THE ERPHERONIAN CLOTHING

LOWER CLASS - MIDDLE CLASS - NOBILITY - WARRIORS

The Erpheronians, representing the predominant tribe at the southern Sarvonian continent, not only have had a major impact on politics, economy and everything related to warfare in the Santharian kingdom, but also have influenced the clothing style worn south of the Tandalas to a vast degree in the last centuries. Today people from other continents will take the typical Erpheronian tunic with the characteristic broad belts often simply as Santharian. It is quite understandable that this kind of clothing style spread fast to the south and became more than a fashion only - as compared to other tribes, the Erpheronians always stood for an extremely rich and noble society. Aside from the fact that Erpheronian costumes were introduced as the official clothes for the Santran and other officials, today's Santharians seem to like to identify with this kind of superiority expressed in the clothes worn. Thus it becomes more and more difficult these days to distinguish a rich Avennorian Pearler from a typical Proudman of the north. However, people tend to adapt clothes to their needs and idenities, and so you may find Erpheronian clothing throughout the southern half of the Sarvonian continent, though enriched or adjusted with traditional elements of other cultures.

Below we try to point out the main guidelines of archetypical Erpheronian Clothing, which has been common in the ancient Erpheronian lands, what today is the Santharian north. Clothing details are split into Lower Class, Middle Class, Nobility and Warrior Clothings. The style in all classes, though especially the middle and higher classes, can vary based on position and wealth.

Lower Class Clothing. Erpheronians of the lower class tend to wear clothing made of linen or wool, which can be purchased or produced rather cheaply. Clothing is most often times made rather large so that, as the person wearing it grows, they will come to fit it, or, more importantly, fail to outgrow it. It is also essential that clothing doesn't hinder the hard manual work peasants and their like have to do. Among the poorer classes, it is important to save wherever one can. Even dresses and bodices can be adjusted so that they can be worn for years to come.

The men wear loose, long-sleeved shirts that can be rolled up to the shoulder in hot weather. The collar of the shirts are either a triangle-cut or cut in circular fashion. These shirts are rarely dyed, and if they are, the dying is done rather cheaply, so the color washes away after a few months, but usually retains an off-white color from dirt or mud. The pants worn are also loose, and are typically made of thick wool or, in rare cases, of cheap cow leather, and in their typical brownish hue. Leather pants, if sown tightly, can last a poor man seven years. Boots, too, are made of leather. Though they aren’t as nice as the boots of the upper class, they too can last a long time if produced well.

Women of the lower class tend to wear bodices over a loose dress. The loose dress, because of the natural comfort of it being loose, is often also used as a nightgown. In the morning, all a girl has to do is lace up the bodice, which is often made to be thick and stiff. Bodices are meant to be tight, and are thus bought to fit around the torso, hugging a girl in the right places in order to show her assets. As a girl grows, the bodice is simply not tied as tightly as before. Many women can afford to buy a bodice at the age of 16 and wear it for their entire lives. Women’s shoes are also made of leather, but are much smaller, given most of the work a woman does is in the household.
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Middle Class Clothing.
The middle class, which typically includes merchants, storeowners, their wives, or handmaidens for the nobility, have more selection in what they wear than the poorer classes. The men will wear tunics connected in the front. These tunics are most often rather plain, though some of them may include small studs or cheap embroideries. Recently, the style of these tunics has also included strips of leather sown from shoulder to the end of the tunic. Most of these tunics are leather, though some may also be wool, and are black or brown, though some may come in green (a very popular colour), or else red or yellow. The sleeves of the tunics tend to be loose, and have almost small sleeves of themselves.

Another kind of tunic that is rather popular among the middle class is one that fits more snuggly around the torso. Unlike the previously mentioned tunic, this one does not extend down to the knees, but stops at the waist with a small flap of cloth that extends a little farther (usually only 5 nailsbreadths or so). The tunic is not connected, but holes along either side can be tied up with string, similar to a bodice. Small sleeves extend at the shoulder, and though the tunics come without a high collar about the neck, many prefer the neck as it seems closer to some noble styles. These tunics are usually worn in black or green, though red and yellow also appear. Other colors tend to be more rare. Vests are also more popular among this class than in any other.

