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As regular readers will already know, I have been to a few public events over the last year or so. I am now a regular at the Leeds Steampunk market (in a vague, loose coalition operating under the title of the Tea Society with Ninfa Hayes and R.A Smith and others) and at World book night I did a reading in the Fab café in Manchester. Now, this coming weekend I am going to be at the Stockton Literary festival…

Me with Starburst columnist Ed Fortune in front of a TARDIS.

Me with Starburst columnist Ed Fortune in front of a TARDIS.

The problem is that I have absolutely no idea what to wear.

You see, for Steampunk it is easy. I actually have quite a selection of waistcoats and cravats and could even go so far as to get a top hat should I feel it necessary (I haven’t so far, mainly stuck with the waistcoat and cravat look and a gentleman would never wear a hat indoors…). Ok, I am not up there with the dedicated goggles and nerf guns with cogs on brigade but I can dress well enough to look like I belong. Most of the traders there are steampunked up to a greater or lesser extent and while there are usually many ‘non steampunks’ in the crowd, you don’t look like an idiot – the only person wearing costume.

For World book night I might have had the ‘what to wear’ dilemma. However, the necessity of having to go straight from work to the venue (via the train station to pick up Frances Hardinge) meant that I was more or less limited to wearing what I wore at work. Since that day also coincidentally happened to be the day a member of the Royal Family was visiting work, this meant I was in a rather more formal shirt and tie than normal. In the photos you can even see the cufflinks. Though I had taken off the jacket and tie by that point.

me2But Stockton is not Steampunk nor is it right after a royal visit. I therefore have more or less free choice in what to wear. This means I am being indecisive. I could do the casual jeans and nerdy t-shirt that I usually wear when not at work. I could also do a more smart casual look – a shirt with jeans. So long as I avoid looking like David Cameron on holiday (which is a fate worse than death in many areas) I will probably be ok… But then I am wondering if I shouldn’t dress up more – bring out the waistcoat and cravat look or go in an even more bizarre costume? There are rumours of cosplay possibly happening there, after all and Blake Northcott recently did a con in Canada dressed as a sexy female Spiderman…

So, while I ponder these issues, I’d love to know your opinions. How do you expect a writer to be dressed when you meet them? What have authors you have met worn for cons and events? How much does a writer’s clothing matter?

And those of you in the UK, feel free to pop up to Stockton on Tees on the 6th of September for a lot of fun…

literary festival

D.A Lascelles is the author of Lurking Miscellany, Transitions (Mundania Press) and Gods of the Sea (Pulp Empires). He lives in Manchester UK. You can sometimes see him writing about Zombie porn on https://lurkingmusings.wordpress.com/ but he mostly blogs about books, vampires, science fiction and Terry Pratchett. He is inordinately proud of the fact that one of his Pratchett articles was referenced on the French version of the author’s Wikipedia page.

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Twitter: @areteus

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