Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Playing Dress-Up

You may ask, why does a 50-year-old woman want to dress up as the Monkey King?  Or as a Chinese swordswoman or an elf or a wizard, for that matter?  (Yes, I've done the other three.) 

There are a lot of things we're allowed to do as children that are considered inappropriate - or just plain weird - if you do them as an adult.  Playing dress-up is one of them. For some reason it's only acceptable on Halloween.  If you dress up as Link from the Zelda games at any other time, people will think you're peculiar or even mentally disturbed.  I don't know why that should be thought a sign of mental instability. Mentally ill people don't dress up in carefully assembled recreation costumes, they put on their entire wardrobe all at once. If a person with a mental disorder actually believes he is Link from the Zelda games, he'll probably still believe it when he's wearing a plastic bag overcoat.  He doesn't need a Link costume to support his delusion.

Wearing a costume is no different than wearing a sports uniform, or an evening gown.  I don't play sports or attend events for which evening gowns are requisite attire, and when I do wear something outside my ordinary wardrobe I prefer it be indicative of my other interests.  So I attend science fiction conventions and dress up as elves and wizards and kung fu heroines.  I have tremendous admiration for people who hand-make elaborate recreations of movie, tv and comic book costumes.  I also envy them enormously.  I don't sew, and my crafting skills are limited.  So I generally buy other peoples' products and use what little skill I have in assembling them into a costume that makes me happy. 

I have friends who are crafty and sewy (sic), but unfortunately they're also either too busy or too far away, so I guess I'll have to come up with my Monkey King outfit on my own. 
Starting at the top, here are some of my ideas for the costume:
I could see myself in this shirt, in the golden-yellow color with the xiangyun design in red:
Cloud shirt
 I like the cloud design.  Monkey travels on a flying cloud, so the design would make reference to that.

Then I need some trousers.  Perhaps these will do, probably in the firebrick red brocade:
brocade pants

I'll need some shoes, too.  Luckily the same site also has some shoes with a cloud motif:
Cloud shoes

I'd like to get some of the socks and leg wraps the site offers, but I'm worried they won't be big enough to fit around my fat Western calves.  As an alternative to the shoes, I could purchase some of these boots:
Chinese cloth boots
I wish I'd known about the boots when I developed my wuxia heroine costume.  Oh, well; black would have been pretty harsh against the powder blue pants. wuxia swordswoman costume

Now I've just got to figure out the jingubang, and his circlet.  I've been conemplating a toned-down version of the phoenix-plume headress he's often shown wearing.  I have a friend who's recently gotten into making mini-hats.  Maybe we can work something out together.  That would be fun.

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