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Old 05-02-2012, 05:06 AM   #1
Sindri
 
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Default Clothing in Spaaaaaaace!

In freefall more specifically.

Clothing is a source of setting and character flavour so it pays to pay a certain amount of attention to it, not to mention it's use as a shorthand way of identifying societies. The guys wearing the pseudo-neo-medieval (or other historical era and location of choice.) clothing, are different from the guys wearing contemporary clothing (with perhaps some small modifications.), are different fromt the guys wearing just terrible space clothes(let's try to avoid that.), are different from the guys wearing togas.

Unfortunately the fact is that pretty much all of our clothing has been designed for an environment where things fall down. In freefall your stylish long coat fails to function at best and constantly gets in the worst possible place at worst while dresses, skirts, kilts, and togas are generally strictly decorative requiring an underlayer that functions as actual clothing. Even other clothing doesn't function well. Jackets especially but loose items in general don't lie properly and hats and things placed in pockets escape easier.

Options
There is form fitting clothing with both the skin-tight clothes (coming in black, white, and shiny) with a long history in SF and practical advantages besides and looser clothing based on fatigues or overalls.

Items that won't be troublesome but also won't actually function as covering by themeselves in the freefall environment can be overlaid on top.

Even if all anyone wore was form fitting interesting variations could be achieved through layering and colours

Clothing could possibly be induced to fall to a given face of a room with magnetics which would allow much the same chocies of clothing as here on earth, though given the maneuverability offered by freefall clothing won't always stay where it should relative to the wearer.

Clothing could be tied so that while it has a degree of freedom it can't totally fly off and cause trouble.

Clothing can also vary based on exposure of skin but that's pretty much just a modifier of the other options. Also I'm not sure if people would want to expose skin with metal shavings floating around and possibly use of metal gratings to save mass combined with the difficulty of people new to freefall not bumping into things constantly.

Comments? Have I missed anything or am I mistaken somewhere? How do people dress in your freefall? Also what are some small details like like the lapels or collars in Babylon 5 that can reinforce that, hey, this takes place in the future?

Last edited by Sindri; 05-03-2012 at 03:03 AM.
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Old 05-02-2012, 05:24 AM   #2
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Default Re: Clothing in Spaaaaaaace!

In my space setting, it is SOP for spacers to wear a skinsuit (UT178) under any other clothing, along with a waist pack that holds a flexible space helmet (UT180) and a mini air tank (UT177). This provides the bare minimum of protection in the case of compartment decompression.

As for fashion, most clothing includes zippers, snaps, or buckles that allow the garments to be drawn close in freefall or to hang free in gravity. Garments tend toward trousers, shirts, and jackets for both male and female spacers.
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:07 AM   #3
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Default Re: Clothing in Spaaaaaaace!

I believe I've posted this observation before, but my biggest complaint about most TV sci-fi clothing, particularly Star Trek, is simple: Once you live in an environment you have full control over, the primary purpose of clothing is to have something to attach pockets to.
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Last edited by RyanW; 05-02-2012 at 07:01 AM.
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:10 AM   #4
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Default Re: Clothing in Spaaaaaaace!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanW View Post
Once you live in an environment you have full control over, the primary purpose of clothing is to have something to attach pockets to.
That sounds about right.
In a space adventure I wrote, most characters wore jumpsuits with strips of velcro and expanding pockets so that they can attach objects to themselves while they float through microgravity sections of their colony ship.
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:29 AM   #5
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Default Re: Clothing in Spaaaaaaace!

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Originally Posted by digoraccoon View Post
[...] most characters wore jumpsuits [...]
Even if you postulate TL10 urinals that make peeing in free fall for men as easy as it is in 1g gravity, women and girls will most likely hate jumpsuits/coveralls with the same burning passion they do now in 1g.

But that could start gender specific clothing norms even for an otherwise non-gendered spacer culture: men wear jumpsuits, women wear separate tops and bottoms.
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:14 AM   #6
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Default Re: Clothing in Spaaaaaaace!

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Originally Posted by nondescript handle View Post
Even if you postulate TL10 urinals that make peeing in free fall for men as easy as it is in 1g gravity, women and girls will most likely hate jumpsuits/coveralls with the same burning passion they do now in 1g.
Only one of the reasons why I believe there will never be any large populations living in Zero-G. It'll be spin gravity if nothing else.

