Kyrian Era Fashion
Kyrian Era ApparelThe Kyrian Era has long been acknowledged as a period of overt and extreme sexism. One of the ways in which this inequity was omnipresent was the strict gender lines in fashion. The Temple of the Holy Mother used the Two Gender Doctrine to keep males and females of every caste from performing the Sin of Transgression. Women who were found wearing any piece of male attire were arrested by the temple. Unlike their male counterparts women were afforded the ability to plea for mercy, a practice of contrition that could sometimes reduce their rehabilitation from penance to a simple fine. Those with no husbands or of little standing with the Temple would be issued a term of penance without the option to avoid their mandated service. Only upon repeated offenses could a woman be given a lifetime of penance. Men found wearing female attire were arrested by the temple and either publicly executed or what was referred to at the time as disappeared. It is believed by most Pedran historians that the act of disappearing a man was simply a lifetime penance in the foreign brothel. This theory is supported by the historical documents which indicate that once disappeared a man was never seen by his family or acquaintances again.
Female ApparelKyrian women were free to wear a wide variety of loose britches, often crafted of soft drafty cloth that helped circulate air about the legs while also providing a soft bug net for the Arvite mating months. The britches were sometimes gathered tightly about the ankle or even as high as the base of the knee in the case of riding pants. Pants were typically worn with only sandals or moccasins, however when riding many women preferred the support of a riding vest. The riding vest was a fitted cross hatched harness that wrapped around to be buttoned in the front around the breasts. Some vests were carefully tailored to brace only the area around the breast, leaving the chest otherwise free to the air. Although it was uncommon some vests were crafted to cover the entire breast, even the nipple. The hem of the vest could be crafted as low as bellow the belly button. Riding vests were common enough to even be used by those with particularly large busts even while not riding. However, the most ubiquitous top worn by women was the thawb. Meant to be worn without britches and usually crafted in soft linen the thawb was another form of personal air conditioning designed to circulate air about the whole body while in motion. While thawbs were most commonly left white to help keep the wearer cool they could also be richly dyed, embroidered or beaded. The more vibrantly dyed thawbs were worn during Temple services, rituals and recitals. Solid red, black and yellow thawbs were often worn to indicate a woman’s menstrual cycle, free of patterns in the dye the hems were often notably richer in detail on such garments. Other variations of the thawb design were known to have shortened sleeves and waist lengths, as well as intricate and colorful embellishments along the hem lines.
Male ApparelKyrian men had a more complex wardrobe than females of that time. Unlike women who were known to wear undergarments only for the days they experienced their menstrual cycles men were expected to wear both a shival and a codpiece before they could begin to fully dress. The shival was put on first with the codpiece placed over it. A shival was often made of rough plant fibers and sometimes leather. It was a contraption of three to six straps that attached to a cylindrical tube. The larger opening of the tube was where the man inserted their member the straps were then used to hold the organ against the left thigh. Ideally the tube of the shival was sized according to the man’s own physical dimensions, yet it was remarked upon in many ancient journals how the tubes were often either too short or too long. A shival of insufficient length would chafe even more than a well fitted one might, leaving sores upon the flesh that required ointments to sooth and keep clean. Whereas a shival that was too long would not allow for cleanly urination, as men were not to remove the shival throughout the day even for lavatory needs. The long shival would grow rancid with the smell of urine, often resulting in the use of pungent perfumes that could, for some men, prove caustic to the skin and thus result in the need for ointments as well. The codpiece was placed over the shival and strapped in place with leather bindings. The codpiece was a stiff cup usually made of hardened leather. It had three straps that held it in place over the shival; two that belted about the hips and a third to go between the legs and tie to the belt in the back above the buttocks. The codpieces crafted during Kyra’s reign ranged from crude rounded domes to anatomically accurate sculptures. Each codpiece was designed with a rounded groove cut into the edge that pressed against the left thigh large enough, in theory, for the man to relieve himself without removing either garment. Reports and journals that survived from that time give evidence that the groove was often inadequate. The men charged with laundering the leather garment would often have to resort to using caustic salts to remove the stench of bodily expulsion from the cup and the third strap. Once the shival and codpiece were donned there was the question of whether the man would wear leggings next. Some wives insisted on leggings while others refuted the use of the garments outside of the Temple itself. While leggings had to be worn inside the walls of the Temple those women who did not appreciate the garments made their husbands wear skin tight, brightly dyed and often bejeweled leggings that drew attention to their codpieces. Whether a man wore leggings or not the next article of clothing was a must for all men of Kyrian times: the skirt. While the most favored of husbands were allowed to choose the skirt they preferred on even a daily basis most were required to wear one of three primary fashions. Men who worked for their wife or mother as laborers were expected to be seen in gibets. The gibet was a skirt with a hem that did not pass the knees in the back but was often more than a hand span longer in the front. The skirt was held in place with thong ties above each hip, often tied in easy to release bows. The Gibet was worn by taking the front flap of the skirt, pulling it between the legs towards the buttocks and winding the fabric through the back hem. The effect was similar to a loincloth with a double layered skirt in the back. The gibet is believed to have been designed as early as 824K.E. in response to an extreme heat wave that left men sickened and many dead back