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"Should Gamers Improve Their Appearance in Public?" Topic

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27 Apr 2018 7:33 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from TMP Poll Suggestions board
  • Crossposted to Wargaming in General board

1,370 hits since 11 Oct 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian11 Oct 2017 6:49 p.m. PST

In public, including at conventions and wargaming shows, do gamers need to "dress up" more than they currently do?

PzGeneral11 Oct 2017 6:58 p.m. PST

I thought we liked in a society now where anything goes…..

Syrinx011 Oct 2017 7:05 p.m. PST

I am more dressed up in general to game than some of the people I see in church every Sunday.

If you are in period costume or in the convention tshirt – why is that wrong? Seems a silly topic.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian11 Oct 2017 7:09 p.m. PST

Question inspired by comments here: TMP link

Grelber11 Oct 2017 7:10 p.m. PST

I come to game night straight from work, so they get my work look, without tie. Most gamers around here turn up at conventions in a game themed T-shirt, which seems fine to me. Perhaps the game masters at conventions could dress a little more nicely.

Of course, there are always a few people at the conventions who seem to flop over their belts and don't have enough T-shirt to cover themselves. I think they could give their costume choices a bit more thought.

cleo liebl11 Oct 2017 8:03 p.m. PST

I want my men to be standing upright, Flat belly, a smooth crease in their pants, hair clean cut, face clean shaven….

However, my husband wears a Hawaiian shirt over his pregnant belly, fuzzy faced, etc. But I love him.

Oberlindes Sol LIC11 Oct 2017 8:41 p.m. PST

I come to game night straight from work, so they get my work look, without tie.

That is so retro-cool. We in the Silicon Valley haven't been wearing ties to work since before the turn of the century.

Convention wear around here is usually jeans or cargo shorts* with (1) a theme t-shirt (gaming, science fiction, fantasy, and military themes are the most popular) or (2) an aloha shirt.

I don't see how we could possibly improve our appearance at public gaming events with sartorial standards like those.

*Cargo shorts seem almost never to be seen on women. If women are wearing shorts at a game convention, they are not cargo shorts.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Oct 2017 9:49 p.m. PST

So long as I can't smell you I don't care how you dress.

Cyrus the Great11 Oct 2017 10:08 p.m. PST

Why should gamers be held to a higher standard than the general population?

Phillius Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2017 10:45 p.m. PST

If I had a sense of smell still, I would be with Crispy.

Otherwise, who cares what you wear. As long as you wear something.

Jack Burton12 Oct 2017 1:03 a.m. PST


Because we're men of quality, superior to the common herd.

Giles the Zog12 Oct 2017 1:55 a.m. PST

Depends on the circumstances.

If its a public demo game, to the public at large then yes a reasonable appearance would be good.

When demo'ing to a board games club a fortnight ago, less so, 'cos they're geeks too !

But no t-shirts with offensive slogans.

Amongst friends and even a wider gaming group anything goes.

Personal hygiene and clean clothes are however non negotiable.

Dynaman878912 Oct 2017 3:39 a.m. PST

I can count on one hand the number of times I ran into an offensive smelling, or dressing, gamer.

Moe the Great12 Oct 2017 3:52 a.m. PST

So a "Formal Thong" and not a "Casual Thong"? I can do that…

For a multi day convention I have smelled some gamer funk, but in general I don't see problems with attire.

Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2017 6:03 a.m. PST

Cargo shorts, t-shirt. Thats the uniform of 90% of gamers.

Add glasses, a few extra pounds and a van-dike Bleeped text? and you have signalled to the world you're a tabletop gamer of some stripe.

athun2512 Oct 2017 6:07 a.m. PST

At conventions, our group generally dresses in costume to suite the game. We have been pirates, pulp adventurers, and conquistadors, to name a few. Seriously though, some of the hygiene habits of gamers leaves alot to be desired. The image of a fat, smelly guy with a shirt that doesn't quite cover his belly is based on fact. Some of the smaller gaming rooms at conventions, like Historicon, are hard to walk into from the funk.

jefritrout12 Oct 2017 7:01 a.m. PST

When I first married, my wife stopped me from going to a one day convention because my shirt was wrinkled. I did try to explain to her about the group that I was going to visit to no avail. I had to wait about 15 minutes while she ironed my shirt. "It doesn't matter what other people wear, my husband will not go out in a wrinkled shirt."

