Let’s Cosplay


Sometimes I feel like a fish out of water. A bluejay in a subway. A…you get it.

For the longest time I’ve heard the word “cosplay” bantered around in various articles and circles.

I always thought cosplay was the name of a band.

Last night I watched a TV show on the SyFy channel called Cosplay Melee. And I finally realized what it was all about. Dress Up. Tech style.

According to iFanboy (https://goo.gl/fAIbSC), “Cosplay is a shortened form of two words – costume and play. It is the practice of portraying a fictional character – at times completely identifying as that character while in costume (and thus acting as if the individual was that character to add to the authenticity of the experience).”

It seems to me I have been surrounded by cosplayers for like ever and never knew they had a title.

My trips through the years to the Renaissance Faire was full of cosplayers…myself included. Although I didn’t quite lose myself in the lady-in-waiting corset way, I did find myself speaking with a British accent while I dined on turkey legs and watched the joust. I have also lost myself at Halloween now and then, everything from a wicked witch (not to be confused with THE wicked witch), a hooker, and a blueberry. I don’t remember if the acting went to my head — after all, what would a blueberry have to share with the world — but I did go all out on the costumes.

I have been in love with SiFi’s Face Off for years. I love the imagination and the talent of the competitors. It’s fascinating. Cosplay Melee is just about the same thing, except they build extensions of themselves in fantasy mode, where Face Off is somebody else’s face.

My feelings of inadequacy seem to dissipate, though, when I realize — isn’t a writer a cosplayer?

Okay, we don’t design costumes and makeup and physically turn into our favorite creature. But we know them just as intimately. We know how they look, how they smell, how they walk. We know what they think, why they hurt, why they’re insane. We know more about our fictional characters than we know (or more likely will admit) to ourselves. They’re in our head more than on the page, and there’s often no reasoning with them.

That means we make up dialects, languages, and points-of-view. We become them. And if that isn’t cosplay, I don’t know what is.

I suppose it isn’t such a bad thing to dress up and act like your favorite fantasy character. People have been doing that at Comic Con forever. Beam me up Scotty and all that. As long as you know that Neytiri exists only in the movie Avatar and Captain Kirk is only a TV hero, you’re alright. Start thinking you can jump off buildings or fisticuffs with bad guys in the alley late at night, and, well, it doesn’t take much to get back to reality.

Still, I think there’s a little cosplay in all of us. Whether we paint, write, sculpt, make jewelry, or play music. The basics are always there. It’s what we do with them that makes cosplay.

But I still thing there’s a band around with a name like that….

 

 

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Not Again

smacking headIt’s only mid-October…the leaves are glowing in their spectacular colors, evenings bring a cooling atmosphere for sleep, the nights are getting longer (more time for sleep and TV!). We begrudgingly  pack away our summer duds and bring our our winter ones (although, in my case, I pack away less and less so I can deal with those hot flashy moments). We look forward to hoodies and joggies and fuzzy socks. The transition is usually painless.

But it is only mid-October…and the outfit is back. The number one no-no for fashion divas of all ages. And it hurts my eyes. It hurts my eyes and pushes my buttons and shivers me timbers.

And it makes me want to repost a warning from April of this very year.

 

SEVEN FASHION NO-NOS FOR GODDESSES OF ALL AGES pants

During these doldrums of Winter, I’ve been planning my new fashion statement. Or rather looking for one. I’m up for the Boho Chic style. But I can’t really BoHo now, because there’s something about wind chills of ten below and snow two feet deep in every direction that discourages peasant dresses and shawls and beaded whatevers. I figure between now and Spring I’ll gather up some fun things and have fun being a fun kinda woman.

But lately I’ve been seeing a few “Middle Age Magic” women following their own fashion muse, and, well, the sight is not a pretty one. I am all for comfort, fashion, and practicality. My BoHo is not your BoHo and all that. But good taste should always be good taste. I am all for the “this is who I am” state of being, too, but there are some things Middle Age (and older) women should really think twice about.  Here are a few of my humble fashion suggestions:

1.   Leggings and long sweaters and boots can look good on some women. Velvety purple leggings can not. Ever.

2.   Pigtails should only be worn by women under 10 or those who want to play the baby doll thing with their loved one. In private.

3.   Makeup is not a necessity. A fresh face is. Cleopatra’s eyes looked good only on Cleopatra. On older women it just looks scary.

