Dressed to Swashbuckle

A Wornette explains her favourite video game character outfits

As a gamer and self-proclaimed fashion-writer-person, I think it’s important, while gaming, to note not only a character’s skills or weapons, but also their aesthetic appearance. Every part of a video game character’s outfit has been carefully designed with fashion as well as function in mind. As much as I love a look that is comfortable to fight in, there’s nothing wrong with some extra flair. In video games, where changing clothes isn’t a possibility (with a few exceptions) the outfit that has been created for a character becomes a huge part of their identity. Let’s be real here: it just wouldn’t be Chun Li if we saw her dressed in anything but her classic dress.

Character: Chun Li
Game: Street Fighter 2

Chun Li is arguably one of the most well-known video game characters right now, and for good reason. She combines all the best things into one supreme outfit: sexiness (hello, legs!), modesty (puffed sleeves and hair tied back), and total don’t-care attitude. I think maybe that’s what makes this outfit so great: it can be a bit crazy, but she’s rocking it, so we’re down.
Attractiveness: 5/5
Effectiveness: 4/5
Badassery: 5/5

Character: Ezio Auditore da Firenze
Game: Assassin’s Creed II

Ezio is the original gangster. The first time I ever played Assassin’s Creed I totally failed at it, but it was awesome anyway because I got to see all the clothes and the world and explore and stuff. Anyway, Ezio’s outfit is probably one of the coolest I’ve ever seen. It’s not even the way it looks aesthetically, but all the secret weapons and compartments he has, like a Renaissance-era Inspector Gadget, but instead of being a detective, he’s an assassin. It’s so cool! Who else could wear a poet-sleeve shirt with an armour vest? Not to mention the four different knives he has stored in his gloves and spaulders. This is an outfit built not only for wooing the ladies, but for fighting and defending the honour of his family.
Attractiveness: 4/5
Effectiveness: 5/5
Badassery: 5/5

Character: Link
Game: Legend of Zelda

Despite his initial pixie-like appearance, Link’s outfit really packs quite a punch. If we care to take a closer look at his sartorial choice of white tights (fancy!), earth-green tunic (classy!), and matching green bandana (sassy!), we see a young man who is strong and brave, not to mention incredibly skilled at being stealthy and blending into his surroundings like the mysterious man that he is.
Attractiveness: 4/5
Effectiveness: 4/5
Badassery: 2/5

Character: Nathan Drake
Game: Uncharted

I might just be putting this in here because I have a video game crush on Nathan Drake. But here goes: Nathan’s ripped and stained white Henley shirt that’s semi-tucked into his dirty jeans, making his pirate-themed belt buckle visible, just looks so good. SO GOOD. He looks cool and casual, ready for some ass-kicking, but still semi-clean and civilized. Plus, that scarf! Awesome.
Attractiveness: 5/5
Effectiveness: 5/5
Badassery: 5/5

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A Checkered Past

Why tartan was banned in 1746, and nine other things you never knew about plaid

Tartan (or plaid in North American speak) is instantly recognizable by its mesmerizing, layered lines. We know it as the swatch of choice for schoolgirls and suburban dads, but long before that it was (and still is) a symbol of all things Scottish. Tartan has transcended tradition, going from a humble cloth of the Scottish Highlands to a timeless print with far-reaching appeal and a place in nearly every Canadian’s closet.

Back to school bonus point: there were fifty-three different kinds of plaid used in Clueless. See how many you can count on Cher in one of our favorite WORN supercuts here.

1 // Crisscrossing Languages
Tartan’s linguistic roots come from more than one language. Tiretaine (French) and tiritana (Spanish) both mean a blend of linen and wool. It’s also rooted in the Gaelic word breacan, which means plaid, speckled, or checkered.

2 // Strength in Number (of Fabrics)
Tartan is traditionally made out of two fibers – linen and wool. When woven with warp and weft, this binary composition gives tartan its supreme resistance. This material also goes by (fun word alert) “linsey-woolsey.”

3 // We are Family
Among Scottish clans, the lines of tartan run deeper than wool. Members of a family would wear a specific pattern to show others who their allegiance was to. The pattern could appear on a traditional Highland dress, a kilt, or a scarf. Consider it the classier answer to wearing an “I’m with them” shirt.