Now on the other hand, I know that my can open doors, because when I am carrying groceries or other heavy items, she will open doors for me. However, in all other circumstances I always try to get the door for her. So in 20 years of knowing each other, she has lots less experience in the use of doors.

Gone Fishing12 Oct 2017 7:16 a.m. PST

Jefritrout, you are a lucky to have each other. Very nice to hear on all counts.

As regards the question, I must admit to some nostalgia for the times when men dressed in coats and ties, or at least collared shirts and trousers, for their gaming; but of course the disappearance of this is a cultural thing and isn't directly related to gamers.

Silly hats are great fun. As is fake facial hair. Period costume is also attention-getting and good for atmostphere, though I'd draw the line at a chap dressed as a Gaesatae!

DrSkull Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2017 7:46 a.m. PST

On the one hand: the answer to "Should X Improve Y" is always "Yes" since improving is making something better, and you "should" always make something better.

On the other hand, nobody's business what other people wear.

Palewarrior12 Oct 2017 8:14 a.m. PST

You know one day, I want to go into a convention of a completely different hobby and just see what the funk & fashion levels are like ;)

( Not a 70's disco convention cos that'll be full of funk & fashion…)

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2017 8:41 a.m. PST

Yes, but if there game is great looking, then I don't care.

TSD10112 Oct 2017 11:20 a.m. PST

I don't care what people wear, within reason. I'd be satisfied if everyone just showered daily, combed their hair, and brushed their teeth.

That said, spending 14-16 hours in the convention, I'm dressing casually for comfort. Sneakers, Shorts and t-shirt, or even loose athletic pants depending on the time of the year and temperature.

I'm there to relax with friends and play games.

Oberlindes Sol LIC12 Oct 2017 11:52 a.m. PST

@Palewarrior: I have been to BayCon, our science fiction and fantasy convention a few times. There were more costumes, to the level of cosplay, than at game conventions, as well as more drinking and more parties, and, of course, less gaming.

In the '90s, I was routinely invited to various technology trade shows in San Francisco (e.g., Seybold and RSA). I'm not sure how I got on the list, because I don't work in tech at all. I did subscribe to Wired Magazine at one time; maybe that was it.

Anyway, the style of dress was much more formal than gaming conventions. The men were about evenly split between polo-shirt-and-Dockers and business-suit-without-a-tie. The polo shirts usually had corporate logos. Women usually wore business casual -- slacks or skirt and a silk or cotton blouse -- or the polo-Dockers combination.

Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP12 Oct 2017 12:58 p.m. PST

It's not really about what OTHER people wear--it's about showing some SELF RESPECT and presenting one's self as a responsible adult.

It could be cargo shorts or other casual attire, but it had better be clean and (preferably) ironed.

Ties may actually be too formal for gaming, even in public, but if you want respect for your hobby, then we must show it for ourselves.

Consideration for others is the sign of a Gentleman, and why should we as lovers of history and/or artists of beautiful miniatures and terrain wish to appear as anything less to the public at large or even each other?


huron72512 Oct 2017 3:18 p.m. PST

Same as Extra Crispy stated. It is about the smell not the shell.

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2017 4:38 p.m. PST

One of my earliest impressions of wargaming with figures was an article in Readers Digest about British gamers in the 60s. The gentlemen wore jackets or sweaters with ties, smoked cigars or pipes and had brandy or whisky at hand. This is my ideal and has never been achieved. One can hope but I would be pleased with clean, crisp sports shirts and slacks/jeans.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP12 Oct 2017 5:55 p.m. PST


A wargaming convention is a all-hands participation event, that runs for long hours. That is very different than whether or not you should wear a tie at a work related convention.

I do enjoy a bit of fancy dress to go with a game. My fave was a hotel towel-improvised turban when I was asked to command Captain Nemo's airship in a steampunk game. I would gladly wear my black suit and tie for a "St. Trinian's vs. MiB", but I can't seem to get SWMBO to wear her schoolgirl outfit …

Personal logo Toy Soldier Green Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2017 11:46 p.m. PST

Yes please.

Dynaman878913 Oct 2017 4:39 a.m. PST

No way in hell I'm wearing a tie for a leisure activity. Hardly ever wear them anyway now.

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP13 Oct 2017 5:00 a.m. PST

I think TSD101 hits the nail on the head. Read his post again.

As for ironing my cargo pants?…….er……no.

