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DRESS CODE

Amnesty strives to be an immersive LARP. As such, we require all of our players, NPCs, and monsters to be fully costumed. As far as our requirements, we ask that all of our players’ costumes lend to the aesthetic we wish to build. You can find excellent examples of the aesthetic at the Amnesty LARP Pinterest board.  Although this page focuses on clothing and kit, our standards extend to decorations and accessories present in game as well.

WHY A DRESS CODE?

At Amnesty, we've crafted a game from the ground up that was meant to allow people a rich visual experience to complement the imaginative one.

THE AESTHETIC

Although we often describe Amnesty's aesthetic as Southern Gothic with a dash of Western and Victorian, we are more varied than a specific genre or time period in human history. The fictional world of Amnesty, while taking some inspiration from history, does not correspond to any real-world historical era. Aesthetically and technologically the world resembles America of the 1840’s - 1910’s, with a dash of Victorian England. The City that all player characters hail from is vast; fashions may vary quite a bit between districts, social classes, and occupations. It is much more important to fit with the genre of Amnesty rather than adhere to strict historical accuracy. 

 

We put a lot of detail into these guidelines not because we are strict, but because there are truly a lot of various options available that fit our world if you take a little time to consider them.  We typically approve most things, as long as it "looks the part."  See further below for details on what is and is not permitted. Medical devices, such as modern glasses and walking aids, are always permitted as-is.

HELP US, HELP YOU

At your first game, we will ask to do a costume and weapons inspection just to make sure everything is passable. If it’s not perfect the first time, don’t fret! We will offer gentle suggestions on how to improve anything that may need to change, and are always willing to help you find or make any part of the costume you may need. We were all new once, and know how daunting it can feel to figure everything out.

 

Our community is a great resource for advice on the best thrifting techniques, easy ways to modify clothing you already own, or even finding gear to borrow or purchase! Please join the Facebook group or Discord, introduce yourself, and ask anything!

In the fictional world of Amnesty, while taking some inspiration from history, does not correspond to any real-world historical era. Aesthetically and technologically the world resembles America of the 1840’s - 1910’s, with a dash of Victorian England. The City that all player characters hail from is vast; fashions may vary quite a bit between districts, social classes, and occupations. It is much more important to fit with the genre of Amnesty rather than adhere to strict historical accuracy.

 

WHAT DO I WEAR?

Think about your character’s background and what they would have worn on a typical day in the City. Were they a politician? A singer? A fisherman? They will probably arrive in Amnesty in whatever they were wearing on the day of their exile. Look at fashion plates, illustrations, and magazine scans from the historical era that you wish to emulate. For example, you might search for “1870s working class,” or “late Victorian fashion.” 

We also have a Pinterest board for costume and setting inspiration! If you’re still scratching your head, it’s hard to go wrong with a simple linen or cotton shirt and trousers or a long skirt. Vests, scarves, hats, and other accessories make the outfit look lived-in. 

Below is a list of online resources to help get you started:

  1. Victorian (1837 - 1901) Fashion History and DIY Costume Guides

  2. Edwardian (1901 - 1910) Fashion History and DIY Costume Guides 

  3. Clothes Not Costume – How to layer and improve your LARP costume! 

  4. Wellesley’s Guide to Fashion Plates Sources 

  5. Beginner-friendly tutorial on sewing a basic shirt:

  6. I hand sewed a pirate shirt using 18th century sewing methods

  7. Crow’s Eye Production’s “Getting Dressed” series:

  8. Getting Dressed - Victorian Maid, Christmas 1853

  9. Getting Dressed in the early 1870s

  10. Getting Dressed in 1910s London - Working Class Suffragette

 

DO'S AND DONT'S

Jeans of certain cuts and styles are permitted:

  1. Dark colors only (dark blue, dark gray, black, brown)

  2. Full-length relaxed fit only (no skinny, bootcut, flare, JNCOs, capris, etc.)

  3. Button or concealed zipper fly only (no decorative zippers)

  4. No distressing, fading, whiskering, or other modern embellishment

  5. Jeans of the 1890’s were work gear and should be treated as such in the world of Amnesty. Think of them as similar to an electrician’s coveralls - not the person’s only type of clothing, and usually not worn outside of work

  • Functional zippers and elastic in costuming is perfectly acceptable, as long as it is kept discrete. Decorative zippers are not allowed.