A white, long-sleeved shirt is usually worn underneath, tied with string at the end of the sleeve. Leather gloves, typically brown, can be used to hide the cuff and string. With these tunics are worn belts, which have greatly expanded in width over the last several years so that they are now about a palmspan in breadth! The pants are typically leather, usually brown, though some come in leather, as well. Many of these pants stop at about the knee, and a tighter material, usually in white, will extend down to the boot, made, also, of leather.

Women of the middle class wear a combination of poorer and higher-class styles, depending on their wealth. Bodices appear less often in the middle class than the lower classes. Too off-set the lower class bodice look, some bodices have been designed to look a bit more elegant, and conform better to a women’s body. Some bodices are tied at the sides, instead of down the front. In 1662 a style arose where the bodice was tied in the back, but being unable to tie by oneself made it a difficult bodice to wear, and very few are worn today.

Some bodices have fashionable shoulder pieces stiffly protruding a bit past the shoulder, perhaps alluding to the higher-class tunics of the men. Other shoulders are thick, some with “shell” curve to them. Extensions on the bottom of the bodice, like a small, light skirt, are growing in popularity, though some still prefer only a stiff flap of cloth, similar to those in some of the middle-class tunics. The bodices, unlike the poorer class, are often patterned, sometimes in floral designs, but usually in an abstraction of colours and forms.

The dresses worn under the bodices are rather plain, though many of this class will try to mimic the nobility by usually two colours to add flavour to the dress. Sometimes layers will be used, one being pinned up so another can show. It has recently become more popular for dresses to be sewn up in the front with strong, leather lace. The sleeves are often worn long, often very loose until the fabric comes to a cuff at the wrist. Sometimes sleeves are slit along the seam to reveal part of the skin. Shoes are often made of leather, and are sometimes decorated with trim or dye.

Some of the women’s styles are dictated by their positions. Handmaidens usually wear a sleeveless dress with a shirt or light, long-sleeved dress underneath. This top layer is often coloured, usually blue or purple, though in times of special occasion, she may wear a colour that matches her mistress, or may indeed wear a different dress altogether. The dress has a seam just below the bust to add a bit of modest feminine charm to the outfit. There are sometimes light decorations around the hem of the dress and sometimes around the colour, but not always. Sometimes the dress itself is rather plain. The dress worn beneath is only seen through frills around the collar and long, loose sleeves that narrow around the wrists, only to frill again. Sometimes this handmaid will wear a hat or a hair-decoration in the same color as the outer dress.

The middle class, one might believe, is rather fond of hats. Wide-brimmed hats with feathers stuck in them have become a growing attraction, both between the higher middle class and even the nobility. Thicker hats in various colours and styles, trimmed in a plethora of ways, appear, but none can compete with the growing popularity of the wide-brimmed feather-hat.
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Nobility Clothing. The higher classes are allowed much more variation in their clothing; lent, of course, buy their wealth. This ability to afford for differences has allowed the high class to afford things imported from other provinces. Silks are especially prized for their shimmer quality. Clothes from the Bolder, dyed by some of the best Caltharian dyers, are made into lovely vests, dresses, shirts, etc. Some of the styles worn by the nobles mimic other tribes, such as the Maeverhim, with wing-like appendages sewn into the seams. Noblemen of today even wear loose, light, Shendar clothing, dyed with the signifying Uderzan blue.

A Noblewoman wearing a Pearl Earring

View picture in full size Pic description. An Erpheronian noblewoman wearing a pearl earring. Picture drawn by Bard Judith.

Tunics are popular among the men of the Erpheronian nobility. They are most often worn with short sleeves and with designs on either side, coming down the chest. These designs may be embroidery or small, metal-covered holes where leather string can be strung. The sleeves of the tunics typically protrude a little past the shoulder and are thick around the edges. The tunic will come down long, to the knees, and is most often held in place by a leather belt, usually black as this helps to even more widen distinction between the higher and lower class. This belt will often carry a nobleman’s sword, worn mostly for decoration.

Under this tunic may be worn a shirt, usually one that’s loose about the arms to lend a more elegant look to the garment. This shirt, which comes in a variety of colours, is most often silk, but can also be wrought of linen, though if one wishes to wear an elegant dickie at the neck, silk is surely the way to go. The sleeves are usually tighter at the wrist, but most wouldn’t see this, as gloves, typically black leather, are worn on the hands. The boots are made of similar leather, and both the gloves and the boots are often folded at the edge to accentuate the neat, clean feel of the garment (and the man wearing it). The pants can be made of leather or various other materials, as long as they’re strong. It is typical to wear black.

