Lands of Exile strives to be an immersive fantasy LARP. As such, we require all of our players and our monsters to be fully costumed. As far as our requirements, we ask that all of our players’ costumes lend to the aesthetic we wish to build. You can find excellent examples of various kit levels within the photography used on this site. Although this page focuses on clothing and kit, our standards extend to decorations and accessories present in game as well.
WHY A DRESS CODE?
At Lands of Exile, we've crafted a game from the ground up that was meant to allow people a rich visual experience to complement the imaginative one. Since 2014, the game has changed and grown, but we strive to keep the intent of the game true to its inception.
Although we often describe LoE as "medieval," we are more varied than a specific time period in human history. In general, we base our standards on a non-modern (pre-1700ish) aesthetic. We put a lot of detail into these guidelines not because we are strict, but because there are truly a lot of various options available that fit our world if you take a little time to consider them. We typically approve most things, as long as it "looks the part." See further below for details on what is and is not permitted. Medical devices, such as modern glasses and walking aids, are always permitted as-is
HELP US, HELP YOU
At your first game, we will ask to do a costume and weapons inspection just to make sure everything is passable. If it’s not perfect the first time, don’t fret! We will offer gentle suggestions on how to improve anything that may need to change, and are always willing to help you find or make any part of the costume you may need. We were all new once, and know how daunting it can feel to figure everything out.
Our community is a great resource for advice on the best thrifting techniques, easy ways to modify clothing you already own, or even finding gear to borrow or purchase! Please join the Facebook group, introduce yourself, and ask them anything.
A good example of a basic kit.
Modern shirts or knits
T-shirts and ribbed shirts (like ribbed tank tops) are not allowed, unless HEAVILY modified.
Plastic and modern looking buttons must be removed or switched out from your garments. Buttons that look wooden, like mother of pearl, and metallic buttons are the only type of sew-on buttons that are approved. Shank buttons tend to look more period than flat buttons.
Modern collars and cuffs
The style of collars and cuffs found on Men's dress shirts (especially if it is a modern dress shirt) or knit t-shirts must be removed or heavily modified. A really quick way is to literally cut them off, no sewing required. Wash it once, and then you will get a rustic raw edge which immediately ages the garment well.
Pants with modern styles
Jeans, cargo pants, and sweatpants are strictly not allowed, including their "shorts" versions. (Leggings and tights in plain, neutral colors without modern stylings ARE permitted.)
No visible pockets on gear you have thrifted. What we call "external pockets," like those found on the back of jeans, are not allowed to be visible when you are dressed in full kit. These sorts of pockets are usually easy to remove by un-threading the edge seam. If a tunic or other parts of your clothing always covers the pockets when active, then they can remain.
Tennis shoes and sneakers
Tennis shoes and sneakers are not allowed. However, you can wear black or brown colored tennis shoes if they are covered with boot toppers or wraps, but any bright colors are strictly prohibited. See the area further down about "Footwear" regarding what fits our world.
Modern prints and patterns
We don't allow prints, patterns, or designs that are modern or factory printed.
Zippers don't exist in our world. They should never be visible on any items, and we recommend avoiding them altogether. You can easily convert a zipper closure to a lace-up closure without any sewing knowledge.
Sequins and glitter
These are to be avoided, especially if they are machine sewn. However, hand-embroidered or intricate designs can look extremely well placed in our world. We will disallow anything "sparkly" that breaks the aesthetic, and feel free to ask for pre-approval in the Facebook group.
Similar to sequins and glitter, sheer fabrics can look extremely modern unless used in certain ways. Please ask for pre-approval before planning to incorporate sheer fabrics into your kit.
Neon colors, reflective or fluorescent fabric
Strictly prohibited, even as accents.
Nylon clothing (windbreaker fabric)
No Modern Logos
No obvious logos are permitted to be visible on your items or gear.
DRESS CODE... FOR THE WORLD
We also want to keep the in game area free of other modern items that would take away from the immersion. We require period looking drinking, eating, and seating items. This means no plastic utensils or plates, no modern water bottles or cans. Holders for bottles and cans that can be used to cover the non-period items. If you bring a modern folding chair, we ask you cover it with a period appropriate blanket or sheet to make it less obvious. If you have modern items, they must be keep them in your personal tent or in a designated out of game area. As always, if you have any questions or concerns before, during, or after a game, please ask a team member to help sort you out!
Well... what CAN you wear?
RECOMMENDED FABRIC TYPES
Simply choosing a good fabric type goes a long way towards fitting our aesthetic. Woven, natural fibered fabrics are what give you that classic medieval look. Linen, cotton, hemp, and rayon blends are the go-to fibers. Additionally, we really, really recommend choosing these because of the heat and humidity in North Carolina; you will thank yourself for doing a little extra thrift shopping to grab that linen shirt over that cotton-polyester blend. Pure silk is also allowed, but keep in mind that it is difficult to care for and not amenable to humid climates if you are sensitive to heat.
One of the most important, and expensive, parts of your basic kit can be footwear. Although sneakers and tennis shoes are not allowed (unless they are black/brown AND covered with boot toppers), there are many other readily available options to choose from. All medieval era footwear is approved, as well as most handmade leather shoes. Some modern hiking boots are very stylized, and we ask they be black and covered with boot toppers or wraps.
Lands of Exile takes place at a State Park with sandy soil, ants, and spiky plants, so we highly recommend closed toed, ankle high boots, with adequate insole support. Breaking in any new shoes before game is also a good idea. Dark and neutral colored shoes, which are reminiscent of the colors available for non-modern leather shoes, are the only approved colors. This includes black, brown, tan, grey, burgundy, navy blue, and other dark or washed out colors.
A note on zippers
Although zippers are prohibited from all in-play gear, we do allow footwear to have a single, functional and discrete zipper. For example, most tall riding boots have a zipper on the inner calf that is the same color as the boot. These are always allowed and do not need to be covered. Decorative zippers, such as a second zipper on the outside of the calf, are not allowed and must be covered.
If you have any questions regarding the footwear policy, or would like to get your footwear pre-approved, please reach out to a plot member through the Facebook Group.
Leather and steel armor, in all pre-modern styles are usually approved, especially if purchased from a global LARP vendor. If you are making your own armor, please run the idea by our team, as hand-made armor can also be a safety concern. See the rulebook for guidelines on what is allowed, and how different types affect your in-character armor stats.
GARMENT STYLES - WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Thrifting is a great way to build up your kit, or even to find your beloved basic shirt and pants. Remember, the Women's section of these stores is where you will find the variety of items that could fit our aesthetic, for all genders.
Woven, natural fibers; natural looking leather and fur (often good for re-purposing into other garments); simple garments which are good for layering; tunic dresses make good tunics for all genders, especially with modification; linen pants; plain scrubs pants (make sure to remove those external pockets and logo tags); scarves; "peasant" skirts; vests and coats that fit our aesthetic; leather belts with simple buckles
Styles and accents
Neutral or "faded" looking colors; Hand embroidery; wooden accents (buttons, toggles); lace-ups; simple buckles; well-worn clothing (frayed edges, a few holes or tears); brass rivets or grommet details
The statements above are all created to help guide a player's costume creation so that it complements the experience we wish to provide as game organizers, which is exemplified on the game photos around the site and in the Photo Gallery. We are always astounded by the creativity of the community, and there are many possibilities that we just cannot address here. Make sure to join the Facebook Group for support during your journey!