Maybe you’ve been there – a new costumer at your first dress-up event. You are so enthusiastic you didn’t even sleep much last night. (Either because you were too excited or you were finishing your costume… just like the rest of us.)
But then you experience the horrible occurrence of someone telling you – to your face – that your costume is all wrong. It’s completely the wrong fabric (or color) or that “they” would never have worn such a thing “back then.”
How would you deal with such a thing?
A kick that like will ruin anyone’s event experience. I sure hope it hasn’t happened to you.
But it *does* happen. A lot more than we’d all like. And not all to people’s faces. Sometimes it happens in small groups of those who have been in the hobby longer, or been sewing longer, or simply been researching longer. Chatter and gossip about someone else’s apparel.
Perhaps you’re like me, a recovering Costume N*zi. I’m horrified that at one time I would discuss others’ outfits as if I knew all the answers. Because I don’t. No one does.
The knowledge of my actions came to me just a few years ago when a friend pointed out that I had said something to her at HER first Victorian event years before when I commented on her purchased bustle dress. I liked the dress but apparently my comment/question came out scathing rather than complimentary. She told me it almost made her not continue in historical costuming.
Or rather… oops. I was caught in my unknown, know-it-all actions.
She and I discussed what went on and how we’ve changed. She is a brilliant costumer that can pull things together that I couldn’t even dream of. I admire her skill. But I also remember that my careless comment could have halted her natural talent.
What a weight to bear…. And then to forgive.
Be careful in how you analyze costumes made & worn by others. Your thoughts & words speak volumes in how you treat them. Don’t judge or belittle.
Try to find ONE good thing about their ensemble and TELL THEM. It may just be all they hear that’s good that day. It may be the particular word they need to keep pursuing this wonderful hobby.
Remember that everyone – you, me, your newbie costuming friend, the guy you met at the Steampunk convention, the darling of the Civil War ball – we are all on varied paths in our pursuit of historical costuming. It’s not about the destination but the journey.
My goal of making something beautiful to match my eyes may not be yours that is to hand sew every stitch. That’s ok! We shouldn’t have the same path marked out. Variety allows us to learn from each other and pass the torch to the next generation.
That’s what it’s all about. Keep it going.
So be kind. You wouldn’t want the same critical words you think or speak directed back to yourself. Speak uplifting encouragement whenever in costume. Those newbies – they know something you don’t. Their knowledge could rock your world.
Cheers my friends!
xo ~ Jennifer