It got off to a rocky-ish start, but it's a fine little con :)
The rocky: driving in traffic in 90F weather with no A/C. Also, my calf seized from freezing on the brake too long and the "ping" took the rest of the weekend to work itself out up my right side - not pleasant.
But, the good:
Good people! Dress U is small (only 35 people, but, hey, it's only their 2nd year) so it was easy to keep track of names and faces. I got to hang with danabren
and co., and conversation flowed easily and hilariously. I was surprised but pleased at the number of people who came from way out of town - New Orleans and SF were represented along with much of the mid Atlantic.
The classes: many were Victorian-oriented, which isn't necessarily my cup of tea, but I find that I can find something unusual and interesting in almost any costume-related presentation, and this was no different. The class on presentation at the Edwardian court was a nice slice of social history, in which I learned to curtsey in a train. And speaking of trains, I attended a class on dust ruffles which illuminated just how one kept one's dress train clean during the 19th century.
Possibly the one most immediately useful were tips and tricks on how to get decent costume photos. Simply changing the angle and lighting can make a huge difference, even with a smart phone. Need to employ this new knowledge SOON.
The events: I enjoyed that there wasn't the pressure of a competition or masquerade, but plenty of events to dress for: formal dinner, mad tea party, tiara and jampagne (which unfortunately I couldn't stick around for). It inspired me to pull out the stops, bring my gear and make an effort! I couldn't hold a candle to most of the people there - these folks are disciplined and far more talented than I, and it was a joy to just look
I am also starting to see the appeal of tiaras, though I imagine it would take some doing to find one that will stay in short hair.
My wardrobe: not as cumbersome as expected; I got most of it into a single large Tupperware bin, 1 hat box, and a couple of hangers. I restricted myself to two changes a day for convenience, with a fairly even split between women's (mock Fortuny, front lacing kirtle, Regency ball gown) and men's (tux and top hat, doublet and venetians, militaryesque vest and bicorne) throughout the weekend. danabren
was kind enough to help me get into my Regency outfit and I was pleased that it still fit after ~3 years. Even with shift, stays, and petticoat underneath it was still surprisingly cool, and I DID finish the accessories to go with (picture forthcoming).
Give my muscle twinge it was convenient that I spent most of the first day in stays of one sort or another, as they helped support my back (as an aside, they also make doing push-ups easier. But I digress).
Also of note: much as I love historic women's clothing, I am too severe looking to meet the ideals of most historic periods' ideals of female beauty, but damn, can I rock the menswear! (It's also easier to dress myself).
My only regret is that there wasn't more conversation. The first night was an absinthe-fueled gabfest of getting to know you and wild costume adventures, but by Saturday many of us were tired. In a way it was for the best - I needed to spend some time flat on my back.
Will definitely consider doing this one again, for the chat aspects at the very least!