In Plain Sight: Using Everyday Fashion to Express Your Inner Superhero

Dear Readers,

Benji and I recently changed the name of our blog, and I thought maybe an article with the reasons why was in order.

Basically, as my kid grows, the blog needed to grow a bit as well.  We also found ourselves feeling negativity in the cosplay community such as, picking on people’s cosplays, their size, their gender or nationality and what not.  We both needed to, as my friend Justin so aptly put it, “rekindle joy”.  So, we refocused our efforts on cosplay, but with a bounding and dapper slant.  When we did, we found our new voices.

Now, please don’t worry.  I will still be posting tips and tricks on raising a good little geek, but our cosplay ideas will now be more bounding and will actually be more inclusive in your everyday life, which brings us to…

Recently,  we had the amazing opportunity to present a panel idea I have had for ages, “In Plain Sight: Using Everyday Fashion to Express Your Inner Superhero”, at WonderCon in Anaheim, California.  Not only did we get to present this panel, but to have some of our closest friends sit on the panel with us and moderate the panel for us.

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It was an amazing experience to say the least!  We filled the room and handed out all the ducks!  Thank you all for coming to see us.  We really appreciate it.

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To explain why it was so meaningful, we need to go way, way back into my childhood.  I’ve written about my early experiences with fashion before.  My maternal grandmother was a huge influence on me.  Matching bags and shoes.  Dressed up for church.  Red lipstick applied in the rear-view mirror.  Other early influences include old movies, which remain the epitome of glamour in my humble opinion.  I was in love with the 50s style dubbed, “the new look” after WWII.  The swing dresses, the lady-like look of a scarf of your hair to preserve your “do”, the red lipstick, the handbags, all of it, really. Problem was, I was born in 1967, so as a kid, I was subjected to 70s fashion.  I never felt comfortable in any of it, to be honest.  I tried.  I really did, but the skirts weren’t twirly and my long hair was always tangled, and my Dad wouldn’t let me cut it.  I just didn’t feel, “right”.  I longed for pretty twirly dresses, but my Mom didn’t care about fashion, so I didn’t have any kind of sources really to explore my personal style until much later in life.

The 80s were my teenaged years and things were a lot better.  The music was better and the fashions for teenagers were way better.  I discovered thrifting, and holy crap was that amazing!  Big blazers, rubber bracelets, wearing 5 watches at one time, hats! Yes, please!!!  Also, what was really great about it was, first, I got to put outfits together by myself for the first time, second, at thrift stores there were tons of old vintage 50s looks.  Turns out, I could incorporate them into my wardrobe and make my own outfits.  I felt like me for the first time.  There were swing dresses too, but unfortunately for a plus-size girl, they usually didn’t fit, but I didn’t give up trying.  The lack of clothes choices forced me into creativity so I could really create a look that was me.

The 90s and 00s were made up of work uniforms and trying to figure out how to recapture my confidence of the 80s to no avail.  But then…

I got divorced and started fresh with everything.  I started going to comic conventions and discovered a whole world of fangirl fashion, size inclusivity and positivity.  I also discovered that most geeky girls are like me, they love vintage 50s looks.  I began to celebrate my fandom and feel like myself again.

My first geeky dresses were purchased at the Her Universe booth at Comikaze.  I saw them from afar.  Immediately assumed they weren’t for me, but something told me to go ask the question I always ask and walk away disappointed.  Gluten for punishment, I guess.  I go up the booth and ask, “What size do these go up to?” I was expecting, “An XL”, then me saying a soft, “Thanks anyway” and walking away.  But, BUT, instead I got, “Oh, we have up to 3X.”  Then, because I wasn’t born yesterday, assume they are an Asian 3X, which is about a Medium for us big American types.  I ask if I can hold up a 3X and see if it will fit.  The lady says, “Oh, it’ll fit ya for sure!”  I’m thinking, “Yeah, right.”  I hold it up.  It looks like it will fit me, but I’m still waiting for disappointment.  I say, “OK, if I buy it and go try it on in the bathroom and it doesn’t fit, can I bring it right back?” She says sure.  I buy the dress.  I got into the bathroom and try it on.  It fit.  I cried for 15 minutes.  I go back to the booth and buy another dress and thank her for her kindness.  I’ve been a faithful customer ever since.

That was the beginning of the realization that the geek community is very body confident and positive.  All sizes are included in the fun.  These companies have figured out what others have not, that style has no size limit.