4 // Rebel Rebel
Thanks to Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Scottish clansmen, tartan was banned in 1746 after they unsuccessfully attempted to overthrow the British throne. Under the Act of Proscription, authorities believed tartan was an uncontrollable force of rebellion. Luckily for Scots and the fashion world alike, tartan returned from exile in 1782.

5 // Highland High
Ever wonder why tartan is ubiquitous on school uniforms? It goes back to 1851, when Queen Victoria brought her fashionable sons to the opening of the Great Exhibition. Her boys were clad in full Highland dress and it caused a sensation of Bieber proportions. Ever since, tartan has become a staple for private school dress.

6 // Slash and Burn
The British had it right. Tartan is a rebel. In the late ’70s, it became a staple among punks, thanks (in large part) to Vivienne Westwood. She and Malcolm McLaren of the Sex Pistols launched a London boutique called Seditionaries, specializing in punk clothes that defied the status quo. And it sure did. Westwood took scissors, chains, safety pins, and bin liners to the Scot’s swatch, turning tradition on its head.

7 // Springsteen Approves
Tartan is the unofficial fabric of American blue-collar worker. Paired with jeans, it has become synonymous with the hard working American. It became popular in the ’50s and ’60s after the manufacturing company Pendleton introduced the world to the plaid shirt, now a staple at stores like Mark’s Work Warehouse.

8 // Beauty is Only Skin Deep…
Designers the world over are intrigued by the criss-crossing lines – Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen, and Jean-Paul Gaultier have all tackled tartan, as have Japanese designers Rei Kawakubo and Jun Takahashi. The latter once had his models painted plaid from head to toe for a runway show.

9 // Cunningham Reports:
Following September 11, fashion photographer Bill Cunningham saw a surge in tartan among New Yorkers. He wrote in The New York Times: “Scottish tartans, plaid, checks, and tattersalls are a sign of fashion’s change of mood since September 11, a time when exaggerated silhouettes and theatrical flourishes have seemed out of touch. Many women reached into their closets for the toned-down style of plaids, which suggest the security of tradition.”

10 // Check Your Checks
It’s getting hard to keep up with the endless variations of tartan, so in 2008 the Scottish Parliament established the Register of Tartans, an online database that tracks every tartan ever registered. Just about everything has a tartan, from provinces (all but Nunavut have one) to organizations (Canadian Dental Association), from royalty (Princess Diana) to cute felines (Hello Kitty).

further reading // Tartan by Jonathan Faiers

illustration // Andrea Manica

5 Things to Read Instead of Paying Attention in Class

Alexander McQueen, fashion advice for kids, and 11 really weird beauty tips

Words for Kids who Love Fashion on Final Fashion
While much of this amazing advice is targeted at children, it’s never too late to take note. Danielle Meder offers atypical suggestions like ‘develop cultural literacy,’ when the most prevalent advice being given to kids who want to start a career in fashion is to start a blog.

How to Be Handsome: 11 Really Terrible 19th Century Beauty Tips
Prime yourself for history class with some of the head-scratchingly bizarre beauty routines of our ancestors. If you thought heated eyelash curlers were weird, you’ve only just hit the tip of the iceberg.

FATshion on XOJane.com
I am just finishing up my personal summer reading list with Two Whole Cakes by Lesley Kinzel, who also happens to write FATshion, the most on-point and hilarious fashion commentary to be found anywhere on the web.

Ryerson appoints first Designer-in Residence
Fashion and academia are relatively recent bedfellows, and Ryerson University in Toronto is blazing the trail by appointing the first ever Designer-in-Residence. What else could you expect from the only University in Canada that offers a Fashion Communications program?

The Nature of Alexander McQueen: the aesthetics of fashion design as a site of environmental change

If the title sounds really wordy and academic, that’s probably because it is. I wrote my undergraduate thesis last Spring about the significance of art to the environmental movement, and explored the significance of Alexander McQueen’s designs as examples of art. This link ties the two together into a smart and useful package: get your furrowed brow ready.

illustration // Andrea Manica