Dressing for a Con
I tend to think of cons like Thanksgiving. I’m super excited to go, I’m supplicating my inner introvert with food, and I know a drunken uncle is going to make a fool out of himself. If you replace uncle with 14th level dwarven Paladin, you pretty much have have my normal con-going experience. If you’ve never been to a convention before, the entire experience can be overwhelming, and if you are anything like me you’ll be thinking to yourself - what should I wear?
Now, while this may sound like a very superficial question, let me assure you now, how you dress is a matter of survival. Remember our Thanksgiving analogy - you’ll be sitting at a table for around 4 hours, have multiple sittings, and if you show up in your gala dress, you’re gonna have a bad time.
Liz’s 5 Commandments of dressing & grooming for a con
5. Thou shalt wear as many natural fibers as possible. Synthetics are thine enemy and will cause the most noxious of sweat.
4. Thou shalt bring deodorant and refresh thyself after each adventure.
3. Thou shalt bring multiple hair ties if thou hast long hair (cause you know one is gonna break when thou raises from thy seat in anger as that f*!#ing GM throws in another frost giant at the VERY END OF THE COMBAT!)
2. Thou shalt throw thy foundation and powder to the four winds and let thy face be free (trust me on this one).
1. Thou shalt wear an elasticated waist for the sake of thine own sanity.
How do this commandments really work though? I’ve compiled three con-friendly looks for you that will get you through a con with minimal sadness and discomfort.
The "You should be happy I’m not in my pyjamas" Look
I almost think this look should be at the end of my list, because it’s really the one you might be considering on the third day of the con after the late night you had partying and gaming with the awesome people you’ve met. Note, the super bohemian (aka comfy) cotton pants paired with a cute gaming t-shirt. The jersey waist on the pants means you are not going to suffer through that beer bloat from your rager last night. When you scarf down that entire, delicious four cheese i-swear-im-not-eating-this-cause-im-hung-over pizza your tummy is gonna be hugged and hidden by this adorable outfit! Note: For the sake of all that is holy take off those damn sunglasses before the session starts.
The “Casual” gamer Look
You really don’t feel like dressing fancy, but you’re fully awake and you want to look composed. This is the look for you. The key to any con-look good is layers, you’re gonna get warm, you’re gonna be cold, you're going to break out into a flushed-faced cold sweat when the GM is grilling your character who is trying to lie. A big comfy sweater means you basically have the modern equivalent of a fluffy cape and your cute tee is going to make sure your geek cred stays intact. Finally, wearing treggings means that your outfit is going to look composed, while you follow commandment #1 wearing a nice comfy elasticated waist.
The "Oh I just threw this on" look
And you literally did. The swing dress is my secret weapon. I wear one of these suckers three out of seven days of the week, because they always look good and they are always comfortable. The circle skirt hides your belly and means you can sit however you want without worrying about letting it all hang out. Plus, the retro charm of a swing dress means people will think you have actually given thought to what you are wearing rather than just going for the first thing in your closet.
Shoes are a very personal thing for most women, so I suggest pairing these outfits with whatever pair of shoes you love and feel like you can walk an entire day in. However, here are some tips for me:
Vans came out with a Disney Princess line… If you don’t have a pair yet, for shame, get your wallet ready.
Dr. Martens are stepping it up this year! I /love/ these, classic Martens look, with the Martens comfort, and super on trend.
I love Lola Ramona, their shoes are super retro chic and cause they all mostly have platforms you get the height without the pain.
Now you are officially ready for dressing for a con (exactly after the biggest con of the year has ended). Have fun shopping!
Liz Chaipraditkul is a writer and game developer. She is the owner of Angry Hamster Publishing, a company that develops and publishes tabletop role playing games. She dabbles in illustration and other crafts, but her true love is writing. You can read more of her personal ramblings on her blog epicxcloth.blogspot.com, or follow her on Twitter as @epicxcloth.