Those of you who follow me on twitter may have noticed that I had been in the process of creating some kind of outfit for prom. That is to say, the Prom Night themed night of the Bristol Burlesque Festival 2014 last Saturday. And let me just tell you my outfit selection/creation did not go smoothly. Unlike the event itself which was amazing – the final night of a three show festival, complete with balloons, streamer curtains and to top it off a goth won Prom Queen – yup, my kind of prom!
My initial idea was to create a Captain Marvel themed prom dress which I could then use for conventions, etc. However, that didn’t exactly go to plan. I already had a deep blue frock but try as I might it was the wrong style and shape to really convert into something Captain Marvel-ish. Much to the dismay of both myself and Kelly Sue DeConnick (squee!).
I didn’t want to just go with a plain old dress, because 1) that wouldn’t really capture the spirit of the evening and b) it just isn’t my style – for example check out the outfit I wore to one of last year’s shows!
And 3) I had already anticipated going as Captain Marvel and dyed my hair blonde (though even this was not smooth running – first attempt went kinda gold/orange and a second load of peroxide had to be utilised).
Between not really getting anywhere with the initial dress, and then being a bit under the weather and unable to work on it as much as required, I got to a week before the show and realised – shit, I got nothing.
This took me off into my brain on a little journey of discovery. When I was at high school there wasn’t such a thing as prom. I know some UK schools do them now, or similar, but I don’t even remember us having that many social school things at all. I have a vague memory of one high school dance. I think I might have gone back to a friend’s house to get ready as I lived so far from the school, and I have a recollection of students being told to stop dancing on the table to Chumbawumba (well, where else are you going to dance to Chumbawumba?!).
I started to think, if we’d had such a thing as prom, what would I have worn, and more importantly what would I have wanted to wear? I need you to understand that these are two completely different things.
I grew up pretty poor, the chances are what I would have worn to prom would have been either second hand and/or homemade. In fact I can imagine my mum making me a big poofy shouldered 80s style extravaganza. As a matter of fact, the dress I wore to one of my first university balls was a gorgeous regency style number hand made by my amazing mother.
I also grew up a complete nerd and for the most part a bit of a loner and outcast at school. I had a few awesome friends with which I’d sometimes hang, but otherwise I’d spend my lunch breaks holed up in my sanctuary – the library.
All in all this contributed to my being a bit socially unaware – I followed no fashion trends and didn’t even try makeup before I was about 19. Now, this is not to say that this is a bad thing, I’m happy I carved my own way on my own instead of surviving by conforming, but it does mean that 16 year old me at a prom would’ve probably been in some kind of outfit that would have been swiftly ridiculed. Whether it was outdated or even on trend, on me they would have all been laughed at for one reason or another.
But this brings me to what I’d have wanted to wear. And by this I mean if money were no object. 16 year old me would have gone to prom in something fabulous by my 16 year old /mid 1990s standard. Something that would have said “up yours” to the haters. I’d have probably gone in something like this –
So to the now.
This realisation brought me to the fact that I’d been flogging the proverbial. I needed to really think consider this my chance to do prom over, to rewrite some of the high school crap. I scrapped my dress idea.
I had already bought some red converse, red gloves and a few accessories that were to go with my original idea. But here’s what I did next. With keeping a slight Captain Marvel theme in mind.
I cut the fingers off the gloves, I bought a red bangle and gold necklaces, I pulled together a few bits I already owned – blue leggings, blue top, denim jacket, and I put together a prom outfit I’d have been proud to wear when I was a teen.
I was pretty pleased with the results, only a little saddened I was having too good a time to think about getting a proper photo from the night – instead I have this – at least you can see my Captain Marvel lapels!