Sumptuary Laws, Real or Imagined

From EastKingdomWiki

Within the East Kingdom, there are many widely held beliefs that have no basis in law or tradition. You can always check the East Kingdom Law on the EK Seneschal's website to find out what's the most current set of rules.

Belief True/False The story behind the belief
You have to pick your SCA name at your first event. Mostly false It is one of our most frequent customs that we take a medieval or quasi-medieval name for use in the Society. But you can use your real first name, and pick a medieval name over time. Deciding what you want to be called is probably one of your first decisions to make, but you can change it any time. For help in picking a more authentic medieval name, it's a good idea to ask a herald for help.
You must have awards to write recommendations for awards. Utterly False There is a small truth, since we are recreating a more medieval time, that some people carry more influence in their personal recommendations than other people do. But it turns out, that it is very useful for Crowns to receive award recommendations from everybody. There are too many reasons to go into here, but it is strongly the case that anyone can write in anyone for any award, at any time; even if you don't have the award you are recommending for, or any awards at all; even if the person you are writing about lives in another Kingdom.
You have to wear an attempt at garb to events True One of the best and simplest things we can do at events to separate our recreation from the modern, is to each dress in a fashion of the period so that when we talk to other people, they see something appropriate. However, the SCA is very light on requirements and so few people have experience at that sort of thing before they join: so all we ask is for you to do the best you can, and will help you with the rest. So, do the best you can: it's a journey. (But don't be surprised or unwilling to accept advice if the best you can do when you first come in turns out to be something we can improve.)
White belts/baldrics are reserved to Knights/Master at Arms True In fact, this is one of the few universal customs and laws in the Society today. However: it is not true that only Chivalry can wear anything white around the waist. The belt or baldric is almost always unadorned leather, several inches wide. Most belts have long tails that go to near the ground, and baldrics are worn over the left shoulder. If you chose to wear a white belt or baldric, prepare for people to be confused.
Red belts/baldrics are reserved to Squires of Knights/Masters at Arms semi-False There is no law that says so, but it is a widely observed custom that the squire's belt or baldric imitate their Knight/Masters except that it is red instead of white. If you choose to wear a red belt or baldric, prepare for people to be confused.
Laurel wreaths on non-Laurels or the arms of non-groups True By law and custom, the Laurel Wreath as a personal heraldic adornment is reserved to members of the Order of the Laurel. Confusingly, the use of Laurel Wreaths on coats of arms is required and reserved for territorial groups in the SCA.
Yellow belts are reserved for proteges of Pelicans Green belts are reserved for apprentices of Laurels False While a custom observed spottily around the Society, and less so in the East, it is not unheard of. Don't avoid yellow or green belts, but expect people to ask who your Pelican/Laurel is.
Blue feathers are for lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender people semi-True There is an organization within the Society, Clan Blue Feather, that is both an educational resource and supportive group for the LGBTQI community in the SCA. Their members, friends, and allies can wear the Clan's device (argent, a feather azure), but it has become more common for them to simply wear a blue feather or feathers as part of their garb. Light blue feathers are traditionally for friends and allies of the Clan, and dark blue is traditionally for LGBTQI people.
Blue cloaks are for fencers False While the custom is in sharp decline, for a while in the East, Carolingia had a group of fencers that wore as regalia small blue fencing cloaks. The group is disbanded, and the legend is fading. However, people of ancient memory might wonder if you were a part of that crew if you wear a 36" blue wool cloak
All your wardrobe must be from the same period False While it might make a finer appearance and would be something to someday shoot for, no one checks your outfits for perfection.
"Metal on the head" is reserved for Peers semi-True In the East we have no sumptuary laws, and we do a very poor job of enforcing Societal laws. However, strong custom does reserve many of the finer forms of fancy coronet to titled nobility. However, anyone that wishes to wear simple circlets can do so in the East. While, technically, one can wear even a very fancy coronet if one has no awards (as long as they don't resemble the reserved ones) in practice it's probably socially awkward.
