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Some context:

You are traveling to somewhere temperate (55-85 Fahrenheit )in the past, at some random time, post 1000 BC, pre 1800 AD.You do not know where, save that it is in Europe, or a similar area culturally. You will not have language problems. You can only have one outfit, but you can bring accessory pieces to modify things. The goal is to attract as little attention as possible.

Requirements:

  • Should not instantly appear as high class (No blue silk or purple lace, etc.)
  • May appear foreign
  • Should be practical for daily activities
  • Should cover a full outfit, not just a few components.
  • Should provide solutions for both men and women.
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closed as too broad by Mołot, StephenG, RonJohn, Shadowzee, L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Dec 4 '18 at 4:20

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Good question, tough to know where to start researching. Trouble is the difference between what you'd need in the south of Spain in the height of summer and Scotland during winter, technically temperate - maybe 50 celsius difference, possibly more with wind chill and rain or snow. Narrowing it a bit would help greatly. $\endgroup$ – We are Monica. Dec 3 '18 at 23:15
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    $\begingroup$ The temperate zone could throw you anywhere from South America, Africa, India, Southeast Asia, or Northern Australia. Time and Location are going to be key. For example, apparel normal in Australia isn't going to be the same as apparel in Egypt. Also anything you are unfamiliar with will appear foreign... and some countries would be extremely isolated rendering the foreign from another country point moot. $\endgroup$ – Shadowzee Dec 3 '18 at 23:54
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    $\begingroup$ For me this looks like a story set in a world - our world - and not like an actual worldbuilding. Also "Should provide solutions for both men and women." most of the time, in most of the places this is not possible for one outfit to work on both genders, making this unanswerable. "Should be practical" is purely opinion based. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Dec 3 '18 at 23:56
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    $\begingroup$ The goal is to attract as little attention as possible. This falls under the time traveller's number one rule : stay away from people. $\endgroup$ – StephenG Dec 4 '18 at 0:04
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    $\begingroup$ Practical is opinion based. Not appear high class is opinion based, too. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Dec 4 '18 at 0:24
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Your safest bet would probably be about the lowest class citizen - wear natural fibres in some shade of brown, and you’ll not get too many odd looks. However, what classes as ‘natural fibres’ will vary from location to location - and that would be enough to draw suspicion, given the breadth of the locations you specify.

Dressing as a member of a religious order could be handy for much of Europe, even into North Africa and Asia, depending on the period - certain mendicant orders originated well back before the 1000s, and continued into the 1800s. However, that still doesn’t account for your BC years or significant tracts of Asia and the Americas.

Perhaps your best bet would be to wear some type of rough, brown, unkempt natural fibre (haircloth, undyed wool, hemp, etc.) as a makeshift robe/dress/generic body-covering item of clothing, cover yourself in a fair amount of mud, and pass as a reasonable beggar in a number of societies, regardless of time or place. But even that isn’t perfect - the parameters are just so broad, even the colour of the mud or the type of wool you choose could get you singled out.

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    $\begingroup$ "Hey, everyone, that beggar's mud is the wrong colour! Get him!" $\endgroup$ – Omegastick Dec 4 '18 at 4:40
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Skip clothing altogether.

With such broad and mixed requirements, you are unlikely to be able to blend in any society of the destination time at all. Nudity, however is universal.

You can pull a terminator and steal someone's clothes when you get there.

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Stealth suit

Since you have time travel, technology isn't a problem. Being hidden is the only answer with the limitation posed.

Clothing varies so much from place to place and over time that there is no magic outfit that will fit in.

As a result, not fitting in and drawing attention is actually the best way to fit in and not draw attention.

Chances are you'll be a foreign race anyway so immediately you don't fit in no matter what you wear and actually wearing local clothes can make you stand out more. As a result your best bet is to look foreign and plausible of which a trader is your best bet. A red silk shirt and fancy clothes make you look like a rich foreign trader which is a plausible reason for you to be virtually anywhere and look as well as act nothing like the local population.

