As a vintage-lover around Halloween, I sometimes feel like wearing a sign around my neck that reads "This is not a costume." It would save a lot of time and long, probing looks. But seriously, dressing myself this Halloweekend forced me to consider what makes vintage look costumey versus part of a well-balanced wardrobe.
I know all of the conventional wisdom about how to bring clothing from decades past into the present: choose classic silhouettes, style with modern pieces and accessories, keep your hairstyle and makeup current. But all of that seems limiting and honestly not very much fun. Some days, I actually like the idea of putting on a costume to face the world.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but on days when I am feeling a little down on myself, it really helps me to wear the most outrageously all-eyes-on-me outfit I can think of, like the fashion equivalent of power posing. Or on days when I am feeling a little sad, I might reach for a technicolor floral-print dress and pink tights to lift my spirits. Dress happy, feel happy. And I would be lying if I said I hadn't used theme dressing as a way to boost my enthusiasm about partaking in activities outside of my specific interests.
I guess what I am saying is, we all know that how we dress directly affects how others perceive us. But more importantly, how we dress can also profoundly affect how we perceive ourselves. I'm not talking about whether our clothes make us feel good about our bodies, although that never hurts. Rather, dressing can go beyond the flattering and functional to become aspirational. Just as Diana Prince trades her glasses and pencil skirt for a bustier and knee-high boots to become Wonder Woman, when I shed my sweats and slippers in favor of a 70s jumpsuit and blue fur coat, I feel like the superhero version of myself. After all, only a powerful, confident woman would wear that an outfit like that, right?