Friday, January 27, 2012

Glamour in the New World Order: We Are Who We Pretend to Be so We Must Be Careful Who We Pretend to Be

"We must dress well, or the future
will not take us seriously." - CMV
 Glamour can be a tricksy thing, I find.  On one hand, Jason is correct.  If you're interviewing for jobs in corporate America, you should be wearing a suit.  You all know how I feel about what to wear at a funeral.

But we diverge somewhat.  Because I do believe what you wear is part of who you are.  If you don't like that thought process, you're not going to like the rest of this entry either.  It's cool, we don't need to be in perfect Stepford agreement here.

More than that, it's part of your magic.  I've worn suits for work, trying to dress like my boss to get promoted.  It didn't work, I just felt like I was in drag all the time.  When I stopped giving a shit about impressing people at my work place and just wanted to do my job correctly and not get fired and frankly stopped caring past getting a paycheck, that's when the tide turned for me.  If conventional wisdom worked all the time, we'd all be CEOs of green Pagan multimillion dollar corporations, n'est-ce pas?

But yeah, when I played Nine Inch Nails in my cube and walked with purpose down the hall in heeled combat boots with sparkly laces, that's when I got promoted.  I would have kept getting promoted if I stayed but it was crushing me, living in a cube.

2012 is a year of starstorms.  I, like Gordon, invite you to think past just dressing like your boss.  You need to dress like you.  Your best you.  I invite you to start your own personal revolution.  That's what this Experiment is supposed to be about, right?  Stop coloring in the lines and worrying about being a good worker bee and start getting concerned about burning down the establishment your damn self and making shit happen for yourself.

You know what I'm supposed to be doing?  I was supposed to get another Executive Assistant job when my last company died and keep my shoulder to the wheel and keep doing what I was doing.

If you always do what you've always done, You.  Always.  Get.  What.  You've.  Always.  Gotten.  That's not what this Experiment is about.  It's about busting shit up and getting shit done.  I diverged off the path I was supposed to be on and I'm happier for it.  I make as much money as I was making as an Exec Assistant as a nanny.  A nanny.  Where I sing songs and have two to three hours of nap times a day and no direct supervision at all.  And when they don't nap anymore?  That's when I get a new fucking family.  That's how this works, every four years or so, I reset the clock and get new infants.  I've managed to turn a profit at almost every show I did for my first year out as a crafter.

I'm published all over the place in all kinds of things because I was preparing myself for the way publishing used to work.  It's great exposure and a little bit of money, but that's not what I'm doing when I write my first short book.   Who do I want to be?  Do I want to be like every indie artist trying to get a record deal for them to possibly just fire my ass when they don't like my numbers or the way I dress or that I cuss too much or do I want to be fucking Ani Difranco?

Ani Difranco, kids.

What does this have to do with glamour?  Well, while you're burning down your old ideas of how the world was supposed to work and drinking St. Germain in your pajamas at home in this new world order, you need to get to thinking about how you want to present the apres global meltdown you to yourself and others.  Glamour is magic.  A part of it is the magic of trappings, something that some Pagans and Geeks disdain in equal measures.  But not all Pagans and not all Geeks.  After all, SalonCon never would have happened if there weren't Geeks who dreamed of tea and corsets like I do.

There's a kind of Geek/Pagan privilege that  is rooted though not exclusively, predominantly in straight white middle class guys who think they shouldn't have to care about how they present themselves to the world, the gift of being their special snowflake selves should be enough for the world and if they never want to "get dressed up" for a girlfriend/a job/a wedding, they shouldn't have to.

I think you should want more for yourselves than that though because you're missing out.   SalonCon never required people to dress in suits and corsets with poofy skirts (though there were people who did), it was always about wearing what made you feel awesome and turned people's heads.

I've helped some of my more fashionably challenged friends to dress and groom themselves to be the best them that they could be.  I asked what they didn't like and why they didn't like it, what kind of budget they had and encouraged them to test their boundaries a little and helped them pick clothes that's not just appropriate to age/venue/etc but also appropriate to their own sense of style.  The transformation was always inevitably, well, like magic.

