Unsurprisingly, attire is just as important in the vampire traditions as everything else, if not more so. In fact, how you are dressed can be a direct reflection of your own social status within the vampire community. This is because it reflects your pride as a vampire and, consequently, how closely you follow the vampire traditions. For a warrior this is even more important as it also reflects their pride and honor as a warrior. Simply put, traditional attire is separated by gender as well as whether or not you are a servant. However, there are some aspects that apply to all regardless of gender, species, class, or status.
The first of these that most can identify are their traditional colors: black, red, and gold. While it is not required to wear these colors, wearing them is seen as a statement of pride as a vampire. Because of this, even the vampire lower class will strive to wear these colors when attending formal events. Of all the magical species, vampires are the most widely known for wearing a fabric known as armor silk. A staple of the upper class among magicals, armor silk is very expensive due to it being extremely challenging to craft properly and, therefore, can be difficult to obtain. Consequently, clothing made from this exceptional material is often passed down from generation to generation.
To most, especially those who have never seen it before, it looks like a delicate silk-like cotton that is light in weight, soft to the touch, and free flowing. However, in truth it is significantly stronger than any human armor could possibly hope to be, thereby providing excellent protection with minimal restriction. This is because armor silk is a magical blend between pure top-quality cotton, the finest silk, and a very thin but strong chainmail that is almost invisible to the naked eye.
While non-vampires are not required to follow these traditions, it is seen as respectful if in fact they do. With that said, strictly following their own species’ traditional attire is seen as truly honorable as it is seen as a direct reflection of their pride as that species. Youth are also given some leeway, but in general are encouraged to wear traditional attire from birth, especially during formal occasions. Beyond this, the vampire’s traditional attire can be spit up into three basic categories: warrior, lady, and servant.
In general, vampire warriors will follow the code of honor when it comes to attire. However, because of how closely related the vampire traditions and the honor-bound warrior are, the vampire traditions actually compliments The Code of Honor perfectly and attire is no different.
Casually, they will typically wear black form-fitting pants, being careful they are not tight or restricting. Knee-high black leather boots that have a one to two-inch heel fit over the lower pant legs. The shirt should also be form-fitting while being loose enough around their muscles to provide easy movement. In color, their shirt should match the color of the attire worn by the lady they are accompanying or escorting, otherwise it will usually be some shade of red. Traditionally, the shirt is sleeveless, has a loose neck, and reaches down to about mid-hip. Black leather cuffs wrap around the lower arms from wrist to elbow, and a chain belt with a black leather strap weaved through the links goes around the waist. If they are a warrior, their weapons will then be secured to this belt. If they are not a warrior, however, then a simple black leather belt with no weapons is expected.
Traditionally, a vampire warrior will have two hand-guard-handled swords on their non-dominant side and a vampire pistol on their dominant side. While it is undeniably a staple of the vampire community, it is not exclusive to it. The vampire pistol has a shape similar to Earth’s flintlock pistol, minus the flintlock, only it is much larger. In fact, even most magicals have to use two hands just to keep it steady enough to fire straight and not get thrown off balance from its force and power. Despite this, the vampire pistol is actually a one-handed pistol made specifically for the vampire’s extraordinary physical strength and skills. Powered solely by magical energy, it will never run out of ammo, never jam, and is extremely deadly, even to an undead vampire if aimed correctly.
Formally, their attire is not only different in style but is more restrictive in fabrics. This is because they have a duty to protect the females at all cost during these events, which are viewed as significantly more dangerous because of the increase in people and possibly strangers. Therefore, they must be on guard and always ready to defend, even if they are not a warrior and therefore do not have weapons on their belt. Among vampires, only those trained with weapons are allowed to wield them unless it is absolutely necessary. This is why vampire males are all but required to become warriors.
They start off with black leather pants that are lined on the inside with armor silk, black leather dress shoes, and a black leather belt looped around their waist. If they are a warrior, their weapons will be on their belt and the leather will be embedded with the same chainmail used in the armor silk, thereby giving it strength while at the same time allowing it to remain formal and stylish. A white, collared, button-up dress shirt with three-quarter length sleeves, also made of armor silk, is topped with a bowtie and three-button vest. The vest is made of a fine cotton lined on the inside with armor silk and has a two-inch border along the inside seam. The bowtie is a duel colored silk that is to compliment the vest. The colors chosen for the vest and bowtie are determined by their species, personal desire, and must compliment the colors chosen by the lady they are escorting. Finally, their hair, traditionally shoulder length, is slicked back to give it a clean yet formal appearance.
The general rule of thumb for vampire ladies is her attire should accentuate her seductive splendor and class. In short, the dress should make the lady. However, a lady’s wedding dress is different. According to vampire tradition, her wedding dress should be simplified and understated so only her natural beauty and allure is accentuating it. In short, the lady should make the dress. This symbolizes the stripping away of the layers to create a union based in complete trust and openness. This is also why most vampire wedding dresses are passed down from generation to generation, using magic as needed to repair and resize the dress. Her wedding dress must also have all three of their traditional colors, otherwise it is seen as bad luck. Some leniency is given to vampire mixed bloods but not much.
While the lady attire is not as strict as the warrior’s, they do have multiple rules that make up the overall style of a traditional vampire lady. A lady always wears a dress, the bodice form-fitting so her curves are accentuated. The skirts are to flow gracefully off her hips and reach down to her ankles. Casually, their dresses often have multiple layers of thin skirts, thereby creating space between their legs and the top layers so the dress flows out and around their legs, as is proper. This also provides protection from the elements as well as full freedom to move.
The far ends of the top skirt are attached to rings or bracelets, usually bracelets, making it easy for them to grab and maneuver their skirts, like when curtsying or climbing into a carriage for example. The fabric is preferably made of the finest cotton or silk, if not armor silk. The best dresses are delicately jeweled and embroidered by hand, and are then accentuated with heels and jewelry with their hair either pulled back or pulled up with elegant hair pieces. While colors are completely up to the lady, typically at least one of the traditional colors is present and their makeup is carefully understated so it brings out their natural beauty and vampire allure.
Formal occasions require a ball gown, ideally made with the finest silk if not armor silk and traditionally will include the traditional colors, at least in part. The skirt will have either one or two layers, usually two, with layered underskirts to softly flare the skirt off her hips and away from her legs. Beads, ruffles, and embroidery are used to accentuate the dresses unique qualities. Put simply, when put together with jewelry, heels, makeup, and an elegant headpiece, her ball gown should bring her vampire body to life.
Because these traditional items can get rather expensive, it is not uncommon for the lower class to make their own casual attire using cheap materials and methods. Their finest attire is often passed down through the generations, just like wedding dresses, and strictly used for formal occasions. Along with this, it is not uncommon for some traditions to be overlooked, further separating themselves from the traditional and sophisticated upper class.
Upper class vampires hate to spend too much on their servants, though they will usually treat their bloodbanks more like equals in order to further encourage them to stay, and the lower class simply doesn’t have the money even if they can get a servant. Consequently, they will typically wear simple cheap clothing made of cotton or other cheap though durable materials. The styles will roughly resemble that of the vampire’s, even down to their traditional colors at times with black being the most common, only without any jewelry or accents. Their gender and age will also determine the kinds of work they will do, which in turn will determine if they need shoes. If not, then the only shoes available to them will be the ones shared by all of the servants for the rare occasion they do need shoes.