So the question of clothing for Zero-G isn't going to come up IMHO.
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:00 AM   #7
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Default Re: Clothing in Spaaaaaaace!

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Originally Posted by nondescript handle View Post
Even if you postulate TL10 urinals that make peeing in free fall for men as easy as it is in 1g gravity, women and girls will most likely hate jumpsuits/coveralls with the same burning passion they do now in 1g.
Also, you have to be able to get the clothing on and off. Here in gravity you can "pull up" a whole body suit pretty easily because gravity holds your body down. In zero-G that doesn't happen. I suspect this rules out both non-rigid whole body suits and anything really form fitting. If you need to exert a significant push or pull to force it on or off, that's a problem. Dress shoes you need a shoe horn to get on are right out.
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:03 AM   #8
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Default Re: Clothing in Spaaaaaaace!

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Originally Posted by nondescript handle View Post
Even if you postulate TL10 urinals that make peeing in free fall for men as easy as it is in 1g gravity...
That should actually read "easier (and more accurate")...
What is merely a domestic casus belli down here at the bottom of a gravity well could easily be a health hazard in zero-G...
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:25 AM   #9
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Default Re: Clothing in Spaaaaaaace!

Unless you'll have very exotic places like the smoke ring from Niven's Integral Trees, all environments with free fall will also be totally temperature controlled. On todays ISS basically everyone wears polo shirts.

I guess I can see full arm shirts for a space navy mess dress or stewards of interplanetary luxury liners, but I have a hard time envisioning multi layer clothing (e.g. a toga over form fitting clothing, a shirt under an uniform tunic) in such a context.

My guess would be that informal civilian dress in a shirt sleeve free fall environment would be something like (not too loose) shorts and T-shirt (worn inside shorts) and bare feet.

For people for whom EVA is common (e.g. the SF cliché of the "belter" miner), an "undersuit" might be typical "inside" clothing (and designed to be worn as such).

I don't think that a spacer culture will routinely wear emergency gear for decompression. If decompressions are that common that you'll have to wear such things, it will not be a "culture" but a frontier were experts spend limited time in.

I mean most of our earthling homes are flammable, but most people don't wear fire extinguishers...
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:23 PM   #10
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Default Re: Clothing in Spaaaaaaace!

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Originally Posted by nondescript handle View Post
Unless you'll have very exotic places like the smoke ring from Niven's Integral Trees, all environments with free fall will also be totally temperature controlled. On todays ISS basically everyone wears polo shirts.

I guess I can see full arm shirts for a space navy mess dress or stewards of interplanetary luxury liners, but I have a hard time envisioning multi layer clothing (e.g. a toga over form fitting clothing, a shirt under an uniform tunic) in such a context.

My guess would be that informal civilian dress in a shirt sleeve free fall environment would be something like (not too loose) shorts and T-shirt (worn inside shorts) and bare feet.
"Totally temperature controlled" is tricky, depending on what values you can achieve for these. A large spacecraft or station might give you a range of climates. Whatever you personally like in your own, private, quarters. Whatever the rookie has to put up with from the three senior guys in his bunk room. Whatever the captain likes on the bridge. Maybe it's chilly in engineering most of the time, but scorching when the main drive is powered up. Hot and muggy in hydroponics; cold and damp in the aquaculture bay. Maybe you just have the bad luck to get the workstation right under an HVAC fan. There's room for variety, especially on an old, cheap, or otherwise less than completely shiny ship.

Two other problems. First, as much as I'd like fashion to be simply designed around common sense, there are a lot of cultural factors involved.

"The one exception to this rule is aboard ship, where it is now (barely) acceptable to use a painted wig in lieu of a powdered one, following the disaster aboard the SS Carpathia en route to the Royal Law Society Convention of 2164." Duchess Jane's Protocol, 2170

Second, when lots of civilians start going into space, I suspect people are going to start demanding more variety in their clothing. Our current space programs and works of fiction mostly involve rather fit people who spend long periods training together. If you have liners full of paying passengers, you're going to get a mix of body types, ideas about fashion, modesty, personal space, and so on.
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