Use that knowledge.  Know yourself well enough to figure out your own sense of style while still being age and venue appropriate.  You won't get it right the first time and that's okay.  I didn't.  When I ran SalonCon I had this weird quasi-split personality where I'd have several people at once doing my hair, make up, nails and lacing me into corsets and difficult shoes so I presented myself as someone leading a convention about aesthetic should be presenting herself.  The rest of my life?  Hair in pony tail, yoga pants, t shirt and Uggs.  Did I feel my best in my day to day life?  No.  I did not.  I had such whiplash going from one extreme to another with the added stress of no longer being able to dress like a teenager/early twentysomething I didn't know what the fuck to do with myself.

I knew what looked good when I was 20, it was harder for me to figure out what looked good (and appropriate) once I got past the age of 25.   When my mom or my boss wanted to give input on what I should wear, it always felt kind of like wearing drag.  All that time being too disspirited to try to figure out didn't just affect my self esteem, it affected my magic because I felt out of step with myself.  I worked hard to figure out what looked good, was reasonably age appropriate and still felt like me.  That's part of the trick too, figuring out what the "rules" are for you and your life and then figuring out just how far you can bend them before they break.  It will be a work in progress as you age and your various life circumstances change but it's worth investing not just the time and money but the energy into.  The more energy you put into it, the more you'll be able to draw on your own personal glamoury in your magic.  Figure out what looks good on you and feels like you.  Figure out what makes you feel powerful about your appearance and use it, godsdamn it.  It's just one more facet to your magical self.


Gordon said...

You are crazy hot in all those photos.

But I can totes see a progression. In May we should totes dress age appropriate but act the opposite.

Gordon said...

Double use of "totes". Must stop speaking ironically with my flatmates before hitting these internets.

K. L. Gaffney said...

Are you reading my mind? ;) After hitting one essay too many attempting to police rather than suggest how people should dress outside of stuff like interviews, weddings, and funerals (which yeah, generally require a specific standard, unless stated otherwise), I had a back-of-my brain post brewing about presentation and identity/gender/race/industry stuff, (things I mostly filed under "shows of rank and affiliation,") and what that had to do with self and goals and how one size doesn't fit all. And well, my experiences with that sort of thing.

I cannot wait 'til I get to the prompt. =D

[This is nkyinkyin, btw. For some reason blogger is choking on openid tonight.]

Rose Weaver said...

Your timing on prompts is amazingly weird. LOL

Glamorizing Myself

Peeps said...

I'm stuck here reinventing this part of me again, and while it should be fantastic, I'm finding it hard. I hadn't really considered using magic on sorting this out... hmmm. Timely, as usual.

~ Mari said...

Figure out what makes you feel powerful about your appearance and use it, godsdamn it.

last summer i was buying t-shirts to go to a writer's convention; i always have to have witty shirts for those. so i was at wal-mart and saw a rainbow of Kool-Aid shirts. i thought they were hilarious. they're in the colors of the flavors and have the Kool-Aid face on them. i tried one on - the eyes and nose fit right over my bewbz, and the smile curves right around my big belly! it's hilarious! i got two "mountain berry blue" ones.

i figure, i have these enormous bewbz and this big belly, i may as well make them work for me!

Wendy.B said...

Tumbled in to your blog from, umm somewhere back there, matters not because I love what I am reading. At 51, I have done the "power dressing", the "what the hell was I thinking when I wore that" dressing,the "You have to wear this" dressing as well as the "skirt tucked into knickers, after using the restroom" dressing... and listening to my daughter, when she says "Mum your not to old to wear that"

petoskystone said...

While my dressing preferences have evolved (heh), the one area I have noticed as changing the most is a refusal to wear anything which hinders my movement: spike heels, hobble skirts, corsets ( is it that something which limits ones ability to *breathe* be considered sexy?), dress slacks.....

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