It’s Fandom Week and it has been one of my very favorites, mostly because I was joined by Sara, my good friend and fellow fashion enthusiast! If you ever have something fashiony that you want to try, but are self-conscious or nervous about it, ask a friend to try it with you. It’s twice as much fun and if the outfit totally doesn’t work, you can laugh about it together. Having Sara along for the ride gave me the confidence to push my own ideas a little farther and enjoy the whole process even more.
For all of you wondering what “fandom dressing” is all about, it’s creating an outfit inspired by a fictional character. These are real outfits that you can wear all day – not costumes. It’s a creative outlet, a cool way to get clothes inspiration, and a way to show that you are a fan! I’ve been wanting to try it for a while and I’m so glad I got the chance this week.
Day 1: Mortimer Dalrymple
This was kind of a bonus day, because it was Memorial Day. The sun was shining, the pace slowed down, and this sleepy little town reminded me of one of my favorite books – The Mad Scientists’ Club by Bertrand R. Brinley. It’s set in a tiny town in the late 1950s / early 1960s and stars a bunch of middle-school boys who love science (and mainly use their brainpower to cause some mayhem).
Mortimer Dalrymple is in charge of electronics and making sarcastic comments. One of my very favorites is when the club has rigged up an old house to make it seem haunted and then they hear that the sheriff is coming out to check it out. “”I don’t wanna do my ghost act,” said Mortimer Dalrymple. “I might get arrested for having no visible means of support.””
So with the air smelling like summer adventures, I wore rolled-up jeans, beat up sneakers, a plaid button down shirt, and a straw fedora with the brim flipped up. It made me want to make a sea monster or figure out how to make a mannequin fly or haunt a house (and it really made me want to read all of those stories again). When life slows down in the summer, it’s time to get busy!
Day 2: Tiffany Aching and Kiki
Day 2: Tiffany Aching (from The Wee Free Men)
Here’s a description of Tiffany Aching’s clothes from Terry Pratchett’s The Wee Free Men: “Start with the boots. They are big and heavy boots, much repaired by her father, and they belonged to various sisters before her; she wears several pairs of socks to keep them on. They are big. Tiffany sometimes feels she is nothing more than a way of moving boots around. Then there is the dress. It has been owned by many sisters as well and has been taken up, taken out, taken down, and taken in by her mother so many times that it really out to have been taken away. But Tiffany rather likes it. It comes down to her ankles and, whatever color it had been to start with, is now a milky blue that is, incidentally, exactly the same color as the butterflies skittering beside the path.”
Tiffany Aching is a great character – she reads through the dictionary (because nobody tells her that you aren’t supposed to), she is overly precise, makes excellent cheese, and invades Fairyland armed only with a frying pan. And she leads an army of 6-inch-high blue warriors. Tiffany is a force to be reckoned with.
I was able to keep it simple for this one – when I read the description, it reminded me so much of my faded blue maxi dress that the dress was basically all I needed. I just had to add boots!
Day 2: Kiki (from Kiki’s Delivery Service)
[Note: I didn’t have to write descriptions for Sara’s outfits, because Sara kindly wrote down some notes on her outfit-picking process.]
Sara: “I love the look, feel, and storytelling style of any Studio Ghibli film. I chose Kiki because she has a very simple, but iconic look: swing dress, orange flats, big red bow (and a broom, which I left out for practical reasons).
I started with a simple navy swing dress, then chose a nautically-patterned red scarf (a nod to the seaside town she lives in) and tied it in a giant bow on my head. This is something that I did *all the time* in college, but it’s been a few years and I did feel very young and a little self-conscious at first.
I debated about what shoes to finish the outfit with. I have a pair of red flats that would have worked, but the silhouette of the dress paired with the giant bow felt very young and I work in an office. I opted instead for this great pair of orange wedge sandals I thrifted brand new for 50 cents last week. They stay true to the color of Kiki’s shoes while elevating (literally) the outfit a bit.”
Day 3: Princess Leia
Sara: “I quite enjoy Leia. She’s a strong woman without falling into the trap of being a Strong Female Character (the type where you can just hear the capital letters thunking into place). Yes, she’s a princess. Yes, she needs rescuing. But once she is rescued she’s resourceful and brave without feeling the need to prove that she’s as good as a boy. She’s secure in who she is.
I knew that this outfit was going to be a little less on the nose than Kiki’s outfit as I do not own a flowy white space dress, and was not planning on putting cinnamon buns on my ears. Day 1 was almost a costume, day 2 was an homage. The heart of Leia’s style (at least in A New Hope) is that she wears all white and space buns. I chose a white dress and knotted a slightly oversized button-up over it.
Leia is a combination of hard and soft and the lace dress with the slightly masculine sleeves-rolled-up shirt struck that balance. I paired it with white leather oxfords with a platform that makes them feel future-y/space-y, and finished off the outfit with space buns and teensy planet earrings.”
