I wonder sometimes that the folks who enjoy buying and using ritual garments aren't caught up in the past? At some point it seems that ritual fashion should keep some sort of pace with the times. I mean to say, dressing for ritual shouldn't necessarily require dressing like I'm going to an SCA event. *shrug* I can appreciate that there's strength in tradition and that using the same attire that's been used for decades, centuries, etc. gives some dignity and power, but in the same sense there's a reason I don't wear the same cut of suits my great-grandfather wore.
The other day I needed to get a new trench coat. I’ve had my old one for over ten years, and its well worn, well loved, and even has a hole or two in it. In short its time to retire it. So the other day I went to Burlington coat factory and found a very nice replacement. As soon as I put it on, I felt like I was settling into this warm, comfortable garment that served to not only protect my body from the cold but also, in its own way, became a magical robe of sorts. I’ve actually felt that way about all of my trench coats.
For me a trench coat is a magical garment. It’s a lot like a robe, really. It’s got nice long sleeves, and it flows most of the way down your body, plus it wraps around you to cover your entire body. When I’m wearing a trench coat I feel like I’m wrapped not only in the cloth, but also magic itself. Perhaps part of what I like about a trench coat is that it is just a bit formless. When you put it on, you can’t tell that much about the person’s body or what s/he is concealing underneath the coat. As someone who’s grown up with some street smarts, I can tell you that anything which is concealing in that way is quite useful as a posturing tool of sorts.
A trench coat is warm. The lining does an excellent job of keeping your body heat. That warmth reminds me just a bit of the description of Raistlin and his body heat. When I put the coat on, and I feel the heat as a result, I also feel like the magic is surrounding me. I’ve done enough rituals out in the winter cold to appreciate a good trench coat and how marvelous it can be for keeping me warm, but also how it feels as I move around and the garment presses against me, or flows around me, much like a magician’s robe might.
I don’t know that there is any inherent magic to a trench coat or any other garment, but I think what it evokes for me is what makes the coat special. It’s how I feel as a result of wearing it that really matters. That experience is magical and in turn it makes the coat magical.
I like your perspective on this Taylor. Andrieh Vitimus wrote a post awhile back on trench coat magic. His approach was more about rubbing it down with oils and sewing in a High John the Conqueror root. While that process has its charm, experiencing the coat as magic, life as magic in general, is enough to make magic in many cases.
@jamesoliverbulls I feel the same way. I don't think I'd see myself wearing a ritual robe from the late 19th century because that doesn't fit my idea of what a ritual garment is.
@Justin Patrick Moore I think magic as a process for anything ultimately comes down to what will work for individual people. I'd never feel the need to rub my coat with oils or sew herbs to it, but I can see why other people might.