One of the things that amazed me about moving to Southern California was how seriously people took Halloween. That there were Halloween stores all over the place blew my mind; I had never seen anything like that before. Thus, I was pleasantly surprised when my email bag produced this query:
Reader: With Halloween coming up, I’ve been thinking a lot about costumes. Do you feel that in order to be an effective Dom, you have to look the part? Do you prefer fetishwear over other clothes when you’re Domming?
As most of us live in the vanilla world, there is a certain vanilla-ness (what a word!) attached to our everyday way of dressing. Clothes have an incredible amount of power. They can put you into a specific space. A cop’s uniform conveys dominance even when worn in a fetish context – like the faux “cops” on parade at San Francisco’s legendary Folsom Street Fair. So the question of the role of clothes in a D/s relationship is one that bears asking. And you have!
I am in a live-in Master/slave relationship. Obviously, I don’t need to dress up in fetish clothes to be in command of my live-in sub. The D/s hierarchy should transcend clothing; if it did not, the relationship would crumble. Imagine if I had to put my ‘Dom clothes’ on to give my slave a request. This would be total insanity, if it weren’t so funny. (Clark Kent does it when he wants to ‘Dom’ Lois Lane; but that must be an enormous pain in the ass!)
When Domming my slave in a BDSM scene, especially at a play party, I like the feeling of dressing the part. I tend to wear a black shirt and black leather pants or black jeans. This has a twofold effect. First, when my submissive sees me dressed up that way, she knows I mean business. I am not sure (although I have yet to try it) if she would quickly get into ‘the mood’ if I wore a white shirt, khakis and a pencil pocket protector – with pens! I believe she gets an adrenaline rush when I put my “scening” clothes on. Of course, at this point in our relationship, this has become a conditioned response in her. Second, dressing up this way puts me in the mood. My “scening clothes” remind me that I am getting into Dom mode. It centers me; it is like instant meditation. Of course, this is only my opinion and the way I do it; this is a truly personal issue. But I do believe that any device that gets you out of ‘vanilla space’ and enables you to get closer to a BDSM consciousness has great value. It might not be essential; but it sure makes scening easier – and more fun.
There is a second part to your question, “Do I have to look the part?” that I find especially intriguing. In my opinion, you absolutely do not need to look a certain way to be an effective Dom, but it helps. I doubt that you can look like Pee Wee Herman (and even dress like him) and still be an effective Dom. So, in my personal life, I strive to “look the part” as best as I can. Shaved head, black clothing, black leather shoes or boots is how I look most of the time – except for appointments I have in the vanilla world. (Of course, the shaved head stays!) Right now, as I am writing this, I have on a black sleeveless shirt and black jeans – not my formal scening clothes, but Domly nevertheless. I think this is a subtle reminder to my slave that I am a Dom. And a reminder to myself as well.
In a 24/7 relationship, it is sometimes hard to maintain the hierarchy. Looking and dressing the Dom part on a regular basis gives me a certain edge. It helps maintain the D/s hierarchy in a natural and effortless way. And in any relationship, we need all the help we can get!
Notice I answered this question, since it said Dom and not Domme, from a male Dom’s point of view. But in the world of the female Domme, dressing the part seems essential. Lately, with the expansion of the kink world, there are more and more Dommes of every description – and almost all of them dress the part and then some. I doubt if a Mistress can be effective ordering a slave to worship her if she dresses like a total slob. I think the corset industry is very dependent on the Fem Domme world.
So, in closing, the best pre-Halloween advice I can offer is, “Dress for excess!”
About the Author
After a ten year run as head writer for the legendary bondage.com, and an equally long run as the host of the hit internet show “Baadmaster’s Dungeon,” we are pleased to welcome the one and only Baadmaster to KinkWeekly. His thoughts about all things BDSM will now appear regularly on these pages. From the mental aspects of D/s to the nuts and bolts of S&M play, Baadmaster will cover every facet of this ever expanding lifestyle.