I don't often feel compelled to make fashion comments, and certainly don't intend to steer this blog away from its prime focus on things I have done, thoughts I had and how I felt about it all. That said, the sartorial code of BDSM is certainly noteworthy. I think that the aesthetic aligns neatly with Hebdige's thoughts on the punk subculture: that it is very consciously created, deliberately made or artificial. Some costumes are an obvious parody of the use-origin of the outfit upon which it is based. We get wipe-clean PVC policeman, slutty schoolgirls and not-at-all prim Victorian ladies. There's an element of wish fulfillment here, of turning those real world authority figures into fantasy Doms, and translating actual innocence into submission, and why not? We dress up to help create new worlds in which to play.
I like to think that Coco Chanel would have approved of the basic adoption of black by the scene, although it's hard to define one particular reason why that colour specifically should be the basis of the kinky wardrobe. There's the associations of the colour: edgy and dark (literally), gothic, mourning, formal and eternally stylish. Black is also simple and works well with the materials generally chosen such as leather or rubber, which helps distinguish fetish wear from cyberpunk or just plain punk.
Form is almost as important as colour. Tightly fitting items that accentuate body parts, or expose them. High heels extend legs and limit movement, as do hobble skirts. There is an exaggeration of posture with wasp-thin waists caused by crushing corsetry, or a removal of identity using encasing suits and hoods, leaving nothing but the shape. A reduction into silhouette. And we love our accessories: handcuffs, chains, studs, all kinds of toys and the pratically defining element - the collar. Sometimes it is those little touches that turn a normal everyday outfit into something kinky, a little code in silver around the wrist.
Of course, there is always the option of just turning up naked.
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