Well, HI, peeps!

It’s been a crazy busy couple of weeks. I’ve started writing again. That is, I started back to work on some novels I’ve had lying around on my hard drive. I did write a short story that got picked up last month for an anthology that’ll be published in the next few months. So my hiatus was kind of spotty. Heh.

ANYWAY. I’m currently getting some things ready for the upcoming GCLS conference in July in New Orleans. That involves a lot of thought about swag and what to bring and what not to bring in terms of my books.

I’m also getting ready to attend the 27th Lambda Awards. My co-edited volume All You Can Eat: A Buffet of Lesbian Romance and Erotica, with fellow author and editor R.G. Emanuelle, made the finalists’ list in lesbian erotica. I’ve not ever attended the Lambdas (or “Lammies,” as you might here), so this is a new and cool experience.

With that in mind, I’ve been thinking about clothes.

Why? Well…

I tend to be pretty casual in my daily life, which means jeans and tees or shorts and tees if I’m not at work or doing something writing-related in public. I’m fortunate in that the dress code at my place of business is pretty casual. I tend to dress business casual (in my gender non-conforming way) or Friday casual there, and when I’m out and about doing writing-related things, I generally do not wear tees. I wear button-downs, long-sleeve or short-sleeve depending on the weather. Tees are my weekend wear or what I put on after work when I’m schlepping around the house.

But awards ceremonies can be a bit formal. For example, the Mystery Writers of America Edgar ceremonies require black tie/evening wear. And of course you know how people look at the Oscars.

The Lambdas don’t necessarily stipulate black tie/overly fancy schmancy, but it’s an important awards ceremony, so I will wear some kind of dressy attire, probably black trousers and either a jacket or a vest with a crisp button-down shirt. Fortunately, it’s an LGBTQ ceremony, which means I won’t get weird looks for my “gender non-conforming” dress.

But anyway. I’ll get outfits put together for both the Lambdas and the awards at the GCLS, which I will attend whether I’m a finalist or not. Which brings me to…

People! Look sharp! Or at least put together. Two major reasons for minding your outfits at ceremonies and/or conferences:

1. What you wear to a ceremony says something about you and people notice. I know, I know. “It’s on the inside that matters!” There’s something to that, but guess what? People DO judge books by their covers (see what I did there?), and you want to put some good covers forward in some situations, right?

So if you’re going to attend an awards ceremony/banquet as a nominee/finalist, don’t wear shorts. Or tees and shorts and flip-flops. Or ripped-up nasty dirty jeans and scuffed-up crappy tennis shoes. C’mon, people. REPRESENT. You’ve been nominated for an award because a panel of judges/bunch of people thought your book was awesome. How you present yourself at such a gathering broadcasts messages to the audience and to the organization. If all you do is throw on a pair of cargo shorts and a tee shirt, that’s telling people you just couldn’t be bothered to care about this ceremony. And if you don’t care, why should they care? Is that the message you want to send when you’re an awards finalist at a ceremony? Hopefully, no.

Ellen Page rockin' a suit at X-Men premiere source
Ellen Page rockin’ a suit at X-Men premiere source

If you’re attending as an audience member to support nominees or finalists or because you just want to, same rules apply. Don’t be that person in the shorts or worn jeans. Some people can pull that worn jeans look off with wingtips and French cuffs and velvet blazers. I’m not one of them and I’m guessing most people aren’t. Err on the side of regular formal for an awards ceremony like the ones I mentioned above.

2. What you wear at a professional conference also says something about you. If you’re a writer and you’re going to be attending a writing conference, chances are you’ll be participating in a panel or roundtable discussion or perhaps doing a reading or some such. Which means you will have an audience. True, some conferences are more casual than others, but you’re working in an industry as a professional. So err on the side of business casual or, if the conference is super casual, nice jeans, nice shoes rather than sneakers (though there are exceptions to that, depending on the sneakers), and blouses/shirts rather than tees. Maybe throw a light blazer on since those conference rooms tend to get cold in hotels.

source Nice way to dress up jeans, yeah?

If you’re a writer at a conference, you have to be ON at said conferences. You are interacting with each other in professional capacities and with readers in a professional capacity throughout the day over a series of days. How you present yourself — and dress is part of that — can help establish professional boundaries and send messages to potential publishers and readers that you take your work seriously and that you respect your craft. Or, if you’re a publisher, how you present yourself sends messages to potential authors who might be interested in working with you.

My personal rule is this: business casual/nice jeans casual (and that depends) at conferences and formal at awards ceremonies (always with dressy but comfie shoes), whether I’m a participant or an audience member. Because you never know who you’re going to meet. So look good, friends. Respect the craft, respect the industry, respect yourselves and your colleagues.

Ultimately, as casual as I can be, I like dressing up. I like looking sharp and/or business casual (as much as I get all angsty about shopping). It makes me feel good to upgrade my dress codes, and if you’re feeling good in the sharp outfit you’re wearing, that enhances your professional image, too, because people can tell when you feel good.

So, yes. People do judge books by their covers. Show your good ones at venues like the ones I discussed here. And by all means, HAVE FUN. Clothing, like writing, can be a creative endeavor. 😀

For funsies/ideas:
Qwear Fashion (great site, all body types, all kinds of people)
100 most stylish dapperQs 2014 (unconventionally masculine, trans-inclusive) I dig all the different ways people change things up.
Dapper Tomboy (dapper and casual)
Tomboy/femme style
Fit for a Femme (fun and funky)
But I’m a Tomboy (fun stuff, from funky urban to dapper plus advice)
Autostraddle blog on ideas for femme fashion. Hit the other links at the piece for even MOAR ideas.
Oh, and for what you might want to wear UNDER that fab outfit: The Lingerie Lesbian 😉

And just cuz…

Marlene Dietrich source

Happy Friday! (Happy Good Friday for those of you who observe; happy Easter, happy Passover)

4 thoughts on “Clothes-minded

  1. I know, some people get kind of bent about clothing. I get that. I have a hell of a time finding things I like that fit me and my alleged “style.” But it’s worth it, because when you rock something that looks good that you feel good in, you are ON. And I think it’s important to REPRESENT at conferences and ceremonies. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  2. Hey! I totally agree that when you look good, you feel good. Don’t forget to take into account the heat and humidity in NO. I lived in Louisiana for 25 years before moving here to Colorado. Went back a couple of years ago and thought I would die. The heat was bad enough, but the humidity ’bout did me in. Hopefully, you will have time to at least walk in the Quarter. Good reason to imbibe a few Hurricanes and Bloody Marys! Have fun and remain cool!

    • I’ve lived in a Southern state. I know what it’s like to deal with heat and humidity. I’ve also been to New Orleans in July. But when you’re conferencing or doing awards ceremonies in hot climates, you’re generally indoors, and the air conditioning is generally set to “cold.” Which means khakis or other light trousers (not jeans) or skirts are good, as well as lightweight button-down shirts/blouses. I don’t recommend packing jeans for conferencing in hot climates in the summer, but there are good options for lightweight trousers and skirts. 🙂

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