The admins in this historical sim where players are asked to stay fairly true to characters appearance of the mid to late 1800's Deadwood, South Dakota are faced with this question almost daily - mostly from newcomers who haven't done much research (see the links on the side under Resources). Most have based their idea of working girls of all kinds on old Hollywood movies, television shows, RL costumes and clothing offered for sale in Second Life. They may have spent several hundred Lindens on an outfit they like that makes their avatar look mighty fetchin'.
As Daisy points out, although we are playing 19th century prostitutes, saloon, dance hall and parlor girls, today's eyes aren't gonna be turned on or shocked a lot by what turned on and shocked people way back then. And, as she also points out, the Deadwood tv show changed their cuss words from "damn" to "fuck" as we aren't really gonna be shocked if someone says "damn" a lot - "fuck" gets the point across.. don't ya fuckin' think?
Early prostitutes and girls working in the saloons in Deadwood most likely would have dressed similar to how you see Daisy and me dressin' on the cover page picture up there... nothing fancy for sure. Dancing girls haven't really arrived yet. Still... we would most likely have our dancing girls in dresses no more than knee high, with flashy colored slips underneath, low cut front for sure, maybe baring our arms inside the saloon. And outside we might dress like the ladies in town with dresses to our ankles -- our blouses would probably be low low cut to advertise our trade, though we might still have long sleeves on.
But we're still gonna run across knee to crotch length dresses and bared shoulders
So, what about them crotch length, bright red, blue, purple, feathered dresses? Should we or shouldn't we relax the rules, and tolerate a more sexy modern look?
So, here's a close up of Lola in her 19th century working girl clothing:
And then here's the more jazzed up modern look -- this is one I have in inventory -- oh yeahhhh, I love it but.. how right is it for Deadwood now? Or in the future?
And Lord help us, below are samples of what comes up if you type in "Saloon Girl" in Xchange:
Black Rose for all your play and role play needs!
Clearly meant for modern wild west, but the text does say Saloon girl -- are there saloon girls around today?
Text says "Sexy corset set perfect for any steampunk or old west setting where you are looking for the kind of outfit a saloon girl would wear!" Um, well.. maybe if you leave everything on...
"Madam" Can be found here
Addison Leigh is working on some really good information on the working girls of the times that will help players decide what kind of working girl they might want to be (prostitute, saloon girl, parlor girl, upstairs girl, madam?) and how to appropriately dress their avatar to play that part.
But the question does remain -- do we dress our avatars to turn on our 21st century eyes? Or are we role-playing the characters so much so that the 19th century look works?
Your comments are invited!