The dresses of the women of the nobility are completely without bodices. These dresses are intricately designed and embroidered, and the dying in the colours is some of the most beautifully done. The collar of these dresses is not nearly as low as in the lower classes, and shows a certain amount of modesty in the higher, square-shaped design. The styles vary tremendously, but some of the popular ones include a two-colour or two-patterned style, with one colour coming down the front and another coming down the sides, the front-colour appearing again in the sleeves covered slightly at the top by the secondary colour. Another popular one includes the dress being of one colour with trimmings in a more striking color, such as gold or silver, usually appearing around the collar, around the elbow of the sleeve, around the edge of the sleeve (which will usually flare out to a rather large diameter), and sometimes at the shoulder. In both of these styles, a decorative belt may be worn, though often a piece of embroidery is used to outline the curve of the hips, and the design tips low in the front.

As previously mentioned, however, the style can vary tremendously as ladies of nobility try to find new and different ways to express themselves and allude to their wealth and elegance. The dresses themselves may be designed with small ruffles, or made with a variety of layers that are lifted to show each. Some dresses are designed with elegant trains or with wing-like appendages attached at the seams. Recently, the main variations in the standard have occurred in the sleeves. Some sleeves may appear with poofy joints at the shoulder and elbow. Others may be slit in places to reveal the skin underneath. Others still may include several small strips of cloth running from the shoulder to a small cuff at the wrist. The styles are virtually numberless.

Shoes of the ladies, though rarely seen, are also decorated, usually with a shimmer cloth, or else one that allows glittering things to be attached to it, such as small studs, both metal and crystal.
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Warrior Clothing. The Erpheronians are a very militaristic race. Being the tribe closest to the Tandala Highlands, they are the most susceptible to attack from the north. Erpheronian knights and warriors therefore have strong armour to help protect them in combat.

Karthach of Ishmarin

View picture in full size  Picture description. Portrait of Karthach of Ishmarin (SW II) in full Erpheronian armour. Picture drawn by Quellion.

The helmet, wrought of metal as are most parts of the knight’s armour, has two basic styles: rounded and cylindrical. The rounded helmet tend to fit better, though is harder to make, and thus reserved for more skilled or wealthy knights. These rounded helmets are often plain, but can sometimes be decorated with an extension at the top. Often time there is faceplate that can be moved to reveal the knights face, or else cover it. These helmets have slits for the eyes and small slits for breathing around the nose and mouth area.

The other style of helmet, usually used for the common or poorer knights is cylindrical shaped, and usually very simple. These helmets do not open typically, but still have small slits for the eyes and along the mouth for breathing. Often these helmets are made of a metal with less quality, and will turn a black colour within the years they are in use. Another popular gear worn on the head is a headpiece made of chain mail called of coif, typically framing the face and extending across the shoulders. Often times this coif can be worn under the helmet.

The body armour also has various styles. The most popular, used for wealthier or skilled knights, is a full metal breast-plate and back-plate. Usually these plates are connected at the sides, similar to a Turtle’s shell. Not all torso-protecting armours are like this. Some of the greatest protection can be made out of chain mail, which is loose and, in some cases, is easily worn underneath one’s clothing. Hauberk armour isn’t often as tough as its full metal counterpart, but allows more flexibility. Hauberks typically extend beyond the waist, all the way to the knee, similar to a tunic. Such armour is often used for gentries that can display the Erpheronian symbol with a white, cloth over piece. Common warriors wear plain leather armour, usually enforced by multiple layers of leather for more protection.

In the case of full metal breastplates, Knights commonly wear plated metal sheets below the waist, almost like a small skirt, that allow protection and flexibility. Full metal armour is also worn around the legs and feet. This armor is extremely heavy, but also extremely protective. Most will use leather armour bound to the leg by thick leather strings, as they also do for shoulder and arm protection. Lower-division knights may also wear metal wristbands. The wealthier knights have all their armour in metal, from their shoulder armour to their gauntlets.

The styles of the armour can vary greatly. It was said that the some ancient Erpheronians kings had armour wrought of pure mithril, with gold inlays and elegant designs in green. Where this armour resides or if it truly ever existed remains unknown. Today the armour of kings is often decorated, but still wrought of the same metal as the high-class knights.
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