Necessity Drives Invention

Belríä Naratyr: A minor fashion designer of the Seléne school (fl. 2300), best known for the creation of algorithms for the swarm-intelligence kinetic microbots used for clothing management in microgravity to adapt them, instead, to ensure that one’s cloak would swirl in an appropriately dramatic, personalized, and environmentally-tailored manner for entrances, exits, turning on one’s heel, posing against the skyline, and so forth, regardless of whatever the local air currents might be doing at the time.

– Who Invented What: A History of Creativity

Trope-a-Day: Kaleidoscope Hair

Kaleidoscope Hair: As was mentioned back under You Gotta Have Blue Hair, there is a certain shampoo which is specifically designed, via hair-clinging nanites, to let your turn your hair into an active LCD display surface. (For a week or two until it starts wearing off, although you may get a few dead pixels before then.) Or, for those with more permanent ideas, the implanted-nanogene version of the above that you don’t need to renew. These allow you to have very impressive Kaleidoscope Hair indeed – heck, you can even run fractal screensavers or actual video clips on it if you like.

And if you’re just looking for a reliable way to create this effect, regardless of what wind or in-flight airstream or other sources of disarrangement might do…


(I would thank Hasbro for letting me borrow Rainbow Dash to illustrate my point, but honestly, I’m just counting on them not caring that much.)

…then you can have it.


Trope-a-Day: You Gotta Have Blue Hair

You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Not all the uses of genetic engineering – or other technologies, including that shampoo that turns regular hair into a fully-functional LCD display surface for a week or two – are for even vaguely utilitarian purposes.  Enough said.

(As a side note, the silvertouched – see Our Dwarves Are All The Same – do this naturally with some metallic colors, due to their symbiotic silverlife accumulating metal within their bodies, which turns into metallic strands in among their hair, among other things.)

Trope-a-Day: We Will Not Have Pockets in the Future

We Will Not Have Pockets in the Future: As mentioned in Waistcoat of Style, both sexes wear waistcoats simply to provide adequate pocket space for their collection of little gadgets for this and that and the other thing.  So, averted to the point that there’s actually a specific garment to provide the future-pockets.

Inspirational Not-My-Art of the Day


Today’s accidentally found art comes via Geek & Sundry’s article: “The Future of Cosplay, Today! Felicia Day Models 3D Printed Armor” (more images and photoshoot video at the link), in which the armor in question was designed by Melissa Ng (link to her work here, and seriously, check it out; it’s well worth it).

Which I post here, apart from the desire to share really awesome stuff, because upon seeing it, well, I could not help but conclude that it’s a work of art precisely in the Eldraeverse idiom.

(Not as armor, technically speaking, there being certain annoying physics-based necessities inherent in protecting one from flechettes travelling at a respectable fraction of c; but for the lady sentinel attending the Court of Courts or another similar formal occasion, it would be perfect.)

And so if those of you with an artistic headcanon could update it accordingly, that’d be shiny. I’ll be over here updating the non-head canon.


Trope-a-Day: Waistcoat of Style

Waistcoat Of Style: Played straight, for both sexes (cut appropriately differently).  The Empire is a “thingist” culture that particularly enjoys its little pocket gadgets for this and that and the other thing, so obviously, you need a garment specially adapted for keeping them in, starting with your fob… terminal.

(And you generally can’t use your trouser pockets, because your weapon belt – and attached sidearm and blade(s) – gets in the way.)

Trope-a-Day: Unlimited Wardrobe

Unlimited Wardrobe: Played mostly straight – the flexibility is not unlimited, after all – by smart clothing, which can offer a variety of style modifications (via inbuilt MEMS), color changes, and other self-reshaping properties on the fly.  (And, of course, at home there are cornucopia machines.)  Played entirely straight by virtual clothing (which consists of an AR projection over a neutral gray jumpsuit or spraysuit, so long as onlookers are subscribing to the public v-tag channel and your coding budget is adequate.

Trope-a-Day: Sticks to the Back

Sticks to the Back: Both possible, and done, with tiny vector-control emitters sewn into the clothing that can grasp objects you place on top of them and hold them in place against the emitters, or even at a designated range from them.  And, obviously, anywhere, not just the back, including – if you care to be quite gratuitous about it – orbiting around you.  (It should be noted that these are generally double-ended – the emitter grips you at one end and the object at the other, such that it doesn’t strangle you with your own shirt.)

Of course, it’s still usually considered unnecessarily showy much of the time, and they do introduce a dependency on your clothing’s power supply continuing to work, something that holsters, pouches and pockets by and large do not.


Trope-a-Day: Star-Spangled Spandex

Star-Spangled Spandex: Fabric that reflects the night sky with tiny stars and nebulae (the generic kind is nebulin), especially the kind that through inbuilt tech or an AR shimmer actually has them move subtly when you’re not paying attention, was a major fashion trend back in the middle Space Age, and has remained a minor one into the modern day.  Even then, it still probably wouldn’t be all that noteworthy had it not made it into the formal regalia designs for the various new offices that were being created to manage all those new spatial holdings.

It’s still not spandex.  No-one wears spandex in this future.