To be able to fit into fashion pieces you want is a, pardon the expression, a big deal.  You are included.  That positivity and confidence is contagious.  You find yourself carrying yourself taller, and you want everyone to feel this amazing.  I feel stronger when I wear something superhero themed.  I feel more confident.  I am a part of a team.  I don’t want anyone to ever feel excluded like I once did.

I lost my grandmother when I was 13, so she never got to experience either of my fashion metamorphoses, but I like to think she knows and is proud.  If she was here, with her love of movies and fashion, I also like to think that she would be participating right along side me in this.  I am doing my best to pass on all this knowledge to Benji as well.

I hope that this site has and will continue to inspire and encourage you to find your inner superhero, your body confidence and body positivity.  I look forward to hearing about your adventures and triumphs in the comments.  Huzzah!

Love, Kim

Raising a Geek: Going to a Con with the Kid

For the week heading up to WonderCon 2019, we are revisiting some of our best articles in regards to con attendance and cosplay.  Hope to see you in Anaheim next week!

Well, we’ve made it through. Con season is upon us again!  We plan on doing some cosplaying, buying things we don’t need and just general mayhem.  I thought it is a good time to discuss attending a Con with a kid.

Attending a Con with a kid is a very different animal from attending by yourself or in an adults-only group.  So, I put together some tips and a check-list to help you out.

Helpful hints:

  • Get the guide as soon as possible and look at the panels.
  • Pick one panel to attend a day.  Yes, only one.
  • Pick back-up panels that you would like to attend, but won’t lose your mind if you don’t get to them.
  • Take a look at the time of these panels.  If your kid still needs naptime, take that into consideration.
  • How long before the panel do you need to be in line?  How long is the wait to get in that room?  Can your kid do that wait?  If they can’t, they can’t.  They’ll get older and better at that later.  Spend your time doing something else.
  • Have realistic expectations for what your kid can do and handle during the day.
  • Will the panel be family-friendly?  There are usually warnings about language and content in the guide.  Check the panel before the one you are going to as well.  Save yourself from having a very awkward conversation with your kid that neither you nor they are ready for.
  • Hopefully, the panel happens during snack time.  Nothing easier than snackage distractions, amirite?
  • Now look at the vendors/artists on the floor.
  • Pick two or three to visit in a day.  Yes, only two or three a day.
  • Basically, what I’m driving at is plan a very light day with lots of plan B scenarios.
  • Take lots of pictures, but don’t try to post them until you get back to the hotel at the end of the day (see tip on extra cell phone battery below).
  • Accept that you will not get to see as much when you attend a Con with your kiddo.

OK, so you won’t get to every single thing when you are traveling with a kid, but bear in mind that you don’t get to every single thing when the kid isn’t with you at a Con either!  Cons are crazy and crowded and even the smaller shows have more fun packed into them than you can possibly see in the time given.  It’s all good!

The good news is that attending a Con with your kid is one of the most fun and rewarding experiences a nerdy parent can have.  I have WAY more fun with the kid at a Con than without, even more so after we started cosplaying.  Cons are special experiences to share with your youngling and help cultivate their fandoms for a lifetime.  They get to meet other adults that are into the same fandoms as their parents.  They see that being a geek is a lifetime pursuit that is always fun and rewarding.  It ignites their imaginations like nothing else.

That being said, here’s a basic checklist of items to pack for your day:

  • Sturdy backpack or messenger bag.  Some good ones can be found at hottopic.com and/or thinkgeek.com.  Don’t rely on the bag that they give you at a con.  Find something with padded straps.  Trust me on this.
  • Refillable water bottle.  Just carry it around in your bag empty and use the water fountains to fill it when needed.  You will need to hydrate!
  • Non-refrigerated snacks.  Granola bars, protein bars, trail mix, beef sticks, stuff like that.
  • Small travel first aid kit with band-aids, pain reliever, antacids and children’s medications.  Pharmacies sell travel kits that are inexpensive and super handy.
  • Extra cell phone battery or two.  The service in convention centers is deplorable!  Also, we nerds love our gadgets, so competition for that wi-fi is tough.  Your battery will take a beating.
  • If you are cosplaying, an extra set of clothes for the kiddo to change into for napping in the stroller, accidents or if they just get tired of cosplaying.  It happens.
  • Bring a small cosplay repair kit with you.  Safety pins, bobby pins, fabric tape, things like that.
  • If you are still in the diaper bag realm, basically pack it like you are going to a theme park for the day.  Extra diapers, wipes, binkies and formula.  Load up for bear.
  • Note that strollers are very much discouraged these days at Cons.  If you have an itty bitty kiddo, bring the least bulky stroller you can get away with and be ready to have to park it outside.  Don’t bring the expensive fancy pants one with you this trip!  Bring the baby sling just in case and check the guide online for rules before you get there.
  • Different colored Sharpies for autograph opportunities.
  • Cash (the ATM line at Cons is always a nightmare).
  • Poster tubes (if you know you are buying art).

