Monday, September 8, 2014

Principles of Epic Costuming: Chapter 6

Yup. I said it. Wear your costume out into a bland, hum-drum normal place. The bigger your costume, the better.  You have NO idea what kind of gift you are bestowing upon the world when you do this.

Let me address a few things. People always ask me "where would I wear this?" at festivals, and I always try my hardest to be civil and keep the sarcasm out of my answer.  I would like to state that most of us have been raised in a society that ultimately wants us to...uh...sit down and shut up. What does school teach you? Take the tests the same way as everyone else, learn at the same rate and the same speed with the same expectations, and if you don't, we'll give you a naughty grade and help you to define who you are and how you are limited!!!  The fact is, no one can define you and limit you except for yourself.

And yet, I have grown adults, women who are successful, smart, passionate, and superb, and yet they are still timidly asking ME "But, where would I wear this?" about the corsets. Some of you may say, "What the crap, Michelle, they are just asking a valid question. They don't want to get something that they won't wear."  I know that occasionally, the women are just genuinely wondering how  much use they'll get out of the corset, but I feel that 90% of the time, the REAL question is, "What if people don't accept me in this corset? What if people judge me for wearing this celebration of my body shape? What will people say?  What will they say behind my back? Who am I to be alluring and attractive?"

  It's so sad to me when I see this hesitation...this faltering, when the woman CLEARLY was enamored of herself initially when she tried on the corset. Most of my customers look into the mirror, see a woman they love and cherish and want to be, but then the habit of second-guessing comes in. No, ladies! No!!! Take that pride in yourself and let it transform you!!  I'm  not saying, "buy the damn corset", I'm saying, "Don't stop yourself mid-progress and start with the self-flagellation." I just want women to take the gift of loving themselves from my company, and let it be a "gift that keeps on giving".

I heard a quote that I really liked. It went something like "There are two things that mess us up. Our parents and High School."  *said tongue-in-cheek*   I seriously think that high school trains our brains to be so terrified of what "the other people" might think that we split ourselves in half, and go on living the half of ourself that is reserved, scared, apathetic, and caged.  We spend our lives trying to please people that we don't care about and that we might not even like. That sounds harsh, but I'm afraid it has some truth to it.

Wearing your costume out in public helps other people to confront their own fears and self-limitations. It allows others who see you to articulate things about themselves to their own brains. If they're offended, it gives them information about their experiences in life and their own prejudices. If they're exhilarated by the vision of you, it allows them to have hope that perhaps they might have more courage themselves. Once again, you are giving people a gift. When I am in Seattle and I see a handsome man striding proudly down the sidewalk in a kilt and a button-up shirt, I feel brightness, clarity, and hope for humanity. He gave me a gift.  Now, go out and give to others!!


  1. I wear my corsets to renfaires all around my region--from New York to Pennsylvania. Invariably, I have to make a "pit stop" either on the way to or from faire. Maybe it'll be a McDonald's or a gas station, but I strut in wherever I'm going, and LOVE these moments of wearing my garb in the Muggle world. Why wouldn't I? In my corset, I feel empowered; I feel kickass. I don't schlep around or shuffle through my existence when I have a corset on; I unleash my inner Mae West, and I sashay with every step. I RADIATE confidence, and sass, and good humor.
    "Hey, love your costume," someone at the opposite gas pump or behind me in the fast food line might comment.
    "Costume? What costume? I dress like this every day," I respond with a wink and a smile. What a great, fun way to meet people--like me or lump me, at least they noticed my inner light--and heck, they'll have a funny story to tell at their dinner tables that night!
    All of these things above are the reasons that whenever I email you, Michelle, I make sure to thank YOU for the work you do. You are giving your customers the gift of revealing their inner Wench with every stitch, every grommet.
    Never doubt that you are making a difference in how we think and act--not just how we look--and we look AMAZING, thanks to you! <3

  2. I totally work all my corsets into my "muggle wear", even if I'm just running to the grocery store briefly. It makes me smile to see people do a double take, but most of the time I get "Where did you GET that??" and then I hand out one of your cards. ;)

  3. I love wearing my corsets out and about! Heck, I wore one to a college class once. My posture was never better. XD
    And, seriously, the feeling of empowerment when you wear something that makes you feel like the genuine YOU, is intoxicating.

  4. My family is in the SCA...and we have gone to Wal-mart or other stores on many occasions in garb. Also lovingly referred to as "scaring the mundanes". I love your corset and plan on getting one very soon as my SCA group is pirates. :)

  5. I used this same philosophy with makeup, hair and clothes. But my anxiety has hit an all time high and I began being AFRAID of dressing up differently like I used to.

    I'd dress up, and then the world (inside my head) started saying that i'll be laughed at, that I'll be pushed, tossed food at, and other things, to the point I'd take off the makeup/clothes and start from scratch again.

    I'm slowly working color back into my makeup, I'm slowly working on my clothes, I know I shouldn't be afraid, but I am and I hate it.

  6. This is one of the major reasons I love Damsels and I love you Michelle. You have a genuine love of women and want us all to feel empowered and beautiful. Your company is more then a corset shop, it's a beacon of hope for those of us that have a hard time breaking out of the shell that the world wants to put us in. Keep up the work and know that you are loved and supported by your friends . . . I mean customers ;)!