How would wearing a dress/skirt hinder combat? No, my characters aren’t planning to fight in one, but it’s what they are wearing when being attacked.
That’s a bit defensive.
As general writing advice, you create the setting and scenarios. You have control over that. If you can establish how your characters got to the starting points, where they go from there, that’s all you need to justify. Your work lives or dies based on your faith in it, and if you’re stepping back and trying to preemptively defend it, you know something’s gone wrong. What you want to do is get out ahead of that criticism and shut it down before you’re worried about defending it.
Most people do not dress with combat in mind. Even characters who know what they’re doing will sometimes have to dress for occasions where they’ll have to wear something uncomfortable and restrictive. This goes for both genders.
Beyond that, real people, in the real world, make poor choices with distressing frequency. This is especially true when they’re under stress and dealing with unfamiliar and dangerous situations.
Historically, people fought in skirts. The kilt is still a part of some traditional regalia, and they were worn to war.
The issue is how much any article of clothing restricts your movement. Tight skirts which restrict your movement will continue to do that in combat (unless they tear), looser skirts which don’t restrict your movement won’t, and won’t have much effect on your ability to fight. This is also true for, basically, any article of clothing. A tight jacket or skin tight jeans, which limit your mobility will continue to do that in combat, while looser streetwear won’t.
Long and flowy clothing can get caught, and, depending on how sturdy it is, torn. Somewhat obviously, if you’re wearing something you can’t tear off or discard, and it gets caught, that’s going to effectively hold you in place. Though, in many cases, this is more of a path towards damaging or destroying articles of clothing.
So, how does a skirt effect your ability to fight? It’s like any other article of clothing: If it restricts your movement, it restricts your movement. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.
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