Thursday, October 25, 2012

On Concerts and Fashion

A little over a month ago, I attended Amanda Palmer's concert at First Avenue in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I got beer splashed on me, had a very drunk girl fall on my feet, didn't get back until 1:30 in the morning, and had to go to work the next day running on almost zero sleep. And it was totally worth it.

I love concerts. I especially love concerts that offer a strong aesthetic in both audience and performance. This concert absolutely delivered. The music was fantastic, and there was a sense of theatricality going through both the performers and the audience. This concert was full of self-expression of all sorts, not the least of which was in the clothing that people chose to wear.

Amanda, herself, was gorgeous as always. She was sporting a bra, corset, gold leggings, tons of bracelets, stage makeup like crazy, and a lot of jewelry shoved in her bra and belt.

Just as awesome looking were my fellow attendees (sadly, I didn't get many pictures of the most fabulous outfits I saw, so I'm borrowing the ones I'm posting here from Citypages) I was amazed at how many different levels of clothing I saw, from people in t-shirts and jeans to full-out goth looks to hipster-y throwbacks to the 1980s. There was a woman in a kilt-like full skirt who was one of the nicest people I met. There were girls in corsets and guys in top hats. There were guys in corsets and girls in top hats, for that matter. Myself, I wore casual gothic/classic Lolita.

It was, quite frankly, a delightful mishmash of styles, and there were compliments flying in line as I waited for the doors to open. A young lady photographing for Citypages rushed by the line, picking out a few people every-so-often to photograph. I was rather surprised when I was one of them.

Seriously, wasn't everyone looking amazing? I think part of the fun of waiting outside the venue was looking at the incredibly wide variety of looks people were sporting.

Oh, right. And there was me.

Tights: Target
Blouse: Mossimo (several years old)
JSK: Bodyline
Underskirts: Handmade
Flowers etc.: Claire's and Target
The Citypages photo of me, unfortunately, did not feature a smile, so the only decent shot I got of my outfit where I don't look cranky was at 1 am in the parking garage. Ah, well, I'm pleased with it.

And all of this, of course, got me thinking about clothing as it pertains to concerts in general.

There are always people who attempt to mimic the performer's style as much as possible when they attend a concert, whether or not it's how they actually dress. And there are people who dress the way they usually do. And there are people who use concerts as an excuse to dress the way that they want to dress but can't due to work or some other social limitation.

I'm usually of the third type. I ramp up my clothing for a concert because I can, but I can see an argument for any of the options.

Personally, I'm not a fan of mimicking the artist's style, though. Taking inspiration from, certainly, but outright miming their aesthetic sense seems... off to me. Part of what makes people want to mimic the style is that the performer is unique visually and musically, and I find it more honest and more in the spirit of creation to take a little bit of their aesthetic and to blend it with your own. I know imitation is supposed to be the sincerest form of flattery, but I find that inspiration is: it's not finding an artist's work important enough that you wish to copy it, but important enough that it inspires you to try to create something as great. And, in terms of clothing, that leaves you a lot of wiggle room.

That's my personal take on the issue, though. If you disagree, that's fine. I won't judge you for your clothing choices so long as you don't judge me for mine.

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