Back



Free Woman Clothing


City of Ar Women

City of Ar women wear veils, though only one or two are needed. Veils as headscarves are wound, tied, and pinned into place. That is where the caution of men to look for poison pins comes from. For robes of concealment, the same applies. Only one or two are needed when they are suitably opaque (not transparent). A woman can either create a veiled avatar or use Veiled in her tags. Gloves are not required. Shoes must be worn. They range from sandals to boots.

City Women

Robes of Concealment

The norm for the Free Women of the cities of Gor is for them to wear robes of concealment and veils. Women of high caste are much more likely to wear robes of concealment and veils though many low caste women do as well. The general idea of this garb is to conceal a woman from head to toe, allowing only her eyes to be revealed, perhaps not even that. This garb is reminiscent of the clothing worn by Muslim women on Earth, though the Gorean garb may be even more intricate and bulky. Basically, the higher your caste or station, the more complex your clothing will be.

A low caste woman may only own a single or a couple robes, while a high caste woman might own dozens of different ones. The robes are worn in layers, each outer layer being stiffer and bulkier than the one below it. Only a couple of robes were specifically named in the books though undoubtedly other robes are named as well. The street robe is a very stiff robe and it goes over the house robe, which is more flexible. The robes are kept secure by a series of eyes and hooks and it can take some time for a high caste woman to dress in her multiple layers. She will need help dressing properly. Gloves are also commonly worn. The robes may be of any colors though one's caste colors will often be the predominant color. Beneath these robes, a woman may wear a slip-like undergarment, its fabric dependent upon the wealth of the woman. High caste women are more likely to own an undergarment of silk or a similar material. A low caste woman is more likely to wear an undergarment of rep cloth. Bras, panties and hosiery are not worn on Gor.

Veils

Like robes, veils are worn in various numbers and combinations dependent upon one's Caste and station. Many low caste women possess only a single veil which must suffice for all occasions. High caste women often own many veils and will wear a number commensurate with the occasion. Some wealthy women may wear up to ten veils on a formal occasion. In general, most women will wear only one or two veils, such as the last veil and the street veil. Each veil is heavier and more opaque than the veil beneath it. A veil is commonly a long length of fabric that is wound around a woman's head and secured by veil pins. A narrow gap is left for one's eyes. There are a number of veils named in the books and others may exist as well. The last veil, also known as the light veil, is often worn next to one's face.

It is similar in some ways to the intimacy veil. The intimacy veil is also worn next to the face but it is diaphanous. This veil is long though and can be wound several times around one's face, thus making it more opaque with each revolution. T he freedom veil, also known as the citizeness veil, is worn above the last veil. The pride veil is then worn above the freedom veil. The house veil is worn over the pride veil. The house veil is often worn indoors when the household is having guests, especially guests unfamiliar to the woman. The street veil is commonly the topmost veil worn in public. This veil is very heavy and absolutely opaque. There are also veils that signify one's position, such as the veil of state, an item worn by a tatrix or ubara. This will be an intricately embroidered item, fancy but still opaque.

Conventions

In many Gorean cities, such as Ar and Ar's Station, it is not legally mandatory for Free Women to wear robes of concealment and veils. It is more a matter of custom, tradition and modesty. But, there are some cities that make it mandatory and repeated violations can lead to enslavement. Part of the justification for this garb is to protect Free Women from being kidnapped by raiders. Most men will not risk their life to try to abduct a woman who might turn out to be ugly. It is much more profitable to steal a slave who they can easily see is attractive. Gorean men are aware that many Free Women do not take care of their figures. There are slavers, though, who specialize in the abduction of Free Women.

"There is a Gorean saying that Free Women, raised gently in the high cylinders, in their robes of concealment, unarmed, untrained in weapons, may, by the slaver, be plucked like flowers."--Hunters, pg. 118

In the robes and veils, it is easy for a Free Woman to disguise her identity while she travels around the city. Another justification is that Free Women are supposed to be modest and not act like a slave in any way. Wearing clothes that are too revealing would be a social faux pas. Even in cities where such garb is not mandatory, there will still be laws that prevent Free Women from baring too much flesh in public. Violations of such laws can lead to enslavement. In addition, some high caste women do not want the low castes to see their faces. They feel they are above the low castes who are not worthy to look upon their faces.

Normally only one's family may look upon a Free Woman without her veil. Within their homes, some women may not wear a veil in the presence of certain special guests. Free Women, when drinking in public, commonly lift their veils with their left hands to drink. Others will drink right through their veils. In public, some low caste women don't wear veils and a few bold high caste women may also not wear them. This is more likely to lead to negative ramifications for the high caste woman. Peer pressure helps to contribute to women wearing veils. If a high caste woman does not wear veils in public, she may find herself shunned by other women or even publicly insulted. Women of the barbaric lands often do not wear veils, and even women of some of the northern cities do not commonly wear veils. In the cities, it is often a serious crime for someone to face strip a Free Woman, to remove her veils against her will. It can be dangerous for other reasons as well.

"It is not wise to try to tear away the garments of a free woman with one's bare hands. They may contain poisoned needles."--Beasts, pg. 402

Footwear

Footwear for Free Women is commonly either sandals or slippers, dependent on caste. Boots may also be worn, dependent on the situation. Some women wear platform shoes, especially those of high caste or station. For example, Talena once wore platform shoes that were about ten inches high so she could look down upon the citizens of Ar.

Cosmetics and Hairdressing

Most Free Women rarely wear cosmetics or perfume, believing they are only for slaves. In certain cities, such as Ar, many Free Women do commonly use them. There are even stores that cater specifically to Free Women. Those stores do not commonly stock products for slaves, only Free Women. It is interesting though that many perfumers, hairdressers and cosmeticians treat their Free Women clients almost like slaves. This does not stop the Free Women from patronizing their establishments. Free Women may wear upswept hairdos, something generally not permitted to slaves who must often wear their hair long. Some Free Women even may purchase wigs or falls though they only want items made from the hair of Free Women. Women's hair is a common trade item and is especially prized for catapult ropes. During times of war, some Free Women will give their hair to the city to use for catapults.

Other Clothing

Certain women may wear garb other than robes, dependent on the situation. For example, wealthy Free Women who own orchards, fields, ranches, vineyards or such may wear different clothes when they are supervising or inspecting their properties. One type of such outfit includes a full skirt, its hem about six inches off the ground, a blouse, a belted jacket that falls to the thighs, a hood attached to the jacket by hooks, leather boots, and an opaque veil. The height of the skirt hem is to protect it from dirt, water or mud. Interestingly enough, it also functions as a slave control device for kajiri. The sight of a Mistress' ankle, even booted, is very alluring to a kajirus. He will want to stare at it but understands he can be punished for doing so. This will make him a bit tense and wary around his Mistress and this can be used to control the kajirus.

Women who go hunting may also wear different garb such as hunting leathers or a tunic, trousers, a cape and boots. In the North, a kirtle is commonly worn. This is a dress similar to a robe, except that it may be more tailored to the figure. It can be plain or ornamented, belted, sashed or no waist binding. Additional items include vests and cloaks. Because of the colder climate, boots are commonly worn, though slippers may be worn indoors.




Back