MEMBER OPINION: The Suit Is Only a Costume - Or Is It?
04 August 2022
Growing up, I despised dressing up. I revolted against any clothing that remotely resembled professional wear. As a kid, even jeans were a no. Dressing up was prison, but instead of being detained from public view, I felt I was shoved onto center stage when I went out dressed up. They were figure-hugging prison uniforms with designer labels. I believed everyone saw my baby fat shooting out of my tucked-in button-down shirt. My tie was always too tight. And having too pee was a nightmare. One would expect as I got older, evolved into myself, and appreciated a diverse spectrum of clothing for various occasions that, too, my personal taste diversified, and I adjusted to dressing up. The "one" in the previous sentence was my mother, and I disappointed her plenty…
I still hate dressing up. For me, suits represent conformity, dull professions, and money wasted. I hate how I feel and look in suits. The idea of any "suit" in general never appealed to me. When I started having sex, I embraced roleplay, I soon became curious about the different "costumes" kinksters wear, and the roles that come with them. The most obvious being traditional business suits. But "suit" material often varies - popular ones include rubber, latex, lycra, spandex, denim, nylon, sports gear and of course, leather. The concept of suits in relation to costumes connects to any role a kinkster assumes, like BDSM master, cowboys, doctors, police officers, and many others.
It wasn't until I entered the world of kink that I realized that while I may not fancy certain suits on myself, fetishizing the suit/costume on other men excited me more than I predicted. Soon after that, a concrete fetish formed, one that doesn't have a name. I call it…
The contradiction of aesthetic fetish.
In role play, it's common for costumes to complement one another, that they should and do exist in the same world. In the traditional BDSM scene, masters typically wear a leather suit and slaves wear something complementary to that, but with specific accessories to signify he is the slave, like a collar, for instance. Sometimes, the costumes are different to serve the dynamic. For example, in the doctor/patient scenario, it's not customary for the patient to be dressed as a doctor too. To many, if the costumes or suits are similar or different doesn't matter, provided they make sense for the scenario. For me, I find the contradiction of aesthetics erotic; the competing energies is stimulating. And it all comes down to the power each aesthetic, costume, or suit emanates.
As previously mentioned, men in traditional business attire simultaneously triggers me, and bores me. Until now, I've been able to avoid employment wherein I'm expected to wear suits. But in the kink world, especially in boss/employee roleplay, a man in a suit can be extremely arousing to me, especially if I'm dressed in a competing aesthetic. My handle name is NikeShoxJock. So, imagine a scenario wherein my boss summons to me to his office to discipline me for my poor performance. Instead of wearing a traditional suit, I'm wearing traditional jock wear: decked out in Nike clothes, wearing a jockstrap underneath, and Nike sneakers. As a sub, I enjoy playing the brat. I like my doms to be first and foremost, brat tamers.
Upon entrance to my boss's office, not only do our attitudes and perspectives on my performance differ, but our aesthetics differ as well. At the peak of our argument, hearing my boss say something like, "You're just an arrogant boy dressed in sneakers, whereas I am your boss, look at me and how I'm dressed. I deserve your respect and I'm going to make you respect me." Should my dom, dressed perfectly in his suit, continue with that line of thinking, doubling down on the obvious differences in our aesthetics, thereby mocking me for my jock aesthetic, and making the argument it's his suit that would garner the immediate praise for intellect, wealth, and class, I would find it more challenging to present myself as a brat. As someone who enjoys wearing the jock "costume" in not only my everyday go-to life, but also in my role as a kinkster, the clothes themselves, from the jockstrap to the high-end athletic Nike sneakers, make me feel powerful. It's my power source on which I base my brat jock character. When my dom and I fight for power, a verbal sparring match comprises my dom degrading my aesthetic, which serves as a form of power exchange. There are plenty of scenarios that complement my contradiction of aesthetic fetish, including leather dom/jock, cowboy/jock, and professor/student.
While drafting this article, I was inspired to take the idea of "costume" and "suit" and "aesthetic" forward. My regular everyday clothes are not different to how I like to dress during play, but often the suits kinksters wear are not the outfits they portray to the real world. Generally, one doesn't see one walking around donning a latex suit. So, when it's finally time to play, donning the specific suit, which normally isn't excepted or "approvable" attire in everyday public life, presents a thrill like no other. First the suspense builds up waiting to put on the suit, then the erotic rush from wearing it brings about a kind of euphoria.
But this isn't the case for everyone. Take an actual businessman who, like me, sees a suit as a prison uniform. While he may enjoy his job, he can't wait to undress at the end of the workday. Putting a mirror to this, it's also interesting to note that the opposite is true. While the businessman may view his suit as a trigger for his work and the stress that comes with it. Outside of work, whether out in public or in a kink scene the perception changes. He may derive the same rush of power most kinksters experience when they wear the costume or suit that represents their fetish.
The question now presents itself: Why does this suit or costume make me feel powerful? Well, why does a respectable man wear a suit? To show he works. Okay, then what? To show he works in a sophisticated workplace. Okay, go further. To show he makes money. Which means? He's well educated. Which says what? He has class. And that says what about his personality? He's confident and intelligent. And for a sub that means? He'd make a great dom. And there you go…
Now, this isn't the formula for every individual. This is an assumption, a general pathway of thinking. But the real reason he wears a suit is because society expects that of him. It's the rules inherited from prior generations. Sophisticated clothing has always drawn a sharp contrast between societal classes. Fashion choices lead to assumptions about any individual. Why do men who embrace the traditional BDSM scene wear leather? (That's a whole other article—dissertation in it of itself.) But leather is the inherited norm. I don't think a sub or slave would take a traditional master seriously if say, he's wearing a rubber suit—and this is not to offend anyone with a rubber fetish, but societal norms, even in kink, tell us that leather commands respect. So, doms and masters looking to establish themselves as such may not personally have a leather fetish, but don leather anyway to assume the established role. The power source is not rooted in the leather per se or a leather fetish, but the inherited aesthetic. It provides a sense of belonging, a kink nametag, if you will.
Finally, is it all just a costume for the purpose of fantasy? For many, no. For masters and slaves who enjoy such a dynamic as a lifestyle, the power from certain suits and costumes is lived and experienced nearly twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Anyway, my point is, the power one gets from their suit of choice mainly is experienced when one is in a kink scene. But power can be split two ways: the sexual way and the self-confidence way. In kink, we respect the power that emanates from the costume. In real life, seeing a sexy cowboy or leather dom doesn't always affect the same response. However, the self-confidence rooted in the power we get from dressing a certain way in kink shouldn't only exist in kink. Admittedly, this is wishful thinking on my end; the "costume" we wear to assume a role in kink, shouldn't only positively affect us in our kink life. What we do during play is an escape from real life, yes. And engaging in certain BDSM-related acts can positively influence our everyday lives - like how to accept things we cannot control.
Why can't the costume we wear in kink and the aesthetic we give-off accomplish influencing our real life for the better? When you look good, you feel good. Yes. But savor the rush you get from putting on that suit or costume. And in real life, even though you're not physically wearing it, give yourself permission to exalt the same affect. Let our kink aesthetics teach us about our real-life aesthetics.
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