"Pelicans In Their Piety" are reserved for Pelicans True This symbol is reserved for display by members of the Order.
Collars of estate are reserved for Kingdom Officers mostly False There are a few Kingdoms that reserve them, but the East does not.
Caps of Maintenance are reserved for Pelicans True Reserved in Society Law, This has been largely ignored in the East.
Spurs are reserved to members of the Chivalry semi-True In some Kingdoms, people may reserve them. In the East they are not reserved. However, customarily, they are worn by Chivalry or their Squires. Equestrians while riding horses are always permitted to wear spurs.
Unadorned links of chain are reserved to members of the Chivalry True Reserved in Society Law, (As a symbol of fealty, by tradition, many Knights remove theirs during Coronation ceremonies, and put them back on only after renewing their oaths.)
Only people with Awards of Arms or higher are permitted to have heraldry. False All participants in the Society have an equal right to use and register heraldry. In some Kingdoms, heraldic supporters are restricted in the depiction of full achievements of arms, along with other details. Not so in the East. The SCA has an obscure technical concept which draws a distinction between the armory you bear before receiving an AoA ("a device") and after ("a coat of arms"). This particular distinction is non-period, and makes no practical difference in your rights.
Scarves around the shoulder are reserved for fencers False While not reserved, it is a widely observed pan-Society custom to reserve the bearing of a White Scarf to individuals who hold their Kingdoms' highest award for period defense, and for their individual students (cadets) to wear red or blue ones around the left shoulder.
Cords around the arm are reserved for fencers False Prior to the East Kingdom creating an award for period defense, the practitioners of fencing wore colored cords to show individual rankings in defense. This custom was in decline for a few years, but seems to be reviving.
You have to wear your award medallions False No one has to wear the regalia of honors, awards or orders to which they are entitled. However, the higher the rank (and especially Knighthood, since it comes with obligatory fealty) the more likely it is that the removal of such regalia is considered to be making some kind of political statement.
You cannot wear medallions to honors you don't have, nor can you use titles you don't have (even if the SCA doesn't use them.) False, but While there is no law or regulation on the matter, many folks are sensitive to the appearance of pretense. The Crowns control who has what honors and titles are given in the Society. You will make your time in the organization unpleasant if you violate this custom. (The sole exception would be titles and awards granted by widely recognized non-SCA groups, and even here the ground is treacherous.)
If you make a banner, it has to of a certain size, or smaller than the Kings banner. semi-False There are no such rules in the East, although some other Kingdoms do have either a custom or even a regulation about sizes of banners.
Did someone say "chocolate is period"? Semi-something It is a tradition in the East that Crowns be allowed to have "Royal Whims", which indicate their preferences and interests. It is quite common for favorite foods and beverages to be indicated, usually with a stock phrase like "chocolate is period".
Purple (or some other color) is restricted False The East has no sumptuary laws about color.
Women should be escorted into court False There is no such rule. However, some Crowns and many people like the custom. It isn't particularly period.
Use all of people's titles all the time False First, we have good evidence that people used only the most appropriate title or highest ranking title at a time. Second, even in cases where multiple titles are used, the period usage is not to do title stacking "Duke Master Master Sir Shufflebotham" is not correct. The more appropriate way to do this would be "Duke Shufflebotham, Order of the Pelican, Laurel, Knight".
You have to disarm to enter court False For a time in the past, there was a game played with people hiding knives on their person, and then "removing" them in court. It got overplayed. No noble holding court should have reason to fear a simple eating knife on your person. Don't bring elaborate weapons. If someone makes a comment on your way in, politely ask the noble if they require you disarm.
Non-Peers aren't allowed to bother or talk to Peers. Utterly False We are all here to play, and while our Peers are recognized for their contributions and abilities, they are more than happy to get to know new people. Avoiding Peers would be a mistake.

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