One of my favorite aspects of blogging is how many new things I learn from my fellow bloggers: history, book recommendations, recipes, philosophy, etc.
This week, I was introduced to the term, “cosplay”, which has been in use for over a decade but had not blipped across my radar. For anyone else unfamiliar with this word, it’s an amalgam of costume + play, and is defined as the practice of dressing up as a fictional character from a comic book, movie, book, TV show or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga and anime. For some, their alter egos may emerge only at conventions; others dress up whenever the mood strikes, which may include sometimes dressing as men and sometimes as women.
Reading about this, I wondered: Don’t all of us, to some degree or another, “dress up” for our forays into the wider world? We sheathe ourselves in the armor of a well-fitting suit, feel braver, and do daily battle in the role of “successful businessman” or “boss”. We wear designer clothes and appear richer than we might really be. Some of us are drawn to clothes from our youth, such as bohemian styles that telegraph: Yes, I may work in a corporate job but I’m basically funky.
My own natural inclination is a “uniform” of jeans and a silk shirt or cashmere sweater. I gravitate towards scarves and accessories that make me feel pulled together at even the most casual gathering. Put me in a dress or skirt and I’ll never feel 100% like “me”. And at heart I’ll always be a New Yorker, so black is my favorite color. The occasional bright or pastel I wear probably has some element of role-play attached to it.
I’ve now lived in Texas nearly ten years — who’d-a-thunk-it?!– but I would definitely be cosplaying if I pulled on cowboy boots, even if I looked like everyone around me.
How about you? Does your outside match your authentic self? Does it vary? Please share!