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  • $\begingroup$ Ahem. I specifically asked for things that would work for women too. $\endgroup$ – Tanzanite Dragoness Dec 4 '18 at 4:15
  • $\begingroup$ @TanzaniteDragoness Why can't women wear a stealth suit? $\endgroup$ – Shadowzee Dec 4 '18 at 4:33
  • $\begingroup$ @shadowzee I was referring t9 the trader/merchant with the red silk shirt bit. $\endgroup$ – Tanzanite Dragoness Dec 4 '18 at 4:45
  • $\begingroup$ @TanzaniteDragoness Why can't a women wear a red silk shirt and fancy clothes? $\endgroup$ – Shadowzee Dec 4 '18 at 4:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Shadowzee have you heard of historical sexism? You are trying to avoid attention and possible arrest. $\endgroup$ – Tanzanite Dragoness Dec 4 '18 at 4:48
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(W)arming Jacket?

Apparel is not normally my forte but thought I'd give it a try.

enter image description here

My thought was inspired by the gambeson, which was often used with additional protection sewn onto joint areas as seen above.

Start with a thin under layer of long-sleeved shirt and pants. However, the shirt and pants should be filled with snap fastener sockets. This would allow you to pop on big swatches of thick padding and a hood for colder climates. You might also be able to lengthen the shirt into a pseudo-greatcoat with the add-on padding if need be. Throw in gloves and boots to finish the outfit. You could add a set of dyes into the accessory list if that is a concern.

The end result would probably look like studded leather in practice, except with sockets instead of studs.

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You dress based on your job description.

You currently have not indicated you purpose what is the purpose of your time travel. To me, that piece of information may help you decide what apparel do you actually need to wear.

  1. IF your a assassin: then modern military tactical gear is required, along with all the modern equipment you need. You might bring a lot more less because you want to be "unnoticeable".

  2. IF you just want to learn more about them: Then you can already foresee what might they maybe actually wearing with just a google search (or maybe perhaps something near). Choose the apparel that would fit the description of a "townsfolk" then you're good to go.

I think number two(2) is for general usage since, you can also became a adviser for a certain leader using clothes as simple as a townsfolk, or just plain immersion.

Another thing to note too is, you can bring gold, then buy clothes from merchants or to anybody who you meet. Pay them gold for their clothes and you're good to go.

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    $\begingroup$ Foreseeing what a specific culture would wear doesn't really answer the question, as the point is that the clothing must satisfy a multitude of cultures at once rather than any specific one. $\endgroup$ – Bewilderer Dec 4 '18 at 2:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Bewilderer its not indicated in the requirements, what are you saying. $\endgroup$ – Mr.J Dec 4 '18 at 2:54
  • $\begingroup$ The point of the question, as I see it, is that the time traveler does not know when or where they are going to end up, and as such needs to be able to be able to blend into as many cultures as possible to decrease the likelihood of suspicion. $\endgroup$ – Bewilderer Dec 4 '18 at 2:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Bewilderer then you're wrong, as the requirement said "May appear foreign" number two highlight. So you can basically wear ancient Egyptian apparel in a freezing american winter and tell them you're from Egypt. $\endgroup$ – Mr.J Dec 4 '18 at 3:03
  • $\begingroup$ @MrJ I meant that you can seem a bit odd, but that is taking it a bit too far. Also, I had it as you are testing something and don’t know where you end up. Furthermore, you have to be inconspicuous enough to the merchant in the first place. $\endgroup$ – Tanzanite Dragoness Dec 4 '18 at 3:24
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Since you come from a time where time machines are a reality, why not explore some futuristic apparel?

As an underwear, you'd wear some ultra thin thermo-regulating smart cloth. This way, you won't have any issues with very hot/cold, humid/dry weather. Note that an astronaut's space suit is already doing that, except that it's not ultra thin and needs a big battery.

As for the outer layer, you would have some fabric that can take any shape and color you want.

Of course, if needed, you could also use the fabric as an invisibility cloak to become nearly invisible (like predator)

The AI assistant that's implemented in your retina would automatically choose the best outfit to minimize suspicion.

This kind of "magic" fabric and invisibility cloaks exist in research labs

https://www.fastcompany.com/3045349/magical-fabric-could-let-you-change-clothes-instantly

https://www.tokyotimes.com/japan-invents-invisibility-cloak/

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  • $\begingroup$ I am assuming current is technology, I am looking for something that acctually works, not handwavium. $\endgroup$ – Tanzanite Dragoness Dec 4 '18 at 4:16
  • $\begingroup$ You should put it as a requirement in your OP then. $\endgroup$ – Fred Dec 5 '18 at 4:44

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