Looking Glass: Inspired-By

I’ll be headed down to San Diego in less than a week for Comic-Con, and I’m still deciding what to wear. If you’re in the same boat, hopefully this post and the one about graphic tees from earlier this week will help! And since some of these looks will be more subtle when it comes to its geekiness, they’re another way to incorporate your fandom into your day-to-day and travel wardrobe.

Remember when I talked about using a theme to spice up those T-shirt-based looks? This is a similar idea, and it takes a page from the Disneybound* book. But first, what is Disneybounding? It’s using fashion to show your love for Disney characters without actually putting on a costume; the term was created by Leslie Kay.

You build the outfit around a character’s visual motifs – usually their predominant colors but also accessories. This can be applied outside of just Disney characters, of course – leading to what I’ve sometimes seen called “geekbounding.”

I love the inspired by/ -bounding approach to geek outfits because it lets you use clothes you probably already have and/or it’s clothes you can wear normally, even if you bought it specifically for a disney/geek-bound outfit. I’m a huge fan of clothes that are multipurpose, especially if funds are limited.

But I’m going to break down the levels of “inspired by” outfits because you can go from generally inspired by to spot-on Disneybounds to something more like a costume (what I’ve seen referred to as closet or casual cosplay).

Inspired-By

This is the most casual level, and if you read the Graphic Tee post, it’s in the same vein as using a theme to plan your outfit. For my Alice in Wonderland-inspired look below, I took a few motifs from the character – the light blue and white colors of her dress, the rabbit imagery, a headband. It recalls the things associated with Alice without actually being her costume.

This Star Wars-inspired outfit is even more subtle. I accessorized with a Rebel Alliance emblem necklace, but the other inspiration I took was from the orange of the X-Wing pilot flight suits – hence, orange blazer, orange lipstick.

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Looking Glass: Graphic Tees

Comic Con season is upon us! For a lot of people of the geek/nerd persuasion, Con season is also high travel season; it’s maybe even the only vacations they take all year. The outfits we pack for conventions are probably going to be a bit more specific than the usual travel gear. So I wanted to post ideas about what to wear to express your fandom.

Let’s start with the easiest: the ubiquitous Graphic Tee (and tank). Graphic tees has been talked down a bit because of how common they’ve become, but just because they’re T-Shirts doesn’t mean you can’t do fun things with them. T-Shirts are comfortable and versatile and will likely be the easiest place for people to start experimenting with their geek style simply because most of us have a couple of geeky tees already.

Here are some ideas for how to style your tees – geeky or otherwise.

Color-Pop

Take your basic shirt + bottom (shorts, jeans, leggings, skirt) outfit and spice it up with color or patterns. If your shirt design is minimal or neutral colored, go with a bright and/or busy bottom. If your shirt is already a bit busy or colorful, you can still go bold on the bottom, but balance by having the bottom be a solid color or minimally patterned.

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And of course, you can mix two bold colors or patterns. Do what makes you feel comfortable.

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Alexander and Me

Two years ago today, the Sister and I were breathlessly seated in the very last row at the Public Theater – about to see Hamilton on stage for the first time. In honor of that anniversary, it seemed appropriate to share a little about my long-time history crush and the road that brought us to that room.

It took 5 years to get me into “the room where it happened” – or rather the house where Alexander Hamilton and his family once lived. The morning was bright and cold, and I had followed my friend uptown, navigating icy sidewalks until we arrived at the edge of St. Nicholas Park in Hamilton Heights, Harlem. Nestled in drifts of snow was a cheerfully yellow house built in the Federalist style. It was a Saturday at the end of February 2015, and it was the culmination of a trip I’d convinced my sister to take with me – flying across the country to a New York City still in mid-winter so that I could indulge my history geekery.

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The Sister marveling at the snow outside the Hamilton Grange.

An almost magical confluence of events and connections had led to this trip, involving a friend discovering my love of Hamilton and text messages about an upcoming off-Broadway musical that I honestly thought was not real. But the heart of this is my crush for the oft forgotten Founding Father, but that’s a story I have to the start to tell.

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How Nerds Travel (Pt 2): Express Yourself

I can’t believe it’s been 3 months since my last post, and I apologize for the long hiatus. While Marlon (Nerdcoolture) & I have taken a break from writing “nerd travel” blog posts to do actual nerd traveling, you can always find us posting about how we stay geeky on our adventures. I mean, in my case, it’s sort of the point of this blog!

That said, now seems an appropriate time to share this entry I started a while ago since it’s summer  – when many people go vacationing – and because San Diego Comic Con is coming up next week! What better time to travel in fantastic nerd style?

