I have a confession to make: I still play dress up. This might come as a surprise to those of you who know me. I abhor princesses, I can’t stand those frilly dresses, and I hate pink. I’m not a girlie, girl, and never really have been. Yet, I’ve been playing dress up my whole life.
Every day I put on costumes. Every day I play a role.
Today I’m “suburban soccer mom,” tomorrow I might be “she who should not be trifled with.” Yet, each outfit I put on, speaks to who I intend to be that day. My clothes speak volumes of how I intend to present myself and there is a deliberateness to my choices. A well chosen heel can communicate power and control, and a perfect pencil skirt can produce just the right level of sex appeal without looking like I’m trying at all.
Every day is Halloween for me. I dress up as “sporty mom”, and “consummate professional”, and “good time girl.” I guess that’s why costume parties offend me. I have no patience for those who dress up in crazy costumes and believe that their disguise gives them cause for poor behavior. Because, you see, I can still see you; I will recall your foolishness whether you’re dressed as a naughty nurse or not. Your costumes should amplify the best of you, not give you excuses for the worst.
There are others who appreciate a great outfit and see their clothes as I do. We have our own language to discuss our garb. We understand that people should know who you are the moment you walk in the room, the message should be clear and unwavering. Every detail adds to the effect and finalizes the illusion. When my friend showed up at an Octoberfest party in full St. Pauly Girl leiderhossen, it was important to note the shoes she wore. Heels would’ve been slutty, but the perfect pair of flats suggested playfulness. And, our discussions around clothes have a rhythm all their own.
“I was going for: not trying at all.” You nailed it!
“I was shooting for: breezy, thrown together.” The hair says it all!
Maybe this is one of the reasons why I love gay men. They get the costumes. They understand the effort it takes to look effortless. They know to comment on the perfect skirt that just says, “what? This ol’ thing?” They see the details that make up the whole, and they have the security to point out how fabulous it all is. And, let’s not forget, it’s a costume. It’s meant to be noticed.
So, when given the opportunity to work the front of the house at a friends annual drag show (www.freshfruitproductions.com), my first concern was, “what will I wear”. Struck by their beauty, and the effort that goes into getting there, how could I possibly live up to that ideal. What outfit could I choose that would respect the honor of these true costume designers?? And, unlike a guest at a wedding, I run no risk of outshining the brides. The opportunities are endless. The sky is the limit.
Might I do “sexy secretary” or “young ingenue” or “bad ass biker chick”. Should I choose leather or lace. To have been a fly on the wall of the dressing room at H&M! How much fun, to design a costume to celebrate the queens of dress up.
I think I’m close. It will be subtle, and understated, and only you will know how much thought went into it. But, know this for sure, even without the crinoline and the tulle (and I’m not ruling it out) it’s all just playing dress up.