Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Memoirs of a Geisha: Getting into Character

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If you haven't read Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, then you should pick it up immediately. The movie is excellent, and the book is even better. When reading it, I'm always struck by the fact that the image of a geisha is such a powerful thing. Without her geisha makeup and attire, the main character Sayuri is just an unloved woman unable to survive on her own, but when in costume she is beautiful, desired, and valuable. I don't really like this idea, mostly because I believe women should be respected and loved as themselves, but I do think that it holds a certain truth. Clothing, hair, and makeup make a difference in how we are perceived, how we feel, and how we behave. This is part of the reason for my obsession/ fascination with fashion, and I find it to be strongly connected to my love of theater. Getting dressed each morning means choosing my character for the day. Do I want to be a nerd, a goddess, or a glamazon? Do I want to be wild, fabulous, or soulful? Just as getting into costume before acting in a play helps me to embrace the character I am portraying, getting dressed in the morning helps me decide which facet of myself I want to be. It's a never-ending game of dress-up with the world as my stage. And/or runway.

How fun is that?

For added enjoyment, exaggerate your character for the day. Usually, our clothes help us take on a persona without our knowledge. If you feel smokin' in your slinky party dress, you tend to strut a little and enter a room with confidence. It's not a conscious decision, but it happens just the same. My suggestion is to recognize the effect that your wardrobe has on you, choose your outfit accordingly, and commit yourself fully to the role you decide to take on. Don't just strut in that party dress- dance when the mood strikes you, use big gestures when you talk, and treat your fabulous self to what it deserves (chocolate mousse, anyone?). Just have fun with it!

Today my character is a punked out hippy with a hint of chicness. I've been waving to strangers and returning confused glances with a shrug and raised eyebrows all day. In my somewhat bizarre version of reality, that's what punky-chic hippy chicks do.

*This post has been part of Fashion Through Literature Week at The Fashion-y Blog*


Gauri said...

Hi Kori, great post. I love dressing as a character, and being in character, too :)

Rebecca said...

Fun post, Kori!

This topic has been on my mind alot, since I've been involved with a play this past week. (Not to mention that I just think alot about how different people relate to what they wear.) :)

Do you think the staff of a show (refreshments, ushers, etc) can dress in a style that lightly echoes the theme of the show without being disrespectful? I so wanted to wear my Gunne Sax skirt when I was House manager for Anne of Avonlea but I wasn't sure.

Pudgy Bunny said...

An interesting way to look at things, I must think more on this. Love reading blogs that challenge me to evaluate my perceptions.

Kori said...

Gauri- Thanks!

Rebecca- I think that it would be entirely appropriate to wear your Gunne Sax skirt, as long as your outfit is subdued enough that it doesn't take attention away from the play. If I went to see a show and a staff member was dressed to fit with the theme of the show, I would actually really appreciate their effort and sense of fun :)

Icy said...

Hey Kori, I do this quite a lot. There is the goth me, the don't mess with me me (for tough days ^_^), the 40s chick me, the 40s guy me (today ^_^ with a vest and tie) and the other mes that pop out on occasion.

Great post!

Rebecca said...

Thanks Kori!

I think I will do it tomorrow. Today I thought about it, but I was afraid I would be too warm. I wouldn't have been; I ended up in jeans, anyway.

Should be fun!

Susanna said...

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who does this. I try to pick a persona that will work with what I'm doing each day. Today I'm dressed as a hip, successful working mom (yes, I know, theoretically that's what I am, but sometimes I dress like a harried stay-at-home mom).

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