Wardrobe Theory: Vivienne From Dragon Age: Inquisition

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If I know one thing about Dragon Age: Inquisition, I know that there’s a bunch of super hot dudes and ladies in that game. That’s in fact my entire impetus for wanting to play it—I like looking at nice looking people, and if this is essentially a dating sim with some dragon murder in it, sign me the fuck up.

And as with all dating sims, I like to research who I’m going to fuck before I play. Initially, I assumed I’d be all about Cullen—whose got a smirk like James Van Der Beek in Rules of Attraction—but I’m honestly most drawn to Vivienne, who, of course, you can’t romance. Woe is me. At least she’s apparently a complete beast and unstoppable dragon slayer—my kind of woman.

Vivienne looks like the sort who subscribes to French Wardrobe Theory, has a closet full of Loubitons, but refuses to change her ringtone from “Anaconda” by Nicki Minaj. She looks like the kind of woman who has a regular table at her favorite bar, some dimly lit speakeasy where she only drinks Manhattans. The frustrating, enticing kind of woman who’s always on point, head to toe in designer, and who would break your neck as soon as look at you. In other words: she’s perfect. In my ongoing quest to be perfect, I’m gonna try to take a few suggestions from Vivienne, because if you can’t have videogame sex with ‘em, join ‘em.

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I feel like, first of all, I have to mention the strange oily skin issue everyone seems to have in Dragon Age. Well, maybe Bioware knows something we don’t—turns out that oils like Jojoba, Argon and Shea help keep your skin acne free and help give you a clear, glowing complexion. Are they expensive? Yes. But a few drops alone, in combination with other oils or added to your moisturizer, can go a long way. Not to mention they also work on your hair and nails.

Speaking of “Anaconda”, I really feel like Vivienne would own a closet full of Balmain. Now, I don’t know a single person who could buy this Peplum Leather and Calfhair Mini-Dress, but when I look at designer clothing, it’s less to lust after, and more for inspiration. I don’t have $17,000, but I can recognize that what I like about that dress are the chainmail inserts and the leather paneling (calfhair I can give or take, honestly), so I would look for a dress with those details. Vivienne seems to prefer longer dresses, often maxi-length, in neutrals or jeweltones like deep sapphires and purples, with embellishments at the neck and shoulders. So, you can start with this Batwing Maxi Dress from Onion by Whitney Mero, which comes in scarlet and royal blue as well as black, and pair it with accessories that will help you read as “Dragon Murderer.” A statement necklace like this Titanium Crystal and Copper Necklace from Jazjewels or something more audacious like this Made Makoto piece or this one from ALDO will make sure people know what you’re about: not being fucked with. While I love bold earrings, if you’re going with an intense necklace, I’d recommend keeping it simple elsewhere—not only are you going to get your earrings tangled in your necklace, that’s just a whole lot of shit on your face. These Granite Dipped in Gold Foil studs from Amoorella should do the trick.

vivienne balmain final.jpg Balmain

While you never really get a good look at videogame characters’ feet, I feel like an impactful shoe is key here for bringing everything together. Jeffrey Campbell may have designed the Lyta, probably the most played out shoe of our short decade, but it was popular for a reason—you can’t not notice it. Similarly, the Gideon ankle boot is something no one will be able to ignore. The armored detailing is also reminiscent of the fantasy medieval time period where Vivienne originates from. You can take the girl out of the videogame, I guess, but you can’t take the videogame out of the girl.

What I’ve outlined is a really expensive outfit. There are ways to bring the sophisticated, powerful aura of Vivienne into a modern context without spending a ton of money. For example, take a simple jersey dress like the Doubt Dress from Cheap Monday, add an intense body harness like the Maliya Harness from Creepyyeha, and you go from “Beach Bum” to “I Kill Dragons With Magic In My Spare Time.” Can’t afford to spend $160 on what basically amounts to fetish wear? Neither can I! May I also suggest this delicate chain harness from River Island? Guess what—it’s only $18! Guess what else—I’m buying it right now! Pair that with these flatform holographic sandals, and some fun socks to keep your toesies warm, and you’ve achieved much of the same vibe for much, much less money.

Fashion and style present an incredible canvas to express yourself—even jeans and a t-shirt can say a lot about who you are, and how you want to be seen. If you take me on the day to day, I usually project that I’d rather be in bed, but when you have such possibilities to express yourself, why not be as expressive as possible? You get Vivienne as soon as you look at her—she’s in a position of power which she treats with respect, and she demands that you respect her too. Most of the time, I get frustrated with “impractical” clothing on videogame characters, but in this case, being impractical in her clothing is her character. And sometimes, in life, you need to dress the part. When you dress like a boss, people respect you like a boss. It’s unfair to know that—that people make snap judgments based on your appearance—but when you know you’re a boss even in sweatpants, you should make sure no one ever forgets it. As Bioware says about Vivienne, there are no impractical clothes, only impractical people. What I think is more fitting are the words of rapper Kid Sister—I’ll put a little hurtin’ on ya, and I’ll do it some heels.

Gita Jackson has dedicated her entire adult life to wading through the marginalia of popular culture and finding gold. As much as she’d like to be called a “fashion expert,” she is more likely a niche fashion enthusiast. She would probably love to talk to you on Twitter @xoxogossipgita.