As for being pleased with clean, crisp sports shirts and slacks/jeans?……no…..clean is fine. Comfort is paramount.

The Angry Piper Supporting Member of TMP13 Oct 2017 6:03 a.m. PST

Dress up? No. Bathe? Yes. And use a toothbrush. For all of us.

I can count on one hand the number of times I ran into an offensive smelling, or dressing, gamer.

You, sir, are indeed fortunate.

lanercost200113 Oct 2017 7:05 a.m. PST

For me its not so much what you wear but how you wear it. A clean well fitting t-shirt and shorts are fine as far as I'm concerned. Dirty or dingy clothes are just off putting. T shirts that reveal bottom belly fat or shorts that inspire plumber jokes are also head shakers. And for Pete's sake, take a shower. I'm still amazed at the myriad of smells I encounter pushing my way through the convention flea markets. Are backpacks off topic? :-)

Old Wolfman13 Oct 2017 7:13 a.m. PST

At conventions,I usually bring a few clean con-themed t-shirts( 1 for each day)and maybe a nice polo shirt,and I wear my pants above the waistline(hence the suspenders).

peterx Supporting Member of TMP13 Oct 2017 9:22 a.m. PST

Clean shirt and pants, and a shower with deodorant would be fine.

Sir Walter Rlyeh13 Oct 2017 10:03 a.m. PST

Alas, at Southern Front, there were alas no jackets with sweaters and ties. I am happy to report, Shagnasty, that there were many of us with whiskey in hand. Call it progress.

Dynaman878913 Oct 2017 11:30 a.m. PST

> You, sir, are indeed fortunate.

Which is strange since I go the same cons (Hcon, Fall-in, Cold Wars) that the unfortunates go to. Maybe it is the games I play.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP13 Oct 2017 1:03 p.m. PST

Sir Walter, I appreciated the offer of a whiskey, but
faced with an hour's drive home and the hour trending
towards later than earlier, chose the precautionary
move of not imbibing.

Had to wear the coat and tie for a combined 46 years
(working and service life). Like to be comfortable
when gaming/GM'ing, which is for FUN not work…

Personal logo capncarp Supporting Member of TMP13 Oct 2017 2:47 p.m. PST

Alas, I fall in with the "Cleanliness first, fashion optional" crowd.
I do have access to a fancy antique perfume atomizer (pink), with which we could apply to less-than-aesthetically-pleasing attendees a masking, less-asphyxiating over-spray of inexpensive cologne, Febreeze, or RAID (tm, Pat. Pending), as appropriate.

christot Inactive Member14 Oct 2017 3:29 a.m. PST

what an utterly bizarre question..
Would you ask whether people should |"dress up" or dress differently to go to the cinema?…Or to a shop?
People wear what they wear….
I appreciate Bill, that you continually post these inane questions purely to get your click rate up, but, really?

Cerdic Supporting Member of TMP14 Oct 2017 12:02 p.m. PST

At the shows I've been to, most people are just dressed 'ordinary'. Like everyone else in the population.

I wouldn't want to dress up. I never wear suits or jackets and categorically refuse to wear a tie. Ridiculous piece of non-functional, uncomfortable material…..just…why?

What others wear is entirely up to them.

By the way, Moe The Great. Is that an Australian thong or a British thong? Very different things!

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Oct 2017 1:16 p.m. PST

Would you ask whether people should |"dress up" or dress differently to go to the cinema?…Or to a shop?



Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP14 Oct 2017 5:58 p.m. PST

I never wear suits or jackets and categorically refuse to wear a tie. Ridiculous piece of non-functional, uncomfortable material…..just…why?

Because it is a symbol of indentured servitude. A yolk.

I saw this on the internet, "……historically only two groups of people have anything around their necks, slaves and the hanged." No thanks!

Volleyfire15 Oct 2017 2:19 a.m. PST

I can count on one hand the number of times I ran into an offensive smelling, or dressing, gamer.

You, sir, are indeed fortunate.

Indeed, there's unfortunately at least one at every show I go to in the UK, and has been for years.And I have a poor sense of smell so what they smell like to others Heaven only knows.

Bad Squiddo Games15 Oct 2017 5:58 a.m. PST

Ok fine, I'll wear the tiara more often.

Personal logo capncarp Supporting Member of TMP16 Oct 2017 4:51 p.m. PST

Bad Squiddo: you'll need your combat boots blinged up with rhinestones, then. Just sayin'.

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