  • Feathers, buckskin fringe, headdresses, and other appropriative “Native American”-themed costuming is not allowed. If you are ever in doubt about a costume element, contact staff at costuming@amnestylarp.com.

  • Genre-appropriate shoes are encouraged, but solid dark-colored shoes of most kinds are acceptable for personal comfort and safety reasons.

  • Natural fibers such as linen, cotton, wool, or natural/synthetic blends are preferred. Obviously modern synthetic materials like patent leather, crinkly polyester, and mesh are not appropriate.

  • The devil’s in the details! Simple modifications like swapping plastic buttons for wood or horn go a long way in making a garment look more genre-appropriate.

  • Foam dart guns (called “irons” in-game) must be painted to resemble metal colors OTHER THAN BLACK. Brasses, browns, and copper metallics would be the most common in the world of Amnesty.

  • Every blaster needs an orange tip via paint, existing plastic, or tape.

Please have a simple, genre-appropriate base layer outfit available for your NPC shift. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, just distinct from your character’s regular clothing. Any additional necessary costuming will be provided by the game.

 

Please also have a set of comfortable plain black clothing available in case you are asked to go “no-face” for your NPC shift. Leggings, scrub pants, sweatsuits and such are acceptable. Long sleeves are preferred but optional; it gets HOT in North Carolina.

 

TIPS AND TRICKS

Trousers would typically be held up with suspenders rather than belts

  1. Swap modern plastic buttons for 2-hole or shank-style buttons made of wood, horn, metal, shell, or bone

  2. Ladies’ daywear usually features a high neckline and long sleeves; bare arms and décolletage were reserved for evening wear 

  3. Gentlemen would rarely go out without a vest and/or jacket over their shirt

RECOMMENDED FABRIC TYPES

Simply choosing a good fabric type goes a long way towards fitting our aesthetic. Woven, natural fibered fabrics such as linen, cotton, hemp, and rayon blends are the go-to fibers. Additionally, we really, really recommend choosing these because of the heat and humidity in North Carolina; you will thank yourself for doing a little extra thrift shopping to grab that linen shirt over that cotton-polyester blend. Pure silk is also allowed, but keep in mind that it is difficult to care for and not amenable to humid climates if you are sensitive to heat.

FOOTWEAR

One of the most important, and expensive, parts of your basic kit can be footwear. Although sneakers and tennis shoes are not allowed (unless they are black/brown AND covered with boot toppers), there are many other readily available options to choose from. All medieval era footwear is approved, as well as most handmade leather shoes. Some modern hiking boots are very stylized, and we ask they be black and covered with boot toppers or wraps.

 

Amnesty takes place at a North Carolina park with sandy soil, ants, and spiky plants, so we highly recommend closed toed, ankle high boots, with adequate insole support. Breaking in any new shoes before game is also a good idea. Dark and neutral colored shoes, which are reminiscent of the colors available for non-modern leather shoes, are recommended.

 

A note on zippers

Decorative zippers, such as a second zipper on the outside of the calf, are not allowed and must be covered. Discrete, functional zippers are allowed.

 

If you have any questions regarding the footwear policy, or would like to get your footwear pre-approved, please reach out.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The statements above are all created to help guide a player's costume creation so that it complements the experience we wish to provide as game organizers, which is exemplified on the game photos around the site and in the Pinterest board. We are always astounded by the creativity of the community, and there are many possibilities that we just cannot address here. Make sure to join the Facebook Group for support during your journey!