Dressing up in Costumes is a Form of Personal Expression

By February 9, 2009 In the News No Comments

Ever since my childhood, I have been fascinated with playing dress up. It was always fun for me. I used to dress in some of grandmother’s old gowns and heavy pearl earrings, a large flowery hat and a long necklace. I pretended to be all grown up. I was no longer the little girl or child. No indeed. I was Aunt Mary or Betty Davis or Martha Washington or even a movie star.


Fantasy is a wonderful thing. Don’t you think? If you grew up with a trunk full of your grandmother’s old clothes, then you know what I’m talking about.

I heard about a form of therapy that encourages role playing and dressing up. Psychologists use this method to help their clients explore the roles in their personality. I hear this form of therapy encourages self expression for people who are dealing with emotional problems. That’s what I hear, anyway. My personal experience is purely for fun.

I am so excited that the art of dressing up in costumes flourishes today. The options are endless. I look at costume catalogs and wonder what I would look like dressed as a French Maid, or a pirate, an Indian maiden or a sexy model.

My husband secretly wants me to buy all the sexy costumes and wear them around the house. He will admit it, too. As for me, I’m usually more reserved unless I’m writing fiction. Then there are no boundaries. My imagination soars and all the characters flourish under the stroke of my pen. My characters are fashionable and courageous and adventurous. I need an endless wardrobe to dress them. I’m thankful for costume companies.

I am just interested in people, in general. My way of understanding the world around me was to become those people surrounding me. As a child, costumes gave me a form of expression that helped me to stop being so timid.

Today, I watch as people walk by me. I look at what they are wearing. It fascinates me, I can’t help myself. Imagination takes me into the lives of others as I imagine what life must be like for them.

When you wear a costume or your sister’s best dress, does it make you feel different? I mean, it’s like you are no longer there. The personality of the costume takes over. My mother made this observation about me when I was in college. She told me that in my jeans I was one person but as soon as I put on that dress suit, I took on a new personality to fit the air of the business woman. So behavior is influenced by what you wear.

As a freelance writer, my secret fantasy is to be another Angela Lansbury. I love her style. If you’ve ever watched “Murder She Wrote” then you know that she has a dignified sharp personality.

I am so enamored by Angela that I asked my husband to find me a typewriter just like the one she uses on the show. He found me one. It’s an Underwood with the round keys and perfect lettering still intact. I put it in storage to keep it safe. I still have an Underwood with me though. We bought a little nic nac replica that sits in the open where I can be inspired as I write. Props are an important part of your costume, so don’t minimize this part of the costume.

There are so many opportunities today to play dress up in costumes. The fashion industry embraces this form of personal expression.

Ever find yourself in front of the mirror using your curling iron for a microphone? At that moment, you become the object of your fantasy. Your favorite singing star is in your bathroom looking in your mirror singing for you.

I’m waiting for that confession. I hear it’s good for the soul.

Okay, so you don’t pretend to be a rock star. Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me.