Costume vs. Uniform


Which one do you wear?

By Heidi Elnora

My brain never turns off. I am constantly thinking about all of the things on my “to do” list. Sometimes, I wish I were Shera. I sometimes call myself Shera. To me, Shera and Wonder Woman are friends. I chose Shera for her blonde hair. We look the most alike. Both of these women seem to be able to do it all.

Have you ever thought about how the only time you see them “in action” is when they are at work? I doubt either of them has a family or little ones at home.  They probably do not know how to cook or clean or even mend a tear in their leggings. I bet they have a whole team of stylists in their trailer before they go out to fight crime. Surely they have a nanny or a maid. They just get to save the world every day. So what makes them so special? Is it their fabulous hair or dashing costumes? They both have great boots. Maybe if I dressed up like a superhero every day I could get more accomplished. Some five-inch gold platform boots and a little mini-skirt could definitely make me move faster. And, of course, my hair would be down and perfectly styled, so when I am responding to emails the wind from my super-speedy typing would make it blow like on television. I am seriously thinking about designing myself a costume — well, maybe a uniform. What’s the difference really?

I have been pondering this for a couple of years now. When I sit and think about the differences between costumes and uniforms and what they symbolize, it makes me think long and hard about whether I am a costume or uniform kind of girl. To me, uniforms represent someone who serves, while a costume serves someone who is on exhibition. At times I fit perfectly into both categories. I look at nurses. They wear a great uniform. You get to wear comfy pants with an elastic waistband and tennis shoes or Dankso clogs every day. The uniforms are all cut the same, but you can show off your personality by mixing colors and prints. They are busy on their feet saving lives -— just like Shera and Wonder Woman.

Or maybe I would take the costume of a ballerina, which I’m most like at heart. How I would love to wear tights, leggings, my hair in a bun and an oversized shirt with tulle and sparkle and dance around every day creating beautiful art. That would be my dream job.

As a designer, I do not dress in a very exciting way. I live in a world of material, trims and accessories. Creating trends and designing new ways to wear clothes is just part of the job. I feel that is why the uniform of a designer is just plain black. We don’t have to get too creative with it. We try to save brain cells when it comes to dressing ourselves. It’s simple, easy and works with everything, and if you mess it up, no one can really tell. I look at my job as being the person who is in charge of making sure that Shera and Wonder Woman look as though they have it all together.

Now that I think about it, I am actually one of those fat fairies making Sleeping Beauty’s gown or, perhaps, one of the mice in Cinderella. I am behind the scenes, straining my little fingers to make sure that every stitch is perfection.  As I type this article, it is all beginning to make sense to me.  There are two different kinds of people, those who wear uniforms and those who wear costumes. Everyday people are in uniform; we gravitate to the same clothes that we already have in our closet. This doesn’t mean that our clothes have to be bland or boring. You may be the best dressed in town, but you kind of always look the same. As for the costume folks, those are the ones who play pretend. They dress to impress or to shock. When do you really wear a costume other than Halloween? Some people do it every day. No matter if you wear a costume or a uniform, neither is right or wrong, just different. Just because you wear a costume one day doesn’t mean you can’t wear a uniform the next or vice versa. And it is okay to sometimes feel like you need to dress up like Shera. She is the “princess of power,” after all.

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