Costume and Dress
Clothing differs substantially across the nations, though dresses for women, and shirts and pants for men are almost universal. Lace is common on clothing, and is made in many towns.
Unless stated otherwise, all information herein is taken from The World of Robert Jordan's "The Wheel of Time".
"The Children of the Light, or Whitecloaks, always wear a pure white tabard over their clothes and armor. The left breast of each has a golden sunburst worked into it, the symbol of the Light they are sworn to follow. All officers' cloaks and tabards are further adorned with silver lightning bolts for under officers, and golden knots in increasing quantity to indicate rank for higher officers. Each Child is armored with a conical metal helm and plain breastplate ... Swords are worn by all Children ... Members of the Hand of the Light order wear the same white cloak and tabard, but these have ... a blood-red shepherd's crook behind the sunburst. The high Inquisitor wears only the red crook, devoid of the flaring dun ..." (Jordan and Patterson 226).
"Women's dresses are often pale on color with snug bodices and full skirts over bright petticoats. The necklines of commoners are cut very narrow and deep, while for nobles the bodice has a round or oval cutout, allowing those with marriage knives to show them to best advantage, and those without to show that they are available. For commoners the skirt is always worn gathered above one knee to reveal the brilliantly colored petticoats beneath, while he noblewomen wear it raised in front. Large hoop earrings are worn by most women and some men. Men and women alike wear curved daggers through their belts or sashes, and often carry a work knife as well.
"The trademark of an Ebou Dari man is his long, elaborate vest. These vests are often as brightly colored as a tinker's clothes, and are worn alone or over pale shirts with wide sleeves. Sometimes the wealthy like to add a decorative silk coat slung about the shoulders, since it is deliberately too small to be worn conventionally. This "cape" is held with a chain of silver or gold strung between the narrow embroidered lapels ... Both men and women adorn their hands with rings" (Jordan and Patterson 268).
"The clothes they wear are considered scandalous by most other standards. Their dresses cover their bodies from neck to toes, but are barely opaque and cling to every curve, revelaing nothing while hinting at everything" (Jordan and Patterson 272).
"Men and women wear coats and dresses of black or dark blue or green. The darkness is relieved by narrow horizontal slashes of color across the chest and body, and dark ivory lace at the throat and wrists, The number of color slashes indicates the rank of the wearer, while their color indicates the House ... The ladies wear their hair tightly coiffed into elaborate towers of curls carefully designed as unique to the wearer. The men wear their hair long, with flat or bell-shaped velvet caps. Formal wear is much the same, equally dark, save that the ladies' skirts are extremely wide and supported by hoops, and materials used are finer. The lower classes are free from the restraints of the Great Game, and they are free to dress any way they wish ... Bright skirts and shirts with coats and shawls of equally bright, though often clashing, colors are quite common" (Jordan and Patterson 260).
"... both men and women wear a transparent veil across the face. When anonymity is required, they may even do a mask to completely hide the features. Taraboner men often sport facial hair under the veil in the form of a think mustache, and wear a dark cylindrical cap on their thick dark hair. Both lords and commoners wear baggy white trousers and coats embroidered with scrollwork on the shoulders, though the lords' coats are usually of finer material and their much more elaborate embroidery is often gold. Loose fitting shirts with embroidered chests are worn under the coats. Occasionally the trousers are embroidered as well.
"Noblewomen veil their faces, but they do not believe in hiding thier figures. Most wear clinging gowns of thin silk that are almost as revealing as those worn by Domani women. Peasant women also prefer thin fabric, though their dresses are made of drab wool, quite coarse in comparison to their betters' "(Jordan and Patterson 276).
"Most men of Illian wear long coats with raised collars and beards that leave their upper lip bare. Many lords also wear boots fringed with gold or silver. Women, both high and low, favor wide-brimmed hats held in place by long scarves that are wound around the neck in a utilitarian and decorative fashion. High ladies adorn themselves with decorative slippers heavily worked with gold and silver. Their dresses are cut high at the hem to show these slippers to best advantage. The dresses usually also have low-cut necklines to show the lady's natural assets to best advantage as well" (Jordan and Patterson 279).
"Kandori men are easily spotted by their distinctive forked beards, as well as one to three silver chains worn over their coats. Kandori also usually wear an earring, and the earrings of some successful merchants, guilds are quite ostentacious. Members of the nobility also wear chains over their coats and earrings" (Jordan and Patterson 252).
"Tairen lords wear colorful coats of padded silks and brocades with puffy sleeves, sometimes colored in stripes. Their breeches are tight to show a well-muscled leg to best advantage, and are often brightly colored ... In contrast, common men wear baggy breeches, usually tied at the ankle and held up by a broad colored sash. Some few wear coats, but unlike the lords', theirs are long and dark, fitting tightly to the wearer's arms and chest, ten becoming wider below the waist. Sometimes low shoes or boots are worn, but more often bare feet or clogs are preferred for traversing the mud of the poorer quarters. Most common men wear cloth caps that hang to one side of their face, or wide conical straw hats to keep out the sun. Dockmen and other laborers wear the same baggy breeches, but go bare-chested or with a long vest in place of a shirt.
"The noble ladies of Tear wear long dresses with necklines cut to bare shoulders and even considerable bosom ... and their dresses are often adorned with a lace ruff and a tiny matching cap. Tairen widows wear white ... No self respecting lady is ever without her tiny porcelain bottle of smelling salts. Common women cannot afford the ... long dresses that would be ruined in the ever-present mud. Their dresses have chin-high collars that reveal nothing, and ankle-high hems. The dresses are often adorned with pale-colored aprons, usually a combination of two or three of progressively larger size, each smaller than the one beneath it. Hats, when worn, are wide-brimmed straw often dyed to match the aprons.
"Anyone, regardless of class, who wishes to walk through the outer city must go barefoot or wear a special shoe called a "clog", which is actually a small wooden platform that fastens to the soles of the wearer's existing shoes to lift them clear of the mud" (Jordan and Patterson 284).