Day 3: Peggy Carter (from Marvel’s Captain America and Agent Carter)
She’s tough, kind, beautiful, funny – it’s no wonder Peggy Carter got her own spin off show after the first Captain America movie. In the movie, she mainly wears a uniform, but in the show, she fights evil in beautifully bright dresses and tailored separates. She makes running in heels look easy. I’m not just a fan of Peggy – I’m a fan of the whole look of the show and the costume design in particular. She takes on Captain America’s fight after he’s gone and she takes on his superhero colors as well – she starts wearing blue and red, and it’s such a cool visual storytelling move.
The blue and red are iconic, so I wanted to go for it, but I didn’t want to go too bold and primary. Bright blue and bright red run into costume territory really fast. I went for navy blue with a dark red belt, then topped it with a tailored blazer and peep toe shoes in neutral colors. I loved this outfit. Put-together, feminine, bold, and classic all at the same time.
Curled my hair a little bit, pinned up one side, and added red lipstick for a low maintenance version of a classic 1940s look. It’s an everyday glamour – we’ve lost a bit of that in our very casual culture. It was fun to bring it back in a modern way!
Day 4: Miss Frizzle and Nausicaa
Day 4: Miss Frizzle (from The Magic Schoolbus)
Sara: “Miss Frizzle – it’s difficult to think of a woman more fearless or iconic when it comes to fashion (and taking large groups of children into terrible danger). I am a lady who likes her statement jewelry, statement prints, statements shoes, etc. I like statements. So I definitely feel Miss Frizzle on a deeper level.
She will take a theme and run with it all the way and I knew I had to do the same. I started with this great red and white striped dress that is covered with hummingbirds, paired it with my camel wool blazer as it was chilly that day, and added red and navy patterned heels (be fearless). I knew the real make or break was going to be the details. I added these great glass earrings I thrifted as well as a thrifted bird brooch and then teased my hair into a big bun at the top of my head for the finishing touch.”
Day 4: Princess Nausicaa (from Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind)
This was my Miyazaki day and I drew inspiration from Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. Princess Nausicaa flies a glider, tames giant insects, and sacrifices herself for her people after her father, the king, is murdered. She’s tough. She has to be. But even with all she goes through, she never loses her sweet, joyful nature and her love just increases.
When she flies, Nausicaa wears a blue tunic, white leggings, boots (with shin guards), gloves, goggles, and a gas mask. I went for a less on-the-nose look, because that’s a whole lot of crazy (especially for work). I went for a blue tunic top, white pants, and ankle boots. I’ll readily admit that Nausicaa’s boots make me want over the knee boots….and a glider to fly.
I put on some eyeliner for that Japanese anime look, and borrowed some crazy bug earrings from Sara (because Nausicaa can tame giant insects). This look made me happy. One of the things I love about fandom dressing is that it really is the thought that counts. It’s the thrill of having a secret. Nobody else had to know that my clothes were inspired by Nausicaa, but I knew it, and that knowledge gave me a happy little glow inside.
Day 5: Jose Carioca and Indiana Jones
Day 5: Jose Carioca (from The Three Caballeros)
For the last day, I knew I wanted to do a Disney character, because Disney is one of the biggest influences in fandom dressing. (If you look up Disneybound on Pinterest, you’ll find thousands of outfits that fans have put together.) It was kind of tough to figure out which character to do, because there are so many options! I was considering Maid Marion, Peter Pan, Wendy, Miss Bianca, Edna Mode, Lilo, Meg (from Hercules)…..then I remembered one of my very favorite Disney characters. His name is Jose Carioca. He’s a very dapper Brazilian parrot from Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros. They are pretty crazy – imagine Fantasia mixed with a travelogue from an epic trip through South and Central America.
Jose speaks Portuguese most of the time, moves to the rhythm of the samba, and teaches Donald Duck about Brazil. He’s just the coolest. He’s a green parrot, so I chose green skinny trousers. He wears a yellow jacket, a white shirt, a bow tie, spats, and a boater hat and he always carries an umbrella. The overall affect is extremely dapper, so I gave a nod to that with oxford shoes, a black hat, and a mock bow tie. I wanted the whole outfit to look cool and effortless, so I substituted a striped tee for the collared shirt and then tossed on a chartreuse cardigan instead of a structured jacket.
This one is probably my favorite. I’ve always loved Jose’s dapper tropical look and his effortlessly cool attitude and his accent and how he lives his life to a samba rhythm. Some outfits make confidence easy. This is one of them.
Day 5: Indiana Jones
Sara: “I knew for the last day that I wanted to wear pants. Therefore, I chose Indiana Jones (there were other considerations as well, I suppose). This one was super fun to put together, and again, I loved thinking of the details. The base was simple with tan pants and a safari-esque shirt. The hat was a given and I borrowed the leather jacket from Ashley (although full disclosure, I didn’t really wear it much as it was quite hot that day).
To finish off the outfit I added my life-size gold cicada earrings (which Ashley wore for her Nausicaa outfit) and the crowning touch was my snakeskin shoes (“Snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes?”). All in all it was a super fun week and I haven’t been this excited about getting dressed in a long time. Thanks for having me along, Ash!”
Thanks for joining me, Sara! You made this week fantastic and you looked fabulous every day.
Thanks for reading, everybody! If you have any ideas for me to try, please leave me a comment.