I observe my anniversary date on the 17th. This due to my hunch that by that point the picture was far enough along that I had come up with the backstory associated with it, as well as the fact that the 17th is halfway between the 14th and the 20th.
I've written any number of essays about an array of topics relating to my writing, characters, and world-building over the last decade-plus. But I realized that one mini-essay, written as an email in 2004 to a very kind person who was interested in drawing my characters, definitely needs to be expanded and recorded in a more public venue. In case anyone else has wondered...and in case any of the rest of you are struggling with insomnia.
And that is the Defender's clothing. In the same 'Defender Rising' essay I revealed that it took me until the summer of 1997 to figure out what he wears. Since then I've become quite accustomed to it--in fact like Hened I almost consider it his 'hide.' But perhaps others have wondered.
Thanks to writing 'Delarun' I know more than I did in 2004. Thanks to the hell year of 2007 I've partially lost the three-dimensional model in my brain of how exactly his tunic unlatches and opens. But this is an essay, not a schematic!
The Defender designed his clothing with a number of factors in mind: significance, expedience, utility, and effect.
t'DoL in his own shape always wears some shade of grey. Grey is the color of mourning among the avarii, and he wears garb of mourning for his lost race. In 2004 I believed the shade of grey might vary according to his mood (not color-changing clothing, mind, but just what shade of grey he chose). That ended up not working, in large part because of how long it takes him to make or repair his clothing. When life gets truly grim, he doesn't have time for that, whether he wants to or not. But the shade can vary. At Heruvael and Hileko's unions he wears a pale silver that is nearly white, but usually it's a middle to light grey. This in part because paler shades are cooler than darker shades. He prefers muted tones for his clothing in human form as well, but has learned to be more flexible lest his preferences give himself away.
Here t'DoL's clothing is quite like standard avarii flight-clothing. The cut is simple and close-fitting. But not tight-fitting--nothing like spandex here. Avarii eschew flowing sleeves, billowing hems, long robes, ribbons and the like. Such adornment is counterproductive for flying. All it would do is catch the wind, increase drag, or get tangled. He does make a rare exception, explained below.
t'DoL is perpetually at war--with the dark mages, and ultimately the forces that destroyed the avarii and threaten the hyarmi. So he nearly always wears something that contains metal, once he came up with a design he liked. (In his youngest adult years he wore wool until he learned how to make his own clothing.) His clothing is almost like light armor--metal woven with fabric. Initially, he tried to work aluminum and linen together on a loom, but quickly found that woven fabric was less flexible (only stretching along the weft, but not the warp). So he switched to knit instead, which allows stretch in more directions. While he wears metal in his clothing as a statement and for minor protection, he also wears it as a heat-drain. Summer heat is a great threat to avarii, and while he has developed ways to use mage shields to assist with cooling, having clothing that draws the heat away from his body is also a great benefit.
His one exception to close-cut attire using metallic cloth is the flowing satin silver-white clothing he wore to Heruvael and Hileko's unions.
Not only does t'DoL dress with a simple cut to aid flight, and a solid grey hue to declare mourning, but also the plainness of his garb was chosen to minimize the effect of his avarii allure/glamour on humans. He does not wear jewelry like many avarii, and outside of going to a close friend's union, he does not "dress up." This is because he does not want to make his glamour any stronger.
Every human who sees an avarii desires him/her, because of the avarii glamour. But the direction and intensity of that desire varies based upon the character of the person. Here the Defender is again opposite to the Changer. The Changer made stunning clothing and strove to enhance his glamour so that it even impacted other avarii. He took contemptuous delight in bewitching the weak humans that he scorned.
t'DoL, however, dresses in such a way as to make the effect of his glamour as weak as possible. When among humans he covers every part of himself save hands and feet and obviously his head. But if he's alone or with hyarmi, he can relax that--leave his arms bare most often, or sometimes legs also. At his home, he will often wear less, depending upon the season.
Those are the design elements. That he uses a v-shaped neckline is simply personal preference!
October 2010 trial render, working on t'DoL's clothing