Monday, February 10, 2014

Dwarven Women Clothing Design by Me

We don't see a lot of Dwarven women (for that matter, we don't see a lot of Elven women either) in the Lord of the Rings books, but from what little there is in the appendix....

Dwarven Woman Clothes


From the appendix, we learn, they are stubborn, picky, romantic, stubborn, do men's crafts (smithing, etc.), and stubborn.
I mean, there's a 2:1 birth ratio of male to female dwarves, and yet with the odds stacked like that a good percentage of them never marry because either, they are career types (smithing and all that), or because they only really fall in love once, and refuse to settle for anyone else if they can't get that one guy. So they're stubborn. And Romantic.

And if any race in Middle Earth has ninja-esque women with weapons it would be the dwarves. And movies they're just side-lined as a joke, and their menfolk are supposed to fall for elvish chicks. (??!?! It's if a mole fell in love with a squirrel in Redwall...would. not. happen)

And I was sad that the only glimpse we got of dwarven women in the Hobbit Movie (in all of the 2 seconds they were in) wearing boring brocade Italian-Renn dresses, weighed down with skirts trying to run from the dragon.

Dwarves like ornament. But they also like things being functional. They make art out of functional things (weapons, instruments, armor, axes, harps, etc.). They love beauty, but they are very very practical.

Kind of like this belt & scabbard set from this amazing website.

Dwarf Women's Clothes a.k.a. Costume Design for the Hobbit Movie in my head
Hence I think they would make jewelry out of practical things, like the key-ring of a woman's household, very much a symbol (but also, practical), would be decorated with jewels, or cleverly wrought metal. Their cloak chains and clasps would be elaborate. Perhaps they would have other symbolic/functional things.

buckle from Sutton Hoo

Detail of above

 Like Boromir's horn, functional for blowing for help/reinforcements, beautiful and decorated. And knives, suitable for both cooking/working and self-defense, would have elaborately decorated handles. I think Dwarven women would each have a personal dagger. On Royalty, it would obviously be more ornamental (like the weapons at Sutton Hoo) because they would have a bodyguard.
Horns from Sutton Hoo, note the remnants of the elaborate gold-work
 They would have lots of packs/bags/pouches to carry things, because dwarves are good at carrying things, and they like having little trinkets and tinderboxes and things.

Their culture also strikes me as very Germanic/Viking. So I started out with an apron dress. (Very practical, cuts down on laundry)
picture from reproductions sold here

I think they would have very thick hair, given their menfolk's pride in their beards, they probably take pride in growing it out quite long and probably wear it in all sorts of elaborate braids, woven with gold or leather straps.

Here's my take on a middle-class Dwarven Woman's clothing. She'd have a dress-tunic (with lace up on the front, that can be lengthened for nursing) with an apron dress over it. The medallions on the shoulders of the apron-dress would be as decorated as she could afford. The same with her cloak-chain, as it doubles as a sort of necklace.
belt buckle, Sutton Hoo

She would have a sturdy leather belt, with hanging pouches and a place for her horn, her household keys, and her dagger, as well as however many other things she carries. Dwarves are strong, so if in her childbearing years she'd likely carry her baby on her back as she works, as most cultures still do. Being working-class, she'd probably wear a linen head-kercheif, but her long hair would be elaborately braided under it.

My take on a Royal/Richer dwarf. Its the same basic dress design as the lower class dwarf, but her status symbols are more elaborate: her cloak chain is multiple string of jewels, her belt is gold-work, the chains holding up her keys and horn have jewels worked into elaborate metal beads, her keychain is full of keys, her dagger's scabbard is a work of art.
Shoulder Clasp from Sutton Hoo
  Her tunic-dress would be of richer colors of blue and red and green, her clothing embroidered with gold, her skirts more numerous and longer (as she doesn't have to work), her hair-style more elaborate (perhaps a mix of crown braids with hanging braids), and she would of course be wearing rings and necklaces as well. However, her skirts are not so weighty as to keep her from running, her horn would be loud, her ornamental-looking dagger would be very sharp and she would most probably know how to use it.

This is my take on an Adventure Dwarf. A Dwarven woman who for whatever reason, finds herself traveling through less-than-hospitable lands. It's really a more practical take on the Middle-Class dwarf, her tunic dress is cut off at the knee and supplemented with pants for better climbing, her apron-dress is replaced with a leather overtunic-jerkin thing. Her household keys are replaced with more tools and knives. Slung across her back she has an axe, a bow and arrows, and perhaps a pick-axe too for good measure. The rest of her worldly goods are probably in a sturdy leather pack on her back. She probably has another knife in her boot.

Dwarven women are tough. And stubborn.

One day I'm planning to make a Dwarven Outfit....have a lot of projects to finish before then. But I think it would be perfect thing to wear while camping. I'd have tinderbox in one of my pouches.

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