4.   I know it’s sometimes necessary to run to the store in jogging pants. It’s just the nature of the beast. But jogging pants and chuggie boots and parkas are not a fashion statement now or ever. Remember — you are a woman first. Don’t ever be mistaken for the football player down the street.

5.  The office is as good a place as any to try out a new look. Just don’t be the one to test the dress code every time you do. You do nothing but create army punishment for the rest of us, making us unhappy co-workers and fashion enemies.

6.  Did I mention the thing about leggings and sweaters and boots? The older you get, the more you should think twice about it.

7.   Know you don’t have to spend a lot of money to try new looks. Just use your head. Don’t wear shoes that pinch, pants that bulge in the butt, tops that show too much of your endowments, shoes your father would wear, tops that make you look like a sausage, colors that make you look like a clown, or earrings bigger than your head.

There is fashion, and then there is fashion. And then there is no fashion. And then there is deliberate no fashion. Don’t let your steadfastness close your mind to the colors and sensations of the world. But in the same vein, don’t let your need to make a statement as you get older make you say something you’ll regret later. If a look works, great. If not, make sure you have a great look to go back to. Be proud of who you are and how you got there. Don’t let others dictate the colors of your feathers. But don’t forget you’ve GOT feathers.

And they never look good in velvety purple leggings.

Old Lady BoHo

I have finally discovered my fashion calling.  It’s called BOHO CHIC.imagesCASW5EHX

Now, I’d never heard of this phrase before. Sitting having coffee with my oh-so-chic bestie, the word came up in conversation. So off to GoogleLand I went.

One site said Boho-Chic is “a style of female fashion drawing on various bohemian and hippie influences, which, at its height in 2004/5, was associated particularly with Sienna Miller and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. The twins went off with a ‘homeless look’ (or, as some call it, everything-but- the-kitchen-sink look).”   I must admit I’ve never put Sienna in the Peace/Love/Dove generation, and, seeing as I barely know who the twin kittens are, I didn’t count much on their ideas of fashion. But with all those negative, scrub-woman adjectives, the style seemed perfect for me.

Another site said the Boho style of dress has been described as the “retro-hippie-shabby-chic.” That seems like a lot of hyphens to describe something you wear. And since I’m a little closer to the senior world, retro is relative. A third described this style as “sweet and tough, grunge meets Chanel.” Since I own a bottle of Chanel (it’s 15 years old), I would have no problem spraying some on something grungy. (Although I must admit, “grunge” is not one of my favorite words.) I don’t mind the word “hippie,” since I always wanted to be one of those (I was much too dorky to be one).  Chic has never in my repertoire of words (or thoughts), and I still can identify with shabby.

I have always loved the Bohemian look, although I always thought it was more for young, willowy things.   But I love the idea of looking like I blew in on some oak leaf.  Boho-Chic is wild and flowy and free — something my size, wallet, and creativity can handle.

And  I mean — Fringes! Shawls! Beads!  What perfect timing! I really don’t like any of my clothes; too tight, too conservative. I’m tired of curling and fussing with my hair, and I’m too flighty to have to match shirts and pants all the time. My favorite place to shop is second hand stores. So why can’t I start adding shawls and beading and mish-mash accessories to my every day wardrobe? I love embroidery and vests and skirts, and have been known to sit and sew beadery around necks of tops and loungewear. I love sparkly jewelry, and now that I’m older I don’t have to worry if it goes with the outfit. I have been looking for the day where the blue in my shirt doesn’t have to match the blue in my pants, and the liberating thought of wearing two different patterns — oh my word! Dare I dream?

You have to understand that the first two-thirds of my life were pretty conservative. No…boring. Vanilla. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But I do so love jewelry and skirts and shawls and sparkles. I just haven’t felt secure about myself to wear those things until right now. I have always been afraid to experiment, to be myself. Now that I’m getting older I really don’t care if I fit in with everyone else. If I don’t slip out of the box now, when will I do it?

But the thing that sealed the deal on my current Boho-Chic thing was watching American Horror Story-Coven the other night. I saw the queen of the gypsies, the gravelly voiced Stevie Nicks sing and swirl around in her beautiful flowered shawl, and I decided — I want to be her. She is 65 and still going strong. Go Your Own Way, as the song goes. Maybe I’m a few pounds heavier, and don’t have the styled hair or the great voice, but I sure can twirl in a shawl.

Let’s get bohoing!