With all this in mind, just have a great time!  A little planning and you’ll have tons of fun.  This is just like everything else with parenting.  The key is to plan things out, but be ready with that Plan B, C and so on.  You know what I’m talking about!

Happy Planning!

Love, Kim and Benji

 

Types and Styles of Cosplay

For the week heading up to WonderCon 2019, we are revisiting some of our best articles in regards to con attendance and cosplay.  Hope to see you in Anaheim next week!

The other day I was hanging out with a friend and talking about our latest Guardians of the Galaxy cosplay and that it was a screen-accurate cosplay, but also crossplay for Scout and me.  My friend was asking what the difference between crossplay and gender-bend cosplay was.  I thought it would be helpful to list all the types of cosplay out with a description of each.

Screen Accurate

The first type of cosplay is the kind that most people think of when they hear, “cosplay”.  That is screen accurate cosplay.  The term is pretty self-explanatory.  The cosplay looks like it came from the screen or pages of a comic book.  Below are some screen-accurate cosplays:

You’ll notice that each of these cosplays are accurate down to the last detail.  Scout and I are wearing wigs, the exact accessories and the correct clothing pieces.

The Mash-up Cosplay

The next type is the mash-up cosplay.  This style takes two or more characters from a film or comic book and mashes them together.  Scout and I don’t have a mash-up, but here are some mash-ups I found online (photo credits in the caption):

The Stylized Cosplay

The next style is the stylized cosplay.  Like the mash-up, this style of cosplay has been gaining popularity over the last couple of years.  This style combines a clothing style with a cosplay.  Some good examples are the Playboy Bunny Star Wars characters, business suits Disney characters or Steampunk anything.  Our stylized cosplay are poodle skirt Captain America and American Dream:

Crossplay

Crossplay is cosplaying a character of a different gender.  Scout and I crossplay a lot!  When cosplaying, the sky’s the limit, so cosplaying a different gender is not a limitation at all.  Here are some of our crossplays:

Gender-Bend Cosplay

The last style of cosplay is the gender-bend cosplay.  This style is a little different from crossplay in that you are changing the gender of the character you are cosplaying.  So, examples would be my gender-bend Doctor Strange.  I am cosplaying a girl version of Doctor Strange, instead of Stephen, let’s say Stephanie Strange.

So, that’s a quick tour of the different types of cosplay.  If we left anything out, please shoot us a comment.  We always love hearing from you guys.

Until next time…

Love, Kim and Benji

*All professional photos of us taken by Justin Davidson Photography

Getting Started with Cosplay

For the week heading up to WonderCon 2019, we are revisiting some of our best articles in regards to con attendance and cosplay.  Hope to see you in Anaheim next week!

As a cosplayer, I get asked a lot how to get started in the world of cosplay by my non-cosplaying friends.  Taking that leap is difficult.  It takes all of your self-confidence and gumption to get out there in your first cosplay.  My journey to being a cosplayer is just like my journey to be a self-loving confident woman…lots and lots of support and encouragement from friends.

My fellow blogger, Toni aka the Herald of Geek, is actually my “nerd prime”.  Not only with cosplay, but really introduced me into the nerdy world.  Flashback to several years ago.  I was newly single.  Becoming single was a huge shock (long story), and I had not been on my own for 22 years.  My group of friends were friends from the marriage, so I found myself without any friends of my own.  I was attending cons alone when my daughter couldn’t come with me, and I had no idea how to get out in the world again. I saw a Meetup.com group of fangirls that got together to play Magic.  I took a chance and met Toni.  She introduced me to people and invited me to events and now we are great friends.  I will talk more about nerdy meet-ups and hang outs in another post, but she sent a note out asking about who was interested in doing a cosplay group of Marvel poodle skirts.  I called Cap and a cosplayer was born!

My advice to you if you want to get into cosplay is to find a cosplaying buddy for one.  Two, keep it simple.  Three, pick something you love.  Four, enjoy the experience.

