While costuming is not necessary for this game, costumes do help build atmosphere; well-made costumes can contribute both to your own and to other players' enjoyment of the game.
One very important point: this game is not a masquerade. You will be wearing your costume for hours on end and moving about through throngs of people in the hallowed halls of Miskatonic University. If your costume is too hot, too cool, itchy, overly bulky, doesn't let you sit down, makes you whack people every time you turn around, or anything similar, you may find yourself very uncomfortable before long. We strongly suggest that you consider the practical aspects of your costume as well as the artistic ones.
Some of the most effective costumes are simple ones that merely suggest how others should see you. These have the added benefit of being easier, quicker, and cheaper to put together, not to mention more comfortable to wear for a weekend. Nice props or accessories can go very far towards creating an image, as long as you're not kept too busy juggling them while you try to interact. Remember that people will look at your face most of the time, so a good hat is much more useful than the perfect boots.
Browse through your closet, or through the shelves of your local secondhand stores -- you may get some good ideas. Use your imagination, and look for things you can chop up and modify if they're not quite what you want.
This game takes place in the present, at Miskatonic University, a small private New England college known in certain quiet circles to be a hotbed of research into secrets man was not meant to know. Almost all of the characters appear to be members of the Miskatonic community (students, faculty, staff, administration, alumni, etc), although there are a few visitors from other colleges and from the corporate world, plus an FBI agent or three (who would probably be trying to fit in).
The general mode of dress is East Coast preppy, very upper-class and academic, far more dressed-up on a regular day than is normal even for West Coast preppies. However, at Miskatonic, the large number of eccentrics has made it quite acceptable to have one's clothing hark back to an earlier era, even all the way back to the previous century.
Shoes: Even most students would wear dark leather shoes rather than sneakers. Penny or tassel loafers are very much in, as are docksiders and dress shoes. Older women (faculty, alumni, administration, etc) might wear low-heeled pumps.
Socks: Most people would wear dark dress socks, especially argyles, although women wearing skirts might well wear short white socks instead of pantyhose.
Skirts/Slacks: Few students and no "adults" would be caught in blue jeans unless they were doing a little gardening at the time. Slacks and skirts in solid colors, stripes, or plaids (especially tartan skirts!) are the most appropriate. If the weather is particularly warm, men might wear long shorts, although only the least formal younger women would take that route. Most women would wear skirts rather than slacks, unless their work demanded that they be less dressy. Some older women might wear dresses instead.
Shirts: Polo or golf shirts or oxford-cloth button-downs (preferably long-sleeved, plain or with narrow vertical stripes) are the norm -- T-shirts, like bluejeans and short shorts, are only for sports. Dressier women (older ones, although probably not professors) might well wear blouses.
Blazers: Academics would definitely wear tweed or corduroy, with elbow patches if possible. Corporate types might wear more formal blazers (or even two- or three-piece business suits).
Sweaters/Vests: Sweaters are very much de rigeur among the set who aren't wearing blazers (and, if not for the heat, might well be worn underneath blazers as well). V-neck or crew-neck, pullovers or cardigans, sweaters or vests, often with argyles, other regular patterns (no abstract splotches or cute pictures), textured patterns, or simple cables, are all quite acceptable, as is anything which reeks of golf or yachting. Nothing too baggy, of course. The sweater-and-skirt combination is practically a uniform for younger women and older women who wish to be thought young at heart. Some of the more eccentric types might wear English-style waistcoats (fitted cloth vests, often with a very fancy pattern on the front).
Ties: Bow ties, especially ones that are striped, plaid, or polka-dotted, would be particularly appropriate for professorial types. Others would probably wear "college" ties (the ones with diagonal stripes), maybe a simple medallion pattern, or even a tame paisley for the professors, or knit ties, all held neatly in place with tie tacks. Nothing too wacky, nothing that wasn't probably in fashion in 1920. Most students would leave their shirts open at the neck.
Hats: Hats are much more common here. Men might wear bowlers or other staid, normal hats (only a crazy field archaeologist would wear a battered cowboy hat), or if the occasion weren't formal, driving caps (the kind that are like a loose baseball cap with the front snapped down to the brim). Women's hats would range all over the map, from simple sunhats for the young and normal, to those elaborate little perching numbers with feathers and flowers and veils for the more eccentric.
Other accessories: Those who wear glasses (most students, professors, and others who wish to appear intelligent, even if they had to wear flat glass) would tend towards wire-rims or tortoiseshells. Although some students would still carry backpacks, most students and alumni (especially women) would carry their books in large shoulder-bags, especially ones with an "ethnic" feel. Most business and administration types would, of course, carry their belongings in briefcases, and professors would carry less formal briefcases, more like satchels, or the same large shoulder-bags the students are fond of.
Special cases: Lab scientists might forget to leave their lab coats and safety glasses in the lab. Archaeologists might continue to wear their khaki safari suits and pith helmets even when they got back to campus. FBI agents might stay in uniform, to help remind people to behave themselves. And, of course, at the reception Friday night, everyone would be decked out in their best.
Remember, you don't have to costume at all -- these games rely on imagination. But if you do, have fun doing it. Good luck, and don't panic!
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