I was working from home yesterday and decided my dress code would be a flouncy floor-length dress with a blush liner and white georgette overlay. I threw my hair up in a top knot, skipped the makeup, and traipsed around my loft as I edited and approved pages of this issue. The whole thing was very regal, in a casual and sporty way. The dress had just arrived from India from eShakti, a company that gives options to customize with our measurements and preferences, for pretty stinking cheap. I tell you, I’d buy local, if locals could do this for me. For $40. My weight and size make that a hefty challenge, but I was as light as air in that dress. I felt pretty and witty and gay. I was like Maria in West Side Story, but without the murder. What an absolute delight for a Thursday.
I’m not going to go so far as to say that I felt like I was in costume; costume implies that I departed from my usual sense of self. Instead, I was finding a new side of me that embraces white and pastel, airy and feminine. Considering that my normal uniform is black with black on black with pants, what is comfortable trends toward what the Sharks would wear in West Side Story, not what Maria or Anita would sell in their dress shop. But, just as our personalities are fluid, so can be our styles. What is said over and over by the fashion authorities in this issue is how there may be certain cues to pick up on when dressing for weddings, but what’s most important is that all of us feel comfortable and authentic in what we wear (p. 36). Let’s do that every day.
I bring up costumes because it’s remarkable to me how many options we have today for what we’d like to wear. When I was a young kid in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, it seemed like costumes were prohibitively expensive. I mean, we wore just the face instead of the whole mask. It was half of a head, literally. I had a Wonder Woman mask that included a facade of a face with black hair to go with my Underoos; today, we can get a wig and makeup with a whole corseted spangly getup for probably the same amount of money. We can be Wonder Woman instead of just dressing up as her. What’s more, today we can put our own spin on Wonder Woman. Wig or no. Makeup or no. Corset or no. And I’ll probably wear the sensible red-and-gold shoes instead of the boots.
Oh, I loved to dress up. I yearned for those awful hard-plastic toy high heels that hung in their packages in the toy section and made sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard when scraped along the floor on little, klutzy feet. I could dress up as a cop or a cowboy or a witch or a model or one of Charlie’s Angels (I had the Kate Jackson doll). I hit a snag when my brother cut off all my flaxen locks and hid them under the sofa with Mom’s “good” scissors, the Fiskars, and I became a boyish little Diana Prince with a scabby chin. But, no matter. Once I spun around and around, I was that Amazon princess with the golden Lasso of Truth and invisible jet. Or I’d punch you if you said otherwise.
And then my feet and I grew and could no longer fit into the shoes and clothes that girls my age wore, costumes or not. Pictures show that I was literally two-to-three times bigger than my counterparts. I was becoming a large, Nordic woman…early. I couldn’t shop where they shopped, I couldn’t wear what they wore, I couldn’t giggle like them. It was too contrived. I was too different. I stopped being interested in style. And that was the rest of my childhood. In that time, I lost the style wanderlust and gained inhibitions. Rules. Polarities. What’s within the accepted norm, what’s on the fringes, and what is unacceptable. I couldn’t see myself getting married. I couldn’t even envision what I could wear, thanks to the rules.
As we think about today, 2015, when rules are being rewritten to include the rainbow community in legal marriage, such changes also extend to style. What was once unacceptable is now legal across the nation. Weddings don’t need to be (but can be) the political statements that some have been in recent (and not so recent) years. The ceremonies and celebrations can be exactly what you and your beloved want them to be. Rainbows and pink triangles and lavender accents are optional. You can do what you want.
When I search the internet for specific magazine wedding issues for this community, I come up with ours and a handful of digital-only specials. Where does this community go for answers? Four years ago, when we started pulling together issues dedicated solely to being Wedding Issues, I had so many questions. I asked the style experts about the rules. Do grooms tend to match? Should brides avoid similar dresses? What happens with rings? Eight dedicated issues and over 800 pages of weddings and wedding-related content for this rainbow community later, there still aren’t really any hard and fast answers. Guess what don’t really exist? Rules.
It’s as if by working outside the rules, this community avoided a lot of them. Sure, we can say that there’s always the chance of heteronormativity sneaking in and what are gay weddings seem straight, but that’s part of not having rules. Go for it. Do what you want. Maybe there won’t be such a thing as heteronormativity in the future and weddings will just be weddings. Have the day of your dreams. Be authentic. Make your bow ties out of your parents’ wedding garb, as can be done by The Bow Tie Shoppe (p. 46). Get custom rings like those designed by George and Rony (p. 48) or have some rebar made into circles or get tattoo rings. I’ve seen it all. And it is all valid and binding and symbolic and beautiful.
When my day comes, if it comes, I might show up to the tune of “I Feel Pretty” in a white flouncy dress ordered off the internet or from the gals selling the dresses to curvy brides (p. 42), or I might just rope my betrothed with my golden Lasso of Truth while sporting a scab on my chin. However it goes, it will be what’s right for me. For us. The world is more open than ever before, for anyone, regardless of who we are, what we look like, who we marry, when we marry, and if we marry.
Whatever we do, let’s do it in our own authentic style.
With you and with thanks,