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Who do I Want to Be Today?

by Niffer — June 4, 2014

Cheney’s last post is right in my wheelhouse.

I am a Costume Designer.  I make my living by dressing others.  I spend days at the mall, in fitting rooms, onset, gathering the pieces to make the perfect outfit for each character. I’m exposed to a rotating and never ending smorgasbord of fashion finds.

I never have anything to wear.

The problem isn’t so much the lack of clothing, but a sticky combination of disliking to do laundry, and not quite being sure what face I want to show the world on any given day.

See, as a costumer, I use clothing as a non-verbal language. What a person wears gives subtle (and not so subtle) clues to their personality.  More importantly, it tells others who they think they are, or at least who they would like others to think they are.

Some days I can’t be bothered.  I carelessly pick up something that doesn’t smell or have random gunk down the front, and hope no one notices I wore it two days ago.  Sometimes I literally get dressed in the dark. (5am call times can lead to some interesting clothing combinations!)

Somedays I’m a super fashionista.  On rare occasions I manage to exude a modicum of that effortless chic the undeniably cool leak from every pore.

Most days I just hope I don’t look like I’m trying too hard.

And this is my JOB people!

How do the rest of you do it?

How do yo all just get up, get dressed, and get on with your day?

An entire morning’s dressing can be thrown off by the lack of a suitable shoe.  One that looks just right with the outfit, but won’t make my feet bleed by the end of a 14 hr day.  Or worse yet, be ruined by stray camera blood in a field somewhere.

The thing is, each day I get up with the thought “who do I want to be today?” as my guide to getting dressed.  Sometimes I hit on a “me” I like so much I stick with it for three straight days (with minor changes for hygiene and cleanliness) other days I suffer from Multiple Personalities.  Especially if I need to attend varied events in one day.

And heaven help me if I feel improperly dressed for any given situation!

I know this all seems so shallow, flighty, vapid… to those of you who don’t view clothing in the same manner.  I’ve had countless discussions with friends who claim that fashion holds no meaning to them, that it’s body covering and that’s all.  And I argue that in itself is an unspoken comment to those around them.  Painful to me to see, but clearly heard and understood.

To me, however, I feel that in an industry, a city, a society, where as a young (looking) woman struggling for control and respect, how I present myself sartorially instantly sets the mood for any given interaction.

When I have a fitting or meeting with a key person, I make sure to wear something stylish, yet understated.  Perhaps more “grown up” or “lady-like” than my everyday work gear.  But when I go to set, I know I need to look ready to move and do and withstand the pressure in a largely male dominated workforce.  Wardrobe already has enough trouble maintaining respect, I don’t want to make matters worse by wearing heels and a baby doll dress.  I need to tell people instantly that I mean business, in both these situations, but both situations require that business to mean something different.

And let’s not even get started on dating and social engagements! Heavens!!

Let me just say that it takes a bit of thinking to look this good in something I conceivably just “threw on”… because, you know, can’t let them know you’re trying.

*sigh*

So I thought I’d leave you with a few of my recent personalities.  Let me know what makes you feel most “you”, share your favourite outfit, sound off on the rampant consumerism of fast fashion… whatever you feel.  Just do it with style!

Screenshot 2014-06-03 23.55.46

 

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  • Cheney

    I’ve always thought that people who self-proclaim as having a concrete style, or “signature look” probably didn’t have a great variety of activities to do during the day because, as you say, three different activities in a day often require three different outfits. I’m forever toting around extra pairs of shoes, accessories, and all the stuff you need when you’ve got a lot to do in one day, and you need to be dressed suitably for all of it. I’ve found it’s really hard to look effortlessly chic when you’re carrying a giant bag stuffed of random crap.
    Some days (weeks?) I throw in the towel and put on whatever is the least wrinkled from my floor, but it affects my mood when I’m not dressed in a way that pleases me. Yeah, it’s probably superficial, but it’s there and undeniable.
    I would definitely be happy in a multi-coloured super cute print shirt like the one you’re wearing though. Looks like summer!!

    • Niffer

      I seem to only have managed to attach the one photo, but it’s a good example. I bought that shirt in the dead of this extended Canadian winter and dubbed it my “Miami” shirt. I imagined sunshine and mojitos when I wear it! Definitely improves my mood. Actually, friends always seem to know I’m in a funk when I start wearing and buying black and grey… seems I wear my heart on my sleeve quite literally!
      Glad you can empathize with the difficulty of finding a truly multitasking outfit. I’m working on a theory: it all comes down to the shoes!

      • Cheney

        I think that’s why I usually try and dress in a way that allows me to wear boots at all times – the kind you can climb trees and flee from your enemies in. I like to think it makes me look edgy, and not like a moody teenager 🙂

        • Niffer

          I also like to play the game “how long would I last in these shoes if the zombie apocalypse started right now?”. I do have definite zombie survival outfits, but with my luck I’ll be wearing 4″ heels and a dress when the dead rise. Dangit!!