Finding that cosplay buddy- Just send out a group text and ask if anyone is interested in doing a cosplay with you.  Get up the courage and send that email!  Have something in mind, but let your friends know that you are open to suggestions as well.  Having someone to cosplay with helps takes the edge off as far as nerves and you can help build each other’s confidence.  There are a lot of superheroes and sidekicks out there to get you started.  There are also tons of larger groups that you can try.  Avengers, Justice League, Star Wars Rebels, just to name a couple.  Pick what inspires you.

I had been toying with the idea of trying cosplay, and then as luck would have it, I was invited to join a cosplay group.  The cosplay was also not complicated, poodle skirts.  Pick something simple.  Don’t go for the screen accurate Captain America from Age of Ultron complete with magnetic harness for the shield on your first go!  Look at costumes and see if it is something you can get store bought. A good example is Scarlet Witch from Age of Ultron.  Red leather jacket, black dress, black stockings and boots and you’re pretty much there.  My Scarlet Witch cosplay was 100% store bought.  Don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself.  This is supposed to be fun!

If you are like me and don’t know how to sew at all, there are tons of websites to get your cosplay gear.  Start with Etsy.  You will be able to find artisans that can make what you need there.  No matter how obscure the character, there is someone on Etsy that makes cosplay pieces for that character.  Bank on it.  Ebay is another great source.  Then hit up Amazon.  There are also some great sites that specialize in cosplay gear and even make custom costumes.  Cosplaysky.com is a great one.  For jackets, black-leatherjacket.com is fantastic.  I sent in my measurements and got a Scarlet Witch jacket that is screen accurate and didn’t cost all that much.

If you want to try your hand at some DIY, then youtube.com searches are the best.  Two of my favorites are GoldenLassoGirl and CuriousJoi.  They both post DIY tutorials as well as make-up tutorials.

Lastly, ask your fellow cosplayers for help.  The community is super supportive and helpful.  Just reach out.  More is merrier in the cosplay world.

Links to sites mentioned are located in the Find It Here Guide on this blog.

I hope that you try your hand at cosplay.  I know it is taking a chance, but it will be fun.  I guarantee it.  Please share your pictures with us so we can see what you created!

Love, Kim and Benji

This is What 150 Rubber Duckies Look Like…

Blog has a new name, so we got new ducks!

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We will be adopting these out at WonderCon, but if you just can’t wait that long, shoot us a comment so we can send one your way!

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And as for WonderCon, stay tuned…

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Love, Kim and Benji

DIY Saddle Shoes

I’ve talked a lot about these DIY sneakers as of late.  It is about time to show you how to make your own.

You will need:

  • Shoes
  • Fabric Paint
  • Paint Brush

First, the shoe.  I have arthritis in my right knee, which makes walking a lot difficult.  So, I found a great walking shoe from Skechers.  Get your own with this link.

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Now, the fabric paint.  Click on this link to get your own.  Lastly, the brush.  Click here to get your paint brush.

Now, basically a saddle shoe is just what the name implies.  It is a shoe that looks like it has a little saddle on it.  You can get any color shoe and any color paint and just go bananas if you want to.  There are no rules here.  You can match them with your outfit.  You can get a very inexpensive shoe if you they are for a one-off costume.  You can find very inexpensive sneakers in a variety of colors just about anywhere.  I chose my shoe because it was super good for walking all day.

So first thing, you need to chose how big or small you want the saddle to be.  Choose a natural line on the shoe to mark it.  Like in the pic below:

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You can see where the stitching makes a guide line for me to paint.

Then you just put a coat of paint on the shoe, wait a day and do one more and you are all set!

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And there is the finished product!  They turned out great, and have saved my feet at a number of adventures since.

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Happy painting!

Love, Kim and Benji

*Pro photos by Justin Davidson Photography

 

raisingaheronotavillain is now InPlainSight.style!

We have made a big change to the site, in case you haven’t noticed already!

We didn’t come to the decision to change the name lightly, but because it was so long, Benji is being raised pretty well so far and we wanted to change our focus a bit, we decided to make the leap.  We really wanted to focus on everyday living as a nerd.

How to integrate your fandoms into your everyday life.  Not with just everyday cosplay, which is fun to wear for sure, but also more subtle ways, bounding, dapper looks, pin-up style and the like.

THE NEW YOU (1)

We hope you like the update!  Please share your thoughts with us.  We love to hear from you!

Love, Kim and Benji

Wonderful photos by Justin Davidson Photography!  Click on the link to book him today!