Dressing Up on the Job: How Costumes Make Their Way into the Workplace
Dressing up for Halloween or cosplay events seems like pure leisure, but costuming has become so popular among working adults, it was inevitable for costumes to make their way into professional settings. This blog was supposed to be about costume aficionados and their favorite outfits of all time. We sought out costumers willing to share pictures of the outfits they are most proud of and asked them to tell us about the events they attended. We expected responses from cosplay geeks and obsessed Halloweeners sharing pictures of their appearances at comic-cons or posing at Halloween parties as their favorite characters. Although we did get a few of those, we received submissions from professionals with very cool jobs or businesses, and the events they attended were mainly work related. Sorry for this one, [non-working] cosplay Geeks! These folks are much more interesting right now and they are paving the road for you to be able to wear your geek badge proudly at work someday.
We know all about geek pride at work. Working in the Halloween industry, it is obvious that costumes are present in our daily lives. Every now and then, someone from our team will be fully outfitted in a superhero or princess outfit for work purposes. We send our troops to local cosplay conventions (like the Florida Supercon), charity events, and we’ve hosted Halloween events at our own facility in Miami.
But you don’t have to be in the business of costumes for them to be relevant in the workplace. As we found out, costumes can be present in almost any profession that inspires creativity or at the very least, a job where you’re allowed to have a little fun. We selected the most interesting submissions from professionals in various fields that show different ways that costumes can make their way into the work place. If you are passionate about costumes and considering career options that embrace your fandom, check out these professions:
Ghost Tour Guide
Meet Candace and Zack Fahey, co-owners of Santa Monica Ghost Tours, in (you guessed it) Santa Monica, CA. Their passion for the paranormal and extensive knowledge of their city led to the creation of this unique tour that educates guests on the haunting history of Santa Monica. Candace and Zack love costumes and they occasionally dress up in eye-catching outfits to promote their business at the Santa Monica Pier. While the fantasy of costuming helps them get the attention of their prospects, the eerie experience of their tour is far from fiction. The stories behind every stop on their tour are ALL real! They sure beat going to the movies for a horror flick any time of the year—especially during Halloween.
In the image above you can see Candace and Zack cosplaying as Rocky and Magenta from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Gamora and Star-Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy. For the most part, Candace, Zack and their tour guides only wear their Ghost Hunter t-shirts to not distract guests from the very real experience of their tour. However, during Halloween, you can catch them wearing these and other of their favorite costumes, like the girl from The Ring and their original character, Sandwich Head. See more of them on Instagram—handle: @hauntedsantamonica.
Yes, you read right! Officiating a wedding does not have to be a traditional ceremony that brings guests to tears—of boredom. Wedding ceremonies can be fun, entertaining and all about tears of joy. No one has more expertise making weddings entertaining than Alan Katz, Presiding Officiant at Great Officiants, in Southern California. You may also know him as “Elvis Kenobi” (from the picture above), a mash up of the lucky couple’s favorite icons—Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and Elvis Presley. Like a Jedi, Alan has mastered the art of officiating weddings; he uses costumes to offer unforgettable themed weddings to his clients. Alan gets to dress up in costumes quite often as he officiates weddings with themes ranging from movies to classic cosplay and Halloween favorites like renaissance and steampunk. Some of the costumes Alan has donned while officiating include Superman, Borat, Ozzy Osbourne, Harry Potter, pure Elvis and pure Obi-Wan. Check out the local news coverage of Alan’s famous Elvis Kenobi wedding:
Costumes and fashion go hand-in-hand, but a fashion designer who is also a costumer elevates the quality of costumes to levels far above the typical Halloween and even cosplay enthusiast’s designs. Erika Neumayer is the owner and designer of Rare Dirndl, a clothing brand dedicated to bringing authentic, innovative, high-quality Bavarian fashion to the U.S. She was inspired by the lack of progress in German dirndl designs in the U.S. in contrast to the styles in Germany that were “lightyears ahead.” Her designs were more than well received by the German community in Chicago, where she resides, and her business took off. Rare Dirndl is now an international brand but Erika is still close with the German community in Chicago, where it all started. Erika takes part in the German Mardi Gras Society of Chicago’s costume party known as Fasching. Every year for the past five years, Erika has participated in the costume contest at the party with her own designs and every time she has won with her innovative blends of Bavarian fashion and costume themes. This year was no exception; she won first place in the contest with her—now favorite— Gear Heads costumes that she designed for her and her sister. As you can see from the image above, the costumes are a unique twist of steampunk on a classic Bavarian dress. The dirndls, harnesses, the vest and some of the jewelry were made by Erika, and the vintage shirt and buckle were added to complement her original designs along with the masks. Check out some of Erika’s winning costumes from previous years:
What About Costumes at the Office?
