Last night’s contest was posted as “Styling Sophisticated Lady” and I was planning on giving it a pass. I’m not going to try to be a sophisticated lady. There’s only so much I can do in drag to be sophisticated.
At the last minute, the organizers changed it to “Styling Sophistication” which left the door open for me to participate, but left no time to actually prepare.
I didn’t let that stop me.
The word “sophisticated” comes from the same root as “sophism” which is an admittedly false argument presented in an elaborate manner as if it were true in order to fool the unwary – or illogical. So, when we act sophisticated we’re actually trying to fool people into thinking we’re something we’re not. It’s generally accepted as somebody who is worldly wise, the opposite of naive. I found this definition to be fitting as the event wore on.
The tuxedo, for men, is considered the epitome of sophistication. As the only suit in the world designed to make even a haired ape look presentable, it certainly fills the bill by clothing the male form in a complicated argument that fools people into thinking the wearer has some level of savoir faire. I have several outfits that are considerably more sophisticated than a tux, but the problem is in convincing the judge that it’s really sophisticated and not just weird. That task, I did not feel up to.
So the AlphaMale Casual Tux – one of my favorite suits – came out of inventory and paraded on the stage last night. I added JCS shoes and a nice MADesigns hair – something a little more James Bondy than my normal mop top. It looked pretty good and as an outfit – tuxedo without a tie or cummerbund – substituting a choker for the bow tie, it was certainly sophisticated enough.
Except it wasn’t.
The judge – and please understand when I say this – was a newbie. Not like, somebody who dressed like a newb — altho he did. Not somebody who acted like a newb. I didn’t get close enough to find out. But the rezdate on the avi was June 7, 2009. He got to be the judge by buying enough votes in the weekend boost-your-vote event to earn the right to sit in the judge’s seat.
My only hope is that it’s really somebody’s alt who actually does have some understanding of what it takes to be a model. His personal style – and his choices – were inscrutable. He sure looked like a newb. And while it’s not unusual for a judge to make picks I don’t agree with, I can sometimes see the logic behind the choices.
Last night? Not so much.
What Would I Do Differently?
I could have actually gone with a more sophisticated look, less elegant but more worldly. I have a couple of nice suits that I could have worn with some very stylish shirts and — perhaps — a pair of tartan chucks.
I could have gone more mainstream with a classic tux from Edo or SF Designs.
I could have played it for laughs and gone as Coco Chanel again. It’s hard to argue with the sophistication of Coco. Although perhaps not when played in drag.
Anyway, I got my two votes, and I saw a practical demonstration of why the judging in these contests is amusing, but largely, a crap shoot. It’s an important lesson to take away. Learning how to model by basing one’s actions on feedback from a random set of judges — all of whom have different styles, differing aesthetics, and different levels of expertise. Some of the feedback might be good. Some of it is undoubtedly bad. Some of it you just need to take with a grain of salt and check it against your own sense of style.
suit: AlphMale Casual Tux Black
shoes: JSC – Sebastian Black
necklace: Sable Rose – Walkabout Choker Silver
Hair: MADesigns Bernard (TB tinted darker)
Eyes: E’s Gleaming Forest Green
Skin: LeLutka Absolute Tan