Last time, I talked about accessorizing to geek up your travel wardrobe in case you don’t have clothes appropriate for the destination or weather. I’d like to expand a little more on this topic because accessories are easily my favorite way to express my fandom loves and I don’t only mean outfit accessories.

RECOGNIZABLE LUGGAGE

Novelty suitcases are a simple and casual way to express yourself. You don’t even have to think about it because you’re going to need something to put your gear in anyway. Why not let it reflect what you love?

One of the best fandom things my sister has purchased is her R2-D2 carry-on luggage (from ThinkGeek). During our recent trips, the Sister has received so many compliments on it because it’s instantly recognizable as the scrappiest astromech in the galaxy! People get a kick out of seeing R2, and it brightens up some of the most stressful parts of traveling – rushing around the airport, station, etc. In that moment, we all get to share in a bit of joy thanks to a simple expression of nerdiness.

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[Photo/ @catherine]

But if novelty suitcases aren’t your thing, you can accessorize your luggage with clever tags, straps,  and stickers. There are so many cool designs and decals to choose from, you could transform a plain black case into your own fandom masterpiece.

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If artist Nilah Magruder gets her adorable Hamilton luggage straps in stock, I am so getting one.

Not to mention, if you check your bags, it’ll be a lot easier to identify your geeked out pieces at baggage claim among the sea of basic black and gray ones.

GEEKCHIC HANDBAGS

Aside from your luggage, you’re likely to have some kind of shoulder bag or even fanny pack on your travels. Here’s another accessory you can use to be nerdy. You can go with the obvious like Loungefly’s line of Disney and Star Wars purses or you can be more subtle by accessorizing regular handbags. Tie a geeky scarf or handkerchief to your purse strap. Clip on purse keychains featuring charms or badges from your favorite book or TV show. Braid ribbon in your Hogwarts House colors along the handles.

For something a bit more gender-neutral, messenger bags and handbags that aren’t obviously themed can be decorated in much the same way – with pins and patches and key chains.

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NERDY KNICKKNACKS

Speaking of keychains, your actual keychain is an unobtrusive place to be geeky and functional. I have a Lego Loki in my purse at all times because he holds my keys. Depending on what it is, it can doubly function as a photo prop.

There are also lots of choices when it comes to wallets, business card holders, and phone cases. I also like cute passport holders. One of my favorites is this one that looks like a Penguin Classics cover of the book On the Road, which I gifted to my sister for her birthday one year. Hers has been on quite a few adventures.

Of course, I’m rarely without pen and paper. There’s almost always a notebook in my bag, and while I’m a fan of the plain Moleskine, you can definitely find fancier journals for documenting your latest treks. Get a notebook that shows off your passion or decorate a plain one. The one I’m currently using features Tolkein’s illustration of Smaug!

The point of all this is that you can take your nerd love with you without having it be part of your wardrobe. Maybe you’re on a business trip and that Batman hoodie just isn’t going to cut it for the dress code, but you can still rep that love with a luggage tag or a business card holder elegantly etched with the Batman emblem. For me, having even a small reminder of the things I enjoy is comforting.

Travel can be stressful and there is always some element of the unknown to it. Having something familiar with you can be the confidence boost you need or a piece of solace in the whirlwind of being on the move. It’s like having a bit of the Light of Eärendil to light your way through the dark.

These are some non-outfit-based ways I keep my fandoms in my life when I’m on the roam. Next time, I’ll share what things I try to always fit on to my packing list.

 

Q4U: What different ways do you express your geekery when you travel? Got any traveling goods recommendations for me?

Concord & The Revolution

On this day, April 19, 1775, two skirmishes occurred between the British Redcoats and colonial militia in Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts. These events together are seen as the opening “battles” of the American Revolution. The confrontation that happened in Concord, in particular, would later be known as “the shot heard ’round the world,” a phrase coined by American poet and writer – and Concord native – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

And in October 2015, I visited the place where it happened with the Sister during the last leg of my U.S. History vacation. Yes, I requested and planned a vacation with my friends around seeing Revolutionary History sites, and you’ll be hearing more about that in time on this blog. Concord wasn’t originally on my itinerary and is not a place I thought I’d see given that it’s a small town and a bit out of the way from Boston, but when my friend Tracey* offered her hospitality at nearby Lowell (another historical town – an old mill town, in fact) and a ride to Concord, I couldn’t say no. She knew to tempt me with Revolutionary and literary history (and apple cider donuts).

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