Trope-a-Day: Space Clothes

Space Clothes: Averted; even in space, people just wear regular clothes.  (Sure, they have lots of pockets, but that’s not specific to spacer culture.)  The only difference is that the pure-skirt option is eliminated for both sexes (because microgravity), and the cloaks have to come with MEMS and occasional microfan thrusters to let them manage themselves as people move.

And spandex is not used for regular, day-to-day clothing anywhere.  Even not in space.

Trope-a-Day: Pimped Out Dress

Pimped Out Dress: Well, of course, for much the same reasons as The Dandy and his Distaff Counterpart, The Fashionista are so ubiquitous; namely, that arête, to be acknowleged, must be demonstrated.  It’s not universally appropriate for this purpose, of course, but when it is, it is.

The ur-example of that would be the gold dress worn on several social occasions by Merété Cheraelar, EVP of Speculative Investment at Gilea & Company.  And when I say gold, I don’t mean gold-colored, nor do I mean gold lamé or cloth of gold.  I mean a long and slinky evening gown made from finely-woven solid gold chainmail, complete with “embroidery” made of overlain and interwoven rings of gold alloy in variety of different tints.  (And with, it should be said, tiny flying microbots woven into it at various points to make it possible to move in the thing.)

As extremely pointed messages went, it was most effective.

Trope-a-Day: No New Fashions In The Future

No New Fashions In The Future: Averted over the very long term; over the shorter term, though, I beg to point out that just as with Eternal English, generational turnover is slowed way the heck down in comparison to lifespan – potentially endless – which also slows the rate of fashion change.  Or, at least, the rate at which things go out of fashion (see also: Awesome Anachronistic Apparel).  Fashion innovation certainly continues – but, frankly, it’s doubtful if a lot of things will ever go out of fashion at all, so long as their partisans are still living, and they don’t plan to stop any time soon.

Also played straight for a lot of ultra-formal and – especially – ceremonial dress.

Trope-a-Day: Form-Fitting Wardrobe

Form-Fitting Wardrobe: While it’s not all tight-fitting – many clothing styles are perfectly loose and flowing – just about all clothing in the Empire and other advanced civilizations fits perfectly.  That’s because it’s made to incorporate a whole passel of tiny MEMS, micromachines which ensure that it loosens and tightens and shortens and lengthens in all the right places to fit its wearer just that perfectly, no matter who they are or what they’re doing, as long as the size was approximately reasonable in the first place.  It also never gets caught on things or trails in mud, remains stable in wind and weather, and brushes dirt off itself.  It’s hard to avoid being stylish, really.

(This even applies to hardshell armor, but it tends to be modified to fit perfectly on manufacture, or on-the-fly with a handy nanolathe, rather than being self-adjusting.)

Trope-a-Day: Man of Wealth and Taste

Man Of Wealth And Taste: Played straight with Imperial renegades, all of whom play the villainous role of a man of wealth and taste to the hilt.

Subverted, however, inasmuch as this is also true of heroes and bystanders of Imperial origin, simply because anyone brought up in the Imperial culture would sooner concede a few of their vital organs than not be thought of as a Man of Wealth and Taste (or, relevantly, a Woman, Herm, or Neuter of Wealth and Taste).  There are standards, don’ch’know?

Trope-a-Day: Color-Coded Patrician

Color-Coded Patrician: Played straight with the uniform colors for each of the Ministries, the Senate, and the Curia, along with all of the runér; of course, there are no sumptuary laws rendering those colors off-limits for anyone else, but you can usually tell on any formal occasion by looking for people wearing the right kind of formal dress, then divide them up by the colors.

Trope-a-Day: Bioluminescence Is Cool

Bioluminescence Is Cool: And available in several varieties from your local bodysculpt clinic, along with some interesting variations on the theme of chromatophores.  Ah, fashion industry, what will you bring us next?

Also used for some more practical purposes, like non-electrically dependent emergency lighting, engineered glowing trees for streetlights, detectors of this and that, etc., etc.

Trope-a-Day: Sharp Dressed Soph

Sharp Dressed Man Soph: Given just how obsessive the Imperials are about their ideals of beauty and excellence, the Empire has a heck of a lot of these (although not so limited to business-suit analogs).  And most of the exceptions are found among the young, who sometimes tend more towards The Dandy instead – because while obviously these things should be taken seriously – clothing, like everything else, is Serious Business – they haven’t yet quite grasped how important making it seem effortless is.

The female version is essentially equivalent (although even less limited to business-suit analogs), but the young in this case tend to trend toward The Fashionista instead.

Trope-a-Day: The Dandy / The Fashionista

The Dandy / The Fashionista: Common among younger Imperials, who are pursuing the cultural ideals of beauty and excellence just as hard as they can, the more so to give them weight.  (Looking awesome is an aspect, if far from the entirety, of being awesome, after all.)  They do eventually settle down to a consistent, personal style, though.

Trope-a-Day: Awesome Anachronistic Apparel

Awesome Anachronistic Apparel: A minor consequence of widespread immortality and independent-mindedness is that when people find a style that really fits them well – and even more often than playing any one era straight, this means “taking the bits they like from across a considerable spread of years”, like a more temporally-unfocused version of steampunk style – they tend to stick with it.  However the world may move around them.  A crowd of Imperials from many different generations can really be quite the kaleidoscope of anachronisms, consequentially.