Today Gail climbs onto the proverbial soap box and blogs about something evil, something so base and vile, that you may, just possibly, wish to stop reading right this very moment.
She may offend you.
She is not holding back.
Still reading? Right, here goes.
This is something I believe in, possibly more than anything else, Gentle Reader. So I am going to take the plunge. This is a highly embarrassing topic that everyone seems afraid to broach. Well, I have the courage. Someone must be strong, and I am that person. Yes, we are going to talk about . . . Appropriate Dress.
Let me start this off by listing some inappropriate dress for a convention, mixer, signing, event, party, rout, etc.
* Sweat pants
* Track pants/gym clothing
* T-shirts with offensive slogans (in fact t-shirts with slogans period I would strike down if you are over the age of 30, but I don’t think the SF/F community could cope with the great black void this would leave behind)
* PJs or anything that looks like PJs (for The Love, people!)
* Any article of clothing that has a hole that is not an arm hole, a leg hole, or a head hole
* Similarly, anything that is fraying, pilling, warn through, or sporting any kind of remnant of any kind of food
* Dirty shoes
* An untended beard
* Unwashed hair
I don’t care how alternative you think you are. How much a slacker. What counter-culture you believe you represent. You are none of these things.
You are a slob.
You are disrespecting the authors and presenters (if you’re a fan) and the fans (if you’re an author), not to mention all the other important individuals who have arranged for and attended the event (con organizers, editors, agents, producers, actors). Most importantly, you are shaming yourself and the SF/F industry as a whole. Yes you are. Suck. It. Up.
If you aren’t suitable to be seen in public, than you shouldn’t be in public. Go back, take a shower, take a nap, put on clean respectable clothing.
What sparked this rant, Ms. Carriger?
You might well ask. I was watching a (unnamed, to protect the guilty) video blog of some SF/F convention footage, featuring, I am sad to say, mainly authors. And I was ashamed. Ashamed, I tell you.
Please, let me explain something. Style is not hard. No matter what your shape or income level. All it takes is a tiny bit of time and effort. You can make it hard. I, for example, like a challenge. So do the Goths and the steampunkers out there. But it really doesn’t have to be difficult. And, as the person who spots the problem (namely, me) is responsible for its solution, here are some tips:
* Look around and find someone who’s about your shape and whose style you like. At a convention, in particular, this can work well because people are disposed to be friendly. Go up to them and ask politely where they shop, and how they put together their look. People, in general, love to talk about themselves and will be delighted to tell you.
* Invest in a few good pieces that you can pull out for public appearances in particular: a really nice pair of jeans, some basic black t-shirts, perhaps a sports jacket or a little fitted blazer. Ladies, never discount the inherent joy in one really nice day dress. It is far more important to spend money on basics than on the tux or the uber-fancy gown that you maybe wear once a year.
* You can do quirky, but try to confine it to accessories: hats, watches, jewelry, belts, belt buckles, and the like. Trust me, the people who do head-to-toe quirky put a lot of effort into it, you might want to ease in slowly.
* You have two choices: you can fit in, or you can stand out. You don’t want to fall to the wayside. If you are wearing inappropriate dress you will be dismissed. We are a superficial culture. Most cultures are. Appearance is important. No, don’t argue, it just is. There is no point in fighting this one; 34,000 years of clothing evolution is not something you can muscle down with one pair of ratty sweatpants. Besides, you and I both know the truth of it. You’re just being lazy.
* At a SF/F convention, to fit in, you wear jeans or BTUs, boots or sneakers, and a t-shirt with a nice graphic logo. This is very boring, but so long as it’s clean, at least you don’t look like a homeless person. Cheap corsets and old leather jackets are also known to make all-to-frequent appearances.
* At a convention, to stand out, you can do any or all of the following: go Goth, go vintage, wear a suit, were a nice jacket over your jeans and t-shirt, actually investigate the current trends an go fashionable (this one is hard), go hippy-dippy, go frat/sorority, and/or wear color (there’s an awful lot of black).
Right. So. There it is. Read it and shop!
“Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.”
~ Oscar Wilde
New York Times Bestselling author Gail Carriger began writing in order to cope with being raised in obscurity by an expatriate Brit and an incurable curmudgeon. She escaped small town life and inadvertently acquired several degrees in Higher Learning. Ms. Carriger then traveled the historic cities of Europe, subsisting entirely on biscuits secreted in her handbag. She now resides in the Colonies, surrounded by fantastic shoes, where she insists on tea imported directly from London. She is fond of teeny tiny hats and tropical fruit. The Parasol Protectorate books are: Soulless (Oct. 2009), Changeless (March 2010), Blameless (Sept. 2010), Heartless (2011), and Timeless (2012). Soulless won the ALA’s Alex Award. She is nominated for this year’s Campbell award.
Gail will be appearing at AussieCon 4 in Melbourne in September 2010.