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Jackets

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Clothing in TSAB-occupied Dimensional Space generally doesn't follow the preconceptions of Earth. For one thing, very little of it is actually cut from cloth and fabric. Rather, it is similar in principle to a Barrier Jacket - layers of light magical fields taking care of things like "keeping you the right temperature" and "preventing you from hurting your feet on the gravel path", while the physical element of the clothes is spun out of raw mana. Obviously, they're nowhere near as power-intensive as a Barrier Jacket, having none of the draining shields or protections that such combat suits do, so more or less everyone who has a magic rank at all can wear one.

This has quite a lot of interesting ramifications. For one, clothing is mostly ordered online, rather like an e-book. You don't buy a jumper, but rather a template that's been designed by some fashion designer, which your civ-Device then implements. You also have some control over it, in parameters like size (which by default automatically sizes itself to fit you), colour, sleeve length, etc. Nothing huge, but basic, standard parameters that can be easily programmed just as a floating value are changeable. That means that you generally only need one or two "t-shirt" templates in your wardrobe, which correspond to entire rooms full of possible patterns (though complicated ones might be an additional module you'd have to buy, especially dynamic ones that moved or changed). Things like texture, or very different cuts, however, are getting into the region of "you need a new template".

It is possible to alter templates more extensively oneself. However, the physical aspect is essentially not that different (though there are some differences, it's not completely virtual) to a computer model of a set of clothing, describing everything about what it looks like, how it moves, how it's shaped, etc. The programming is complex, and most people are content to just let professionals handle it. You can even find freeware templates online, though of course, humans being humans, what you're buying when you buy a template from somewhere isn't so much clothing as uniqueness.

Another of the consequences of this paradigm is, of course, the sheer range of outfits you'll see on the street. Jackets, as they're called, keep you perfectly warm and protect you from rough surfaces no matter what they look like. So you're fine wearing summerwear in the middle of winter, though the climate control does have limits, so you can't go out in Northern Canada wearing a bikini - you'll want to invest in a designed-for-serious-cold-weather Jacket for that, the equivalent of what you might buy at an outdoors store like Millets or Blacks on Earth (which will take more power for upkeep). Some people also prefer to keep a real pair of gloves around for cold weather, because it's a strange feeling, touching things with fielded hands. So people leave the fields off over things which are likely to get touched or come in contact with stuff, and a lot of people will have one or two physical outfits around somewhere, for various special occasions or other reasons.

Your outfits don't even have to be physically possible - you can have a cape that permanently billows in a wind that isn't there, or a dress with such a low cut that by all rights it should be falling off. You can have moving patterns and glowing light integrated into your clothes, and of course you can change outfits instantly. No more spending thirty minutes getting dressed in the morning, just click, poof, out the door you go.

At the high end of the more expensive designs, you also find physical components integrated into the spell matrix. Jewellery is the least of these, of course, as well as slots for Devices to fit into it - like how Bardiche fits onto the back of Fate's glove. But at the high end, you might find a dress template designed to integrate a flowering vine which coils around the woman's body in a delicate embrace, which is protected and kept alive by the spell matrix. Or an animate boa of liquid water, contained in forcefields to form a shimmering snake-like mantle that rests on your shoulders and can flow out, if the wearer focuses on it, and act like a third limb.

And the TSAB endorse this happily. Very happily, in fact. Because in wearing a Jacket, you are in fact exercising your magic on a low but constant level of output. It's effectively a very low level of training for the magical muscles, and while it won't produce prodigies by itself, it means that the baseline of magical reserves in TSAB space is just that little bit higher, due to the constant workout that people get just by wearing clothes. Which means that their recruits come to them just that little bit more magically powerful. Which is nice.

Indeed, it's a big things for a child, when they first manage to support a Jacket (and that's another reason the TSAB encourage it, because if someone manages it very young, they're someone to watch for magical potential). It's one of the signs of growing up, getting to choose what you wear in that way and being able to handle the magical output. Which can, sadly, have nasty social consequences for those far ahead of or behind the curve, because in the former case you're a prodigy (which often breeds hostility), and in the latter you're either a magical weakling or too stupid to do the basic calculations. Children can be unfortunately cruel at times, and this is no less true in Dimensional Space than on Earth.

However, once potential recruits get into the TSAB, they find that the uniforms are actual cloth, real materials. This is because while the workout of magic is very good pre-TSAB, once recruits are on active duty, the TSAB doesn't want them wasting power on any frivolous and unnecessary expenditures of energy. Thus, the only Jacket-like, needs-magic-to-manifest-and-maintain-them clothes that TSAB agents wear while on duty are Barrier Jackets, which are far more armoured. The difference in the strengths of the protective fields incorporated into the average Barrier Jacket and the average civilian Jacket is greater than that between cotton and silk-lined kevlar and ceramic bulletproof vests; they are extremely tough.

This state of affairs makes for a very different paradigm in shopping and general presentation to Earth, where we have a lot of clothing shops, and the limitations in our clothing are... well, limiting. On places like Mid, you see clothing styles that are completely impossible for physical materials, and that's just normal civilians. Once you get into things like professional theatre costumes... wow. Magically embedded effects and augmentations, elaborate moving parts, impossible sophistication... the works. Not to mention the special effects that go with them, which can be a real sight to see.

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