Pixel-clothes Philosophy

OKAY.  I have a DAY OFF.  So today I may actually go around and catch up on all the awesome outfits posted lately by the creative, talented people in my blogroll.  I’m excited!

I’m also excited to make a little change in the personal kin I run for my own cosmetic storage use.  If you see a kin member running around Landroval with “Landroval Style” as a kin tag — that’s me!  Feel free to run up to me, tell me about your outfit, ask to be on the blog, or just say hi!

I’m also woefully late in submitting an article to the fantastic group blog I Rez Therefore I Am, and after thinking and thinking (and blanking and blanking) about what to write, I realized I want a few more perspectives before I start talking about cosmetic pixel-clothing and identity.  So, if you good people don’t mind, here’s where you can help me out.

Answer me this:  Why do you care about cosmetic clothing?  

I know, that’s waaay open-ended, and it’s meant to be.  Here’s my answer.

I care because in a virtual world, without body language, without the context of the “real,” without the details of voice and smile and attitude, visuals are what we get.  Emotes and says and how a player conducts herself while questing, rp’ing, and pvmp’ing — those all matter.  But in the end, when someone sees a character from across a crowded Pony square or in the Stangard mead hall or on a flet in Caras Galadhon, the visual is the message.  It’s a character’s outward expression of identity.

Also, I like the pretty.  And those two reasons can exist side-by-side without a speck of conflict.

But how about you?


11 thoughts on “Pixel-clothes Philosophy

  1. I create therefore I am.

    The creative process is when I feel the most alive, especially the idea part. I love making notes about color, texture and most of all, context. The context brings meaning to the process and allows the creator full access to self-expression.

    I express therefore I am. Creating meaning in life is vital to an existential person, it makes life worth it. Sometimes the path splits and one must choose between happiness and meaning. Being creative allows me the chance to mush those together and fully exist as I feel I am meant to be.

    I exist therefore I am.

    And that is it. Apply a virtual world, a huge closet full of art supplies and let the expression flow.

  2. I stare at my avatar so blasted long, it might as well look good.

    For me, it started in Fall of ’10 when I first started playing. When a clanmate crafted my newbie Captain some T2 medium armor, I looked like a blueberry and I hated it. That’s when I started playing with the cosmetic options in the game. My first outfit was a sort of musketeer outfit using the Watcher’s Hauberk and a big feathered hat. Much superior to the T2 leathers I had been wearing. I reckon I’ve gotten a little better at outfitting since then.

    I’m not an artist. I’m an engineer. Outfits are a puzzle to me, and when I craft something from assorted pieces and it still comes together as a whole, that scratches an itch similar to my need to solve problems.

    There’s definitely a pride thing for me going on too. I feel elated/warmed/validated/smug –just a range of stuff–when I get compliments. It’s not a competition, but I still enjoy feeling like I’m the best at making my favorite kind of outfits (martial, armor for fighting orcs, ceremonial knight armor, etc). The thought “Nobody else’s character looks like this” is an appealing one too. Despite the selfish aspects of my outfitting, I am routinely impressed by creations of fellow bloggers. I’m inspired and even jealous sometimes, and I love letting them know that that was damn fine work and my hat’s off to them.

    • There’s definitely a pride thing for me going on too. I feel elated/warmed/validated/smug –just a range of stuff–when I get compliments.

      Ha, excellent point. I’m the same way. I think my fellow bloggers are SO much better with color and shape and concept than I am, so I’m pleased as can be when someone likes my small attempts.

      And there really is almost an audible ‘click’ when something comes together. I’m not good at predicting which outfits of mine will really resonate with my readers, but I know the ones that resonate with ME.

  3. My virtual identity, is no different from my real life identity, in the sense that it’s a temporary, fleeting costume around the permanent core of who I really am. Who I really am is nothing, nobody, no one. It is only that which is saying “I am”. But after saying I am, a whole new dimension opens up. First there is you are. Then there is he is, and she is too. And suddenly the world is dancing, and there is only all that is. Wrapped in beautiful costumes, radiant colours, chatting, singing, crying, laughing. All this I am, and through all this I wear a myriad different costumes. I love costumes. I love fashion, because it always renews itself. Always seeks for the next exciting design. It’s always experimenting. I can express myself in infinite ways, yet is it really me? It is and it isn’t. 🙂

    • How lovely, Hymne! You know, one thing I’ve noticed since starting this blog is that I take more fashion risks in my personal life as well. Color begets color; creativity begets creativity.

  4. I love the range of answers here. 🙂

    For me, outfitting is a way to explore and interpret Tolkien’s lore with the outfitting tools we have available to us. The cosmetics available in-game aren’t really what I see in my mind’s eye when I read Tolkien, but I like to work within their framework to come up with something that, at least in the game-world, speaks to and expresses my understanding of the lore in some way. Also, my toons looking bad-ass/pretty/put-together (but most of all unique and individual) is a happy side-effect!

  5. For me, cosmetic outfits are mostly a way of showing who my toons are. I like to create outfits that they would actually use or need, like something for festive occasions, something else to wear when out questing, something for more serious war, and so on. They have favorite colors, and I try to make each of my toons look individual, although I’m not sure I’ve succeeded with that:P. In real life I like to write, and I have a small biography of my toons in my head. Also I’ve worked with theater and opera costumes, and outfitting is a way of “playing dress-up” or designing costumes, in a certain way. Basically, I just like my toons to look good:)

  6. For me it comes down to almost exactly what Iaksones said. I don’t like the way my various toons look with their quest armors or even with some of the high level instance and raid armors. So I use the cosmetic system to come up with something I like. I never sell or AH any piece of gear I get before I can look at it to see if its new or different. I also like it when someone comments on my outfit. Did a roots and foundry run with a bunch of people this weekend on my LM and got a “your outfit looks cool” comment that made me feel almost as good as finishing the two runs.
    Also I spend so much time working on my toons looks that one of my Nieces accused me of playing with electronic barbie dolls one day. Can’t wait to show her that I get to do it with the horses soon, I can see a my little pony comment from her.

  7. I have a conflicted relationship with cosmetics. Back when I played a MUD, I could just describe any costume I liked, no problem. Now, I’m constantly fighting with the options to express something that approximates my idea of what my character wears. Often, I feel more constrained than inspired by the cosmetics I obsessively collect and dye in ALL the colors and I’ll spend hours fussing to make an outfit the pixel-makers never thought I’d want to make.

    There will never be enough options to cover every possible idea, but the more options I have, the better I can express my ideas through the medium of other people’s clothing designs. And, on occasion, an item will give me new ideas. So that’s pretty nice. I’m slowly coming to view cosmetics as equal parts inspiration and constraint.

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