Welcome the author of The Material Witness and the new Costume Shop mysteries. I reviewed the debut novel in the new series (click here). She will share more behind the new series, which I think you will find fun and interesting.
My parents gave me a long brown wig for my seventh birthday. It’s unclear how they knew that this would be an awesome present for a second grader, but I remember being delighted beyond my wildest dreams. One summer day, while my mom and dad were lounging out back of our house, I dressed up in my yellow dance leotard, a yellow, pink, and light blue maxi skirt, the long wig, and my mom’s oversized sunglasses and then went out back to join them.
I was surprised by how hard they laughed.
Throughout my growing-up years, costumes came and went. Sometimes they were in the form of inherited clothes from a great grandparent that were inappropriate for every day but possible for Halloween (a long, full black skirt with layers of netting underneath—perfect for a witch costume, a pair of baggy men’s pants from the forties—perfect for a hobo). Sometimes they were styles that went out of fashion but were relegated to the box of paint clothes (a pair of denim bell bottoms that were printed with seashells). Sometimes they were items made by my mom (a blue and white checkered dress inspired by Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz). I didn’t play dress up to be someone else, I played dress up because I was figuring out who I was.
As I got older, I started to develop my own sense of style. In the eighties, that meant neon, fishnet, and a punk-meets-preppy vibe. Clothes that others would have thought of as costumey felt completely normal to me. Thrift shop purchases mixed with sweaters worn backwards, two different colored shoes, men’s vintage tuxedo jackets and my mom’s bowling shoes became “me.” I went from being a quiet wallflower to having an identity.
Fast forward to today. Many of my outfits have names: there’s the Amelia Earhart (sage green leather dress with cargo pockets), the Coco Chanel (black boatneck sweater, wide leg pants, tons of pearls and a white camellia), my Chinatown suit (ivory pants and blazer). My black crocheted poncho makes me feel like Batman and I have no less than five dresses to choose from if invited to a luau. Like Margo in A DISGUISE TO DIE FOR, to me, costumes are clothes—or should I say clothes are costumes? Either way, I love getting dressed in the morning!
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THANK you for that great post!