That was the introductionary sentence to an older text, originally written as part of an ongoing exchange and creative exercise on the now defunct Team8 SLA Industries forums about styles in the World of Progress. The text appears here in a slightly modified and updated format.
Your umbrella. Do not leave home without it.
Umbrellas are the single most important accessoire. Raincoats and -capes also play a big part. You can tell a lot – if not all – about a person, or at least their sense of style, by the kind of rain protection they choose to wear. From New Parisian designer umbrellas (with holes, as was the craze all over Mort in 903…) marking the followers of high fashion, to the clear plastic and see-through raincapes (with zippers and holes in all the right places) favored by fetish and (- not necessarily – alien) sex wear enthusiasts.
Icons and imagery.
The culture of the World of Progress is all about labels and brand names and companies. Expect appropriate logos everywhere, either from the designers/manufacturers or from sponsors or employers, either incorporated in an article of clothing or as an accessoire or jewelery. A Karma manager absolutely will have a Karma logo or associated design somewhere, if not everywhere on her outfit. And so will someone who really buys into the Karma lifestyle (never forget: ‘we sell lifestyles’).
Apart from that, there are two other major, pervading themes in fashion: Imagery associated with violence and death is favoured by practically everyone but especially conservative circles (expect little silver skull buttons on expensive business suits, cuff links in the shape of shell casings, lapel pins depicting little drops of blood and so on). The other thing, often found on the lower to middle rungs of the corporate hierarchy but also with lots of other people, is symbols representing money, wealth, commerce (little credit symbols worked into the fabric of suits, uni coins as pendants, shaking hands depicted on ties, …).
We’ve got the technology.
SLA Industries uses its amazing – and often enough weird – technology not just in specialized applications such as armour, weaponry or the creation of new life forms, it is used everywhere, in the most mundane capacities. It is an integral part of the lifestyles offered by the company. For clothing that means that not only are we going to see lots of living fabrics by Karma, but also Science Friction materials (no way is Dark Lament leaving the fashion markets to its traditional rival without a fight), the advanced ceramics and laminates that are a trademark of many SLA products, ferrous metals for use with Mag-systems, chemically reactive clothing, integrated chippyports, and lots of fusion powered gadgets.
Topping it off with a hat.
Going by some of the illustrations, headgear can be an important, even defining style element in the World of Progress. Aside from various caps, hats and helmets, the established top hats and fez, giant bows and hair ornaments made from flexible memory plastics (‘streamers’ in my World(s) of Progress) and other choices satuarte a market, where going without headwear is a conscious fashion statement in and of itself.
M’ask who’s there?
Tying in with the hats above, facial protection – masks, visors, goggles, veils – are an often seen item of clothing/accessoire, that may or may not be integrated or combined with other items, whether in the shape of a helmet’s face plate or a pull-up face mask attached to a sweatshirt. A big distinction there is between ‘open’ and ‘closed’ styles, i.e., ones where the face is (mostly) visible – either because the cover reaches only part way such as with goggles or due to the use of transparent materials – and those were the face is mostly or entirely hidden.
Buy our products!
Last but not least, one thing I personally found very useful as an approach to clothing (styles) is to try and not just describe a style or even a particular character’s look in broad strokes, but give details on single articles of clothing – product details. Name (and brand name!), short description, price. All you need to get a player to not only say ‘well, my op goes shopping’ but to say ‘I want THIS!’.