous costuming, particularly Dawnish, and was wondering how to have such beautiful dresses, robes and such without it being absurdly impractical. What magic do you guys use?!

Also any tips on costuming for a mage? Or making a character look more magical?

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The only universal rule for Anvil seems to be the ‘Anvil Cut’ which is to have your hems a good 8 inches off the floor, which keeps them out of the mud and wet on the field, and makes dealing with them for the loo etc alot less unpleasant.

For Dawnish extravagance the biggest skirt you can find, or at least the biggest circumference of hem looks good. Adding far too much bling and embellishments, preferably in house colours or gold works.

As far as magical costuming, depends which magical school of thought you aim for, Dawn seems to be in favour of either weaving, legendary beasts or dramaturgy. So having items or designs that reflect your influences in those themes would probably work.

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Keeping things off the floor as CharlieP says.
Tho9ugh, saying that there are some FABULOUS dresses and robes out there that only make an appearance in the drier events.

Sumptous fabrics and trim, bling, a large hat?
I am not too hot on Dawnish magical traditions, but add in elements that chime with that. For wintermark I’ve gone with runes and feathers as it fits with our magical traditions and culture better

The Anvil cut is one option, but so are skirt hikes, which can pull up your outer layer to reveal a contrasting underlayer. This also lets you add beautifully tooled skirt hikes to your outfit!

A staff or wand let it be known you’re a spellcaster, obvious crystal manna let it be known you’re a ritualist.

I embrace the impracticality. Full length skirts, lots of flounce. I’ve got one dress with an 8m hem. I go to battle in a full length ‘battle gown’. Far too much jewellery, flapping veils etc.
I accept that I am going to tear/stain/destroy my dresses. I take at least one outfit for every day of the event, with multiple spares. I take a sewing kit. I will trudge through a puddle or run through a bush in my battle gown, confident that I can change out of it at the end of the battle (it’s made of a tough faux suede, so has survived quite well so far).


If you use machine washable fabric and trim; make detachable skirt (and definitely make the sleeves detachable!) and construct the clothing to survive the machine, you can go full length and hang the impracticability, safe in the knowledge that you can get mud of of the bottom 12” of skirt.

Many fabrics, including wool and silk, claim to be hand wash or dry clean only but can be machine washed if you prewash before sewing.

If the skirt isn’t detachable, you can think about stuffing the bodice part into a pillow case or mesh wash bag to protect it, and secure with a big rubber band.

The outer dress in this picture (bodice and skirt, but not the sleeves) went through a washing machine three times over about four years, due to excess mud. I did ‘pre-wash’ beforehand by hanging it up over the bath and using the shower spray on the hem.

The gold underdress was made out of curtain fabric and has been through the washing machine countless times.


Layering and accessories are really useful.
If you have a smock next to your skin you can change it every day.
Sleeves can be detachable - just make them like regular sleeves and pin them on at the shoulder - I even have special fancy pins (bought as hijab pins) for extra Dawnish unnecessariness.
A low neckline can be pretty chilly - fill it in with a partlet in an extra bling fabric for evenings.
Tippets are wonderfully extra, and like partlets and detachable sleeves, don’t need much fabric so you can splash out.
The Dawn brief covers some amazing hairstyles and headgear - I used fake plaits alongside my natural hair to do full Princess-Leia cinnamon buns.


Be careful though: the more fancy trim and bling and adornment on your clothes, the more they’ll look like League style.
Dawn tends to relatively clean simple lines: https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Dawn_costumes#The_League