when the traditional long skirt was still the only Temple endorsed garment for a man’s legs. The long skirts were varied in materials, coloration and decoration but were all of ankle length. Before the heat wave the Temple had only the original Coverings Doctrine (A), it was not until 825K.E. that the Two-Gender Doctrine replaced the Coverings Doctrine and allowed the exposure of men’s legs and the wearing of tights. After the Two-Gender Doctrine was enforced the trend to allow men’s legs to be visible slowly shifted from necessity to desire as the long skirts of tradition were split up each side. The added slits encouraged the development of men’s footwear. Before the split was added men’s sandals were flats, often made of leather. Afterwards the materials were switched to a combination of metals, fabrics and leathers in order to add high heels. Labor sandals might have a modest one-inch lift to their heels, however those who wore the traditional skirts or even the more recent trend refereed to as “swaggers” were known to sport heels as tall as six inches. The sway induced by the heels allowed men’s legs to drift in and out of view as they moved in the split traditional skirts. The effects were even more prominent when a man wore swaggers. Swaggers, named such for the gait they produced, were the slow result of ever shortening skirts. Rather than utilize the slit as the means for men’s objectification swaggers had a fully intact hem tailored tightly to the mid-thigh or as low as directly above the knee. The tightness of the skirt forced to man into a shuffle step that, when combined with several inches of heel, forced the man’s hips into a wide swing from left to right. Since the Coverings Doctrine was first published the Temple was adamant that a man’s nipples must always be covered. This law was only reinforced by the Two-Gender Doctrine where it was proclaimed the anatomy in question to be overtly sexual due to its lack of any other identifiable purpose. In order for men to remain decent and avoid the sin of transgression it became of the utmost importance than a man’s nipples only be exposed when they bathed, while dressing, or for sexual purposes with their wife. In order to obey this law without causing further instances of heat stroke, and due to the Thawb and all similar shirt designs being seen as uniquely feminine, it often became the practice for men to bind their chests with halter tops. The halter top was a series of cloth or leather straps that went across the chest, either horizontally or at a slight diagonal. The primary strap was connected to a secondary which was wound behind the neck in order to keep the top in place and avoid indecency. Some halter tops could be quite elaborate, requiring several husbands to work together to don and doff the garments. One of the most complex halter tops to survive is housed in the Kyrian Memorial Museum. It is crafted of leather and depicts a serpent twining itself about the body, its elaborately decorated head is a metal buckle that uses its fangs to secure the collar of the halter across the left clavicle. Those without the means to have such extravagant tops made were known to use cheap linen as a simple wrap. For men who were not expected or allowed to exert themselves in the heat of the day, the most common shirts were known as V-necks. This poncho style shirt was a large square of cloth with a diamond shaped hole near the center. The shirt was worn diagonally with the corners draped over the shoulders. The steepest part of the diamond cut out was placed so as to create a large V shape of empty space beneath the throat; the edges often only barely covering the nipples and sometimes dipping to bellow the naval. Short cloth ties were hidden beneath the sleeves and tied together so as to keep the garment from slipping and exposing the nipple. The hem at the back would be lightly decorated, creating an arrow that pointed to the buttocks. The hem at the front was often even more heavily decorated, typically with bright colors and worked as an arrow that pointed towards the codpiece. It is believed that the reason the V cut shirt was most popular is that it was permissible for a man to wear the shirt with tights and no skirt, thus improving mobility. It has been proposed that the V cut shirt should in fact be referred to as a dress but this point is contested on the grounds that the shirts were often crafted at such a height that without the use of tights the male anatomy would be on display. Indeed at least one journal from that time describes the practices of a woman in having her husbands wearing nothing but V-necks within the walls of her home, whether she had company or not. So it is often made clear that the Two-Gender Doctrine was specific to the world beyond a woman’s own house. Perhaps the strangest top men were made to wear were the thong halters that followed the development of swaggers. As the name suggest the garment was constructed with a few bits of leather thong, strung together so as to suspend two round scraps of cloth or leather over the nipples. Each circle covered a single nipples and was supported by the thong that looped behind the neck, the thong that connect the circles to each other and the thong that wrapped around the back to tie together with one another. This was another garment that was most easily donned with aid as both the tie in the back and the resin often used to secure the circles of cloth were more easily done by another husband than one’s own hands. The thong top was unique in that it required adhesive to avoid the sin of transgression. The cloth scraps were never secure enough to forgo adhesive outside of a wife’s house. The adhesive was known to cause sores when removed and once more encouraged the use of moisturizers and ointments. The thong top is immortalized in the unnamed portrait that hangs in the Kyrian Memorial Museum on Pedra. The painting depicts an unknown Kyrian man dressed in toweringly tall heels, bright green swaggers with gold embroidery and a thong top made with golden cloth and beaded thongs. The man wears his hair in the intricate braids of the most expensive brothels. Both his finger and toe nails are painted vibrant red, his large lips sport a similar shade of red and his eyelids have been painted white. His beard his braided and capped with golden beads. His visage is lightly obscured by a pale green sheer shawl that hangs from limp fingers. He is posed beginning to turning away from the observer, his posterior raised, hips mid swagger. The painting was retrieved from one of the Temple brothel foyers. It now serves all who visits the museum as a reminder of the trappings of the past.
Clothing / Accessory