Outfit Post: 10/28/11 and 10/31/11

Sweater: Target — Skirt: Gift — Tights: ??? — Boots: Gift (r2) — Necklace: Gift — Earrings: Hand-me-down

It’s a one-two punch here, people! I’m making you all slog through Friday’s pictures before you’re allowed to see my Halloween getup. (Or I guess you could scroll to the bottom, if you’re a cheater.)

I was waaaay too warm in this sweater on Friday, but I stuck it out because I knew it would be nice and cozy once I got to Berkeley for book club. We discussed a book I picked, Among Others by Jo Walton–a book I highly recommend as an unusual fantasy novel about a young Welsh girl with family problems and a fierce love of science-fiction. I’m not selling it very well, but it’s a fantastic and different coming-of-age novel, and Mor is a main character who really spoke to me.

I also stuck it out in this sweater because I kind of wore it as a joke. See, one of the other folks in book club–Eppie–has this sweater, and wore it to a book club meeting last winter-ish, and I loved it, so when I found it I bought it so I could be like, “ha ha, I’m a creepy stalker and I’m going to take over your life!” The scary part is, she almost wore the same sweater on Friday, and since she just got a haircut to about my length, we would have been twinsies! Freaky, twentysomething twinsies. Which are obviously the best kind of twinsies.

Man, I’m writing so many words here that aren’t going towards my NaNoWriMo count. That’s right, folks, it’s the first of November! Anybody else around here going to attempt it? I’ve tried for the last, oh, four or five years, and I think the furthest I’ve ever gotten was ten pages. I may not make it this time either, but I’m going to shoot for fifty pages or half of the desired wordcount. I know, I’m extremely ambitious.

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Speaking of November 1st, guess what else it is? Yup, it’s Día De Los Inocentes, and tomorrow is Día De Los Muertos. That right there is what I wore to work yesterday for Halloween.

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I was pretty disappointed at how few people dressed up in our department at work, but I did enjoy working the front desk looking like this. Memento mori, bitches!

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Most of the trick-or-treaters we got later in the evening just called me a skeleton, and I let it go, because it’s easier than explaining to kids, “no, I’m a reminder that we all pass from this life, and also cherish your loved ones.”

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Okay, I promise I wasn’t feeling that melodramatic. Still, though, today and tomorrow are good for reflection. Tia and I lost our friend in January, and she won’t be the last. We have to love each other while we can.

Edit: I’ve been reading articles about Halloween this morning and this one stands out as, well, particularly relevant. Obviously, I needed to put more thought into the cultural context of my makeup, but it is what it is. I was thinking about it in relation to my own experience as having lost a friend, but my personal experience and desires do not override another culture’s sacred holidays. I thought about removing these pictures from the already-written post, but I think I’ll leave it all up as a reminder to think critically about costuming and cultural appropriation.

Edit (October 2013): I’ve been thinking about this post again since Halloween is almost upon us, and while I have no intention of trying to pretend this didn’t happen, I decided to remove the images of me in face-paint. I think they do more harm than good, and you can get the idea from the text of this post without having to be confronted by pictures of yet another white girl in skull makeup.


8 thoughts on “Outfit Post: 10/28/11 and 10/31/11

  1. First. I know I say this all the time, but I love how you combine warm and cool colors. That sweater looks like it would be perfect for the weather here. You should bring it. 😀

    As far as your costuming: it may have been better to do all the research, but you also didn’t do this thoughtlessly. From what you’ve written, it sounds like it came out of an understanding of Día De Los Muertos, and from personal reflection about its significance to you. So. ❤

    I'm so fond of you dear. You're fabulous.

  2. Don’t fret about your costume choice; it is over ‘n’ done with, you’ve done a little research, on with life. The author makes good points, but her tone makes me WANT to disagree.

    Either way, great makeup. No WONDER you wanted to scratch your face.

  3. I love the blue skirt. Your makeup is great, too, and I think you wore it thoughtfully. Honestly, I was Pocahontas for Halloween many years ago when I was like in 4th grade, and I’m still not sure if I’m supposed to be ashamed of that costume or not. My father’s part Native American, but so many generations back that the culture is not part of my family’s. And I have a yukata that was gifted to me during study abroad in Japan… and I still don’t know if I can wear that for Halloween either (I’m not Japanese).

  4. It’s tough… As I said to you over chat, there is a scale of inappropriate cultural appropriation and I feel like you’re falling as close to appropriate non-appropriation as you could. You have real connections to Mexico, you know what the holiday actually stands for, and you have a reason to be especially aware of it this year. You didn’t wear it to make fun of or even not take seriously this cultural holiday.

    Is there a way to dress up in another culture’s historical/modern/holiday costume without appropriating it? Am I never allowed to wear a kimono just because I find it beautiful and feel beautiful in it? (Hypothetically, that is – I don’t have a kimono.) Is it because it is Halloween – a time of silliness and fun – that makes it not okay?

    (Also, you look lovely and, as a fellow book clubber, I second the Among Others recommendation!)

  5. I agree with the others. As an Appalachian girl whose relatives are “poor dirt farmers” with a healthy smidgen of Native American mixed in (far back), I’m the girl that other cultures warn you about. But if I was so very particular about cultural appropriation, I wouldn’t be able to wear my ultimate thrift wish item – a dashiki. I think there is a difference between appreciating another culture/understanding it and stealing from it for hipster crap (AMERICAN APPAREL). One is born of genuine love, the other of greed/lack of caring. If we don’t let other cultures embrace ours (hey, the Appalachians have a culture…we have moonshine!) then we are segregating ourselves voluntarily, and that’s just racist.

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