What Do I Need for My Character?
Who is your character? What do they do? Please don't have an existential crisis while thinking about those questions…but answering them will go a long way when putting together your costumes and kits. Some things are essential though and can be generalized across the board, whether fae or human or dwarf. First things first: the base layer (also known as your soft kit). It is usually advised to start dressing your character in their soft kit - and add to that. A soft kit is kinda what it sounds like - clothing! This kit will serve as your base layer and they can be elaborate in design or as plain as you’d like. Items typically found in a soft kit include: tunics, shirts, blouses, pants, dresses, chemises, and skirts. You’ll also want to include something for cold and rainy weather and nothing beats a cloak(wool or wool blend)!
Cloaks are versatile and amazing. They can serve as a blanket when it gets extra cold at night or a sleeping bag, an emergency tent (I’ve found myself and a few friends huddled under my cloak during some surprise rain and it worked wonderfully to keep us warm and dry). Your cloak can even serve as a shield against heat at the campfire or smoke coming your way. Forget your pillow? Cloak! Use it to hide those unmentionables underneath it (like a backpack or bag that doesn’t quite fit the setting). Have too much to carry? Cloak! Easily works as a makeshift bag. They are a staple piece in my opinion.
Footwear is also very important and it needs to look the part. Any type of leather boot is popular (usually without a visible zipper or label) - like combat boots. We do understand that your shoes need to be of good quality, supportive, waterproof, and comfortable! So it is perfectly acceptable to add a boot cover on the top of them if needed. For your pants, please consider getting some scrub pants or kung-fu/martial arts pants at least at first, not sweatpants - your body will thank you. If possible, get a couple of linen undershirts. Linen doesn’t absorb sweat/smells and tends to dry faster than cotton. Your friends will thank you. Having extra comfortable tunics and trousers for longer events is a good idea, so that you’ll have something warm and dry to change into if needed. Time to accessorize! Now that we’ve got an idea of the base costume, we can move on to the more fun things….accessories! Accessories could be considered unavoidable - but sometimes, that’s where the magic happens!
Because of the lack of pockets, you’ll need to consider getting some pouches and bags to carry all your loot, I mean, stuff in. I always want to have coins, snacks, baubles, and other small items at the ready. But I need my hands free for other activities! I can’t carry around pouches of snacks and coins, hence the need for a belt! It’s more efficient to have pouches attached to your belt. So, I’d consider this a vital accessory. You know what else can be attached to your belt? Scabbards for weapons! And frogs for mugs or drinking horns. Speaking of weapons (sword, dagger, ax), while they aren’t mandatory for a LARP character, you might want to defend yourself or participate in combat. Owning at least one is probably a good idea.
Now that we’ve worked through your most basic kit, what else might we need for your character?
A hat or a cap can be integral to your kit. Not only do they keep the sun off of your face, they can put your whole ensemble together.
Gloves can help prevent calluses on your sword hand and they look cool
Corset/Cincher…because lookin’ snatched doesn’t have to be reserved for the club
Shield (if applicable)
Jewelry…all the shinies!
Other items to consider for your character that aren’t exactly a part of your soft kit, but still very useful for events:
A wool blanket or two.
A set of wooden dinnerware also known as a feast kit. (wooden bowl, fork and spoon, tin mug)
A lantern and candles for it.
A fire set. (flint, steel, tinder, ect)
A few gourd bottles for your water that you bring.
Enough sacks to cover up trash bags and other modern stuff you should be ashamed of (only kidding about the shame part).
Some dice and a cup! For funs! Or knuckle bones.
SNACKS and pies and cookies.
A basket to keep your non-pouch items in.
Think about what other props your character would need to have on their person. Do they need a spell book, staff, or wand? Do they need wings or elf ears? Thieves' tools? Wig? Body paint? The list is almost endless - What do you want your character to look like? Who do you want them to be? That will help figure out what you need beyond the basics.