I’m pretty vacant right now. I’ve just spent the past three hours immersed in a world of imagination, potential and the constant reminder of my own sartorial failings. My first mistake was not having a strong predetermined idea before I went. My second was going on my own. I love Halloween. I love dressing up. I’m terrible on a visually conceptual level, putting errant bits together into a greater whole. I can come up with ideas and have precious little follow up on how to action them. One of my main issues is not knowing whether or not something could come in handy another time, if I can’t see an easy use for it, I put it back. The catch being that I can rarely see an easy use for anything, because I don’t see uses for clothing easily. If I was looking for the ideal place to find my next dress-up, a room of racks-on-racks-on-racks of theatrical costuming elements and accessories wouldn’t be it.
Nonetheless I persevered through overwhelming amounts of fabric. There was a fill-a-bag sale from 8pm to midnight. I got there shortly after 8.30pm and left shortly before closing. Analysis paralysis soon settled in and I couldn’t decide how to focus. The majority of the fun costumes were intended for female identifying persons. This wasn’t a barrier ideologically, but rather of physical logistics. In short, I’ve got hips and a chest that aren’t the normal hips and chest required of female costumes. I had one fall back idea going in which I won’t say yet. I think it’s pretty sorted, just one or two elements left to add. Fingers crossed. At first I scoped around the place looking for random pieces that may aid future endeavours. I nabbed a tailcoat, since it fit pretty well. A big pair of black denim overalls. Who knows when I’ll be some kind of mechanic or assorted tradesman? A brown trench coat, in case I ever yearn for a film noir or exhibitionist get up. Some leather-ish rocker pants, which also have holsters attached to the bottom for no reason I can fathom. I also dug into the typical “sexy” costumes to find something for my girlfriend. Y’know, for emergency dress up situations? It wasn’t a nurse, cop, devil, genie, bumblebee, pirate, gangster or fairy though. I’ll tell you that much.
There was one costume I’d always wanted to put together. I’ve got some elements that suffice for the moment, but I’ll build it up over time. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve adored medieval stuff. Knights, dragons, magic, swordplay. I got into the tales of King Arthur in a big way age eight, which informed my reading habits for maybe the next ten years. With even the hint of dressing as a night, my ears perk up and eyes widen. There were hints everywhere in the store. Tricky thing was that they were scattered. Bits and pieces of armour, but non-matching. I couldn’t find a coherent set and I was gutted. They even had decent metal swords, but for a price. I asked one of the staff for help and he fished out a neat tabard. Okay, it’s a start. We found an ideal belt, grabbed a little plastic sword I could wear at my hip. Excellent. Any armour we found was too bulky and generally unsuitable. I had my heart set on some kind of helmet, but everything was more German military than medieval. Scored a pair of super shoddy “mesh” boots that were falling apart. They’d be good for one use, I was sure. Still, the staff member reasoned, if I wore some kind of black or grey long sleeved shirt underneath, maybe some leggings, I’d look the part. The helmet I could keep on my wish list.
Is this what they call “chasing the dragon”?