While all the above mentioned professions allow for costumes to play an important role, there are careers that simply don’t lend themselves to the type of creative output that employs costumes. Still, that doesn’t mean that white collar closet geeks don’t stand a chance to display their fandom at the work place. Many companies in the technical field allow and even encourage employees to dress up as their favorite characters for Halloween and other holiday office parties. Google is a prime example of this since it is the epitome of a tech company. They throw what the Business Insider said in 2014 to be “The Most Outrageous Office Party Ever” for Halloween.
However, you don’t have to work at Google to enjoy a little cosplay at the office. Gwendolyn Kestrel is a Digital Analyst at seoWorks, a search engine marketing firm that helps businesses to get found on behemoths like the one mentioned above. While costumes don’t really sit well with the everyday operations at the office, they do set time aside for play. Gwendolyn can be seen below cosplaying as Lady Loki (female version of Thor’s adoptive brother) at an office Halloween event. A cosplayer at heart, she made the costume from individual pieces gathered from online shops, a local thrift store and even her own closet.
Other Professions That Involve Dressing Up
A few years ago we covered costumes in New York’s Times Square in a blog titled “Times Square, the Crossroads of the World.” In it, we talked about the many individuals who earn tips in Times Square by dressing up in character costumes and posing for pictures with tourists. This is one clever way to make a living doing what you love—if you love dressing up and enjoy entertaining children. Like these folks, there are many people that offer professional entertainment services in costumes.
Children’s Party Entertainment
Who hasn’t been to a cheesy kid’s party where a goofy clown is invited to entertain guests with slapstick comedy, bad magic tricks and balloon animals? Well, not all kids’ party entertainers are this clichéd. You can find entertainers that specialize in bringing superheroes, princesses, pirates and holiday mascots to life at the parties they host. Our good friend, Carlos Vargas, is a talented entertainer and local promoter that puts costumes to great use at many of the events he hosts. He was featured in a piece we did a while back about an Easter event he hosted.
Mall Santa or Elf
In the same trend as party entertainers, mall Santas and Elves are all about entertaining children, except they carry a huge responsibility of keeping a certain magic alive to not tip-off the kids about their true identity. Fail at this and you may be loathed by parents for ruining their child’s Christmas and possibly scarring them for life as you strip off a piece of their innocence. EEK! If you are anything like Willie or Marcus in Bad Santa, stay away from this profession. It takes a special kind of personality to make a mall/photo-op Santa work. But if you love dressing up in a Santa costume, listening to children’s materialistic wishes (for the most part) and having your picture taken with hundreds (even thousands) of strangers’ kids every year, this is definitely an option for the costume enthusiast in you.
Stage and Film Acting
This is probably the hardest profession to get into that employs costumes but it is also the most obvious one. Stage and film actors have to perform in very accurate costumes to properly portray the characters they are playing. This makes theater wardrobe the highest, most respected form of professional costuming. While Halloween trick-or-treaters and cosplayers can get away with endless discrepancies and amateurish hacks of DIY costuming, professional theater and film costumers have to meet and exceed the industry quality standards in order to be accepted as such. By the time an actor gets to wear a theatrical costume on the stage or set of a production, it has been regarded as a piece of art that becomes a valuable relic after the production closes. Best of luck to those who wish to make it in that field.
Get Dressed Up
At Wonder Costumes, we take pride in our wide selection of costumes and accessories ranging from popular trends to hard-to-find niche products that make all the difference your character portrayal. Whether you are a Halloween fan, a geeky cosplayer or a theater professional looking for quality theatrical costumes, we have outfits, props and accessories to help you transform. Contact us at 1-800-288-9916 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or wish to inquire about specialty products not listed on our web store.