Nothing great comes without risk, and only the very mediocre are safe from being poked fun at.
Dita Von Teese has agreed to be our newest xoJane advice columnist, answering your questions about how to incorporate glamour into your everyday life — from styling tips, clothing, lingerie, body image, confidence and loving yourself.
I adore your glamour style! However, I personally feel sort of overdressed in high heels, stockings & dress while around people in jeans. Everybody is staring at me & asking “What’s the occasion for that?” Have you ever been in that kind of situation? How to be brave enough to go on with glamour style every day? How do you deal with unwanted attention?
In my 20+ years of dressing up in retro style, I’ve certainly had my fair share of stupid questions and criticisms, and I’ve even been flat-out made fun of, especially back in the early 90s before retro glamour became so popular and when my outfits were even more extravagant than they are now!
I recall a moment I had once that really cured me of feeling self-conscious. Two guys made fun of me in passing, who were both dressed in hideously ugly, stained and torn “University of Idiocy” T-shirts with mismatched shorts and some sort of offensive footwear.
I remember thinking, “Wait a minute, the fact that THESE guys think I look silly/crazy/unsexy is actually a compliment!”
I also began to realize that our appearance tells the world which tribe we belong to, or want to belong to. I have absolutely no desire to be a part of the tribe that those two guys belong to, you know? Imagine the hell of being asked out on a date with one of them? Heaven forbid I would fall in love with him and be forced to watch sports on TV while fetching a beer and a Manwich for one of those guys. That sounds like a special kind of hell to me.
I’ve said it time and time again. You can be a juicy, ripe peach and there’s still going to be someone who doesn’t like peaches, so you can either submit to someone’s criticism of you, or you can get on with the business of being your own amazing self who attracts other like-minded people that appreciate you.
I often think about my icons of beauty and style, and I am quite certain that they received their fair share of ridicule, but if they hadn’t dared to be different, there are countless fashion styles that probably would have never made it to the mainstream.
Can you imagine if Marlene Dietrich had merely accepted that hotels in Paris wouldn’t welcome her while she was wearing a man’s tuxedo? Can you imagine the things people might have said as Isabella Blow wafted down the street in a billowing cape and one of her many enormous hats? I’d met her a few times, always astonished by her inspiring style, and I can tell you that she certainly didn’t give a crap what anyone thought of her, and for me and many others, she is highly regarded as one of the most important and most fashionable women ever.
Nothing great comes without risk, and only the very mediocre are safe from being poked fun at. Personally, every time someone makes a snide comment, I feel I am proud to be part of the elite group of weirdos! If you want to read a fabulous and hilarious book about this eccentric “club,” check out Simon Doonan’s “Eccentric Glamour.”
I’ve had all sorts of comebacks to the various “vocal observations” of my attire and my look, but I try to say positive things like, “Why yes, the special occasion is life, thank you for noticing!”
Back in the 90s, before retro glamour was in fashion, I would get asked if I was in a movie and I would say, “Yes, I’m starring in this amazing story of my own life,” with a positive attitude and tone of voice whenever possible. Sometimes people don’t mean to be rude, they just noticed you and they don’t realize that what they say might make you feel uncomfortable.
I really think we just have to forgive them, because they just don’t know, and sometimes, they even fear what they don’t know, and we should have sympathy for them. And, I have to add, that if you are already feeling uncomfortable, it might not even be that they are being rude, but their words are magnified and mirroring what you are feeling, so maybe it’s more about finding ways to find your own comfort zone and working on self-confidence.
I hope this helps, carry on with being the fabulous glambassador that you are, and don’t let them get you down!
Don’t forget to ask Dita all your style-related questions either in the comments or at firstname.lastname@example.org.