Put Some Character In Your Wardrobe: Dress Like Your Faves

Holly Rose Swinyard

Today a friend of mine told me “I like your boots, they remind me of Sherlock Holmes.” I was properly chuffed. This had been my thought process when I bought them: “It’s a cool look” swiftly followed the Holmes statement. It was rather gratifying to have someone say it out loud though. I mean, I knew it was a cool look; I was merely waiting for the rest of the world to catch up with me.

Doc martens, holly swinyard, 2017
Cherry red DMs, perfect for solving crimes

My wardrobe is almost, wait, no, entirely made up of clothes that I think make me look like characters I love. It’s possible that it’s an offshoot of being a cosplayer, that I go into a shop to get a new pair of jeans and instead see the odd, tweed trousers with quilted knees and go “I’d look like the Doctor in those” (Not any particular Doctor, just a feel of the a time travelling buccaneer, in case you’re wondering). I have no regrets in my choice of clothes. I like looking like I’ve walked out of a time machine; it’s fun. And I know that I’m not the only person to do it.

Other last few years there has been a surge of art and designs for fashion based on characters; the most successful of these being The Disneybound. Disney have a rule that says you aren’t allowed to enter their parks in a costume unless you are a member the Disney cast, or a child. There is a certain economic logic and reasoning behind this, but still, people were miffed, and started working out ways to scupper the rules. Cue the blog “The Disneybound.” They started designing and making outfits that looked like Disney characters but still conformed to the “no costumes” rule — and it went nuts, to the point that Disney encourage it and there are meet-ups in the parks, as well as events like “Dapper Day.” It’s not exactly a new idea but Disneybounding has caught the imagination of the general public as well as just nerds like me.

Dress like Ariel
Ariel Disneybound

Okay, okay, I hear you– what if you aren’t into Disney? Fear not! There are plenty of blogs dedicated to building your nerdy wardrobe, for those who want to go further that just owning a few Batman shirts or a Gryffindor scarf. Actual, serious advice on how to put together outfits that look like characters. The White Hot Room is a personal favourite of mine. The girls are absolutely on point with their outfits and the biggest nerds you will ever meet.

The Force Awakens Dress

For those of you who like to wear your fandom on your arm, I promise that somewhere you will find clothing inspired by it. Her Universe have excelled in this department, producing dresses, jackets and many other items inspired by Star Wars, The Avengers, Studio Ghibli, Harry Potter and are always producing new ranges of nerd centric clothing. Hot Topic have also followed this trend, and it’s becoming more and more main stream, you can even buy a Hogwarts varsity jacket in Primark. What a time to be a nerd, eh?

This brings me back round to my own clothing choices. As I mentioned above, I like to spot clothes that make me feel like a character. They don’t necessarily have to look like something that character has worn; they do have to have the feel of something that they could wear. There is a reason for this. I have body and gender dysphoria. (Sorry guys, this bits going to be a little less fun, but push on through.) I struggle with my outward appearance and presentation is very important to me. When I first started dealing with these problems, I found that picking clothes that made me look like a character I admired or looked up to made me more confident. I felt I could be stronger and face the day ahead of me. If I dress like Tintin or Bilbo Baggins or Klaus Baudelaire it helps me connect to the personalities and strengths of those characters. If I have items of clothes that I knew I can put on that would help me get into that mindset so I can walk out the door, then everything could be okay.

It’s strange, the power you can get from putting on clothes; it’s armour, a costume, a mask, but eventually it becomes part of who you are. I wouldn’t be able to go back to dressing “normal” now; it would take away a huge chunk of my personality, my personal strength. It’s got to the point that my friends can tell I’m having a truly awful day if I’m wearing jeans and hoody.

Dress like newt scamander, Hunting for Fairies, holly swinyard, 2017
Outfit dubbed “Young Newt Scamander” by my friends

I honestly think that whether you have serious issues or are just looking for a way to be yourself, your clothes can make that happen. So wear the Sherlock Holmes boots. It’s more fun if you do.

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