Sunday, October 4, 2015

Inside the Mind of Adult Dress-up

Sugar Plum, Ginger LeSnapps, and Sassy Frass as The Sanderson Sisters.
Costumes by Mlady's Coutorier

Yesterday I had a different friend help me at an event. This was her first time with me out in my world. A couple of hours in, she commented that I really knew how to "work the people" and get them interested. I told her, "I really don't. It's all The Sewing Wench."
You see, as my friends will tell you, I'm naturally a very shy person. Almost afraid of my own shadow shy. My mom made my doctor appointments until I was 28, shy. But The Sewing Wench, she's not the least bit shy, after all she makes all of her money on you buying her wares.

When I go to events, I always dress as The Sewing Wench, whether it is a full costume, a pair of wrap pants, or a corset with jeans, if I'm going to a place where I know there is potential for people to be interested in what I do, I will dress as The Sewing Wench dresses. And it is the simple act of dressing the part that makes me so out going and feel safe to talk to people. People make me nervous, crowds are draining, and when an event is over and I get undressed and into regular clothes, I feel as if the life force has been sucked out of me.

Sophie the Washer Wench with The Sewing Wench at Ohio  Renaissance Festival
Becoming The Sewing Wench allows me to forget my fears. I don't fear rejection, I don't fear strangers, I don't even fear people thinking I look stupid, or I'm making an ass of myself. She can do and say things that I would normally have that little voice in my head going, "what if some one laughs at you?" or "what if they say no?" The Sewing Wench doesn't even have these thoughts pop into her head. Dress as a sheep at a dog and cat rescue event and walk up to people saying "baaaa"? Doesn't even bat an eye. And you know what? I had so much fun doing it. 

This is one of the things with all of these adults you see playing dress up. A lot of them are socially awkward, have some sort of social phobia/anxiety, and/or have been social outcasts in their lives. Pretending to be some one else for a while allows them to do things that that little voice in their head would normally scare them out of doing. When people interact with their character, they get to experience the world in a way that they may not normally get to do, for one reason or another. 

It really is no different than how you feel with you go from everyday clothes to work clothes, or party clothes, or dressy clothes. What you wear can change your whole attitude for the day/evening. You may say, "oh I'm always the same person," but your language changes, your posture changes or in some cases your attitude may even change based on where you are going, what you are doing and in turn what you are wearing. 

This is also why I love getting women in to proper fitting corsets. You can see their personality change right before your eyes. The corset forces them to stand taller, it forces your back to be straighter, this in turn causes you to keep your head elevated. You look more confident, so people treat you as if you are more confident, and this in turn gives you confidence. It really is a beautiful thing. 

All of this is my experience only. I'm not even sure if there have been scientific studies on the relationship between how one dresses and how one's confidence/attitude changes. It would be an interesting study to conduct. Most of this is stuff that goes on in my own head when I get dressed up, or what I've personally witnessed. So while I can't claim scientific fact, my hunch is I'm on to something with this, and I hope it helps you to understand a bit better why I may have flirted with you at the burlesque show for 20 minutes, but I have no idea who you are when you see me at the grocery store 3 weeks later.

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