The Hoosierist Goes To Gen Con

Think the attendees are strange? Check out the exhibitor booths.
There are plenty of games at Gen Con, and plenty of gamers to play them—49,000 last year and probably more for this edition, which runs through Sunday at the Indiana Convention Center. As The Hoosierist is pathologically afraid of dice (especially the ones with lots of extra sides), however, he spent his Gen Con session Thursday morning in the vendor area, seeking the latest in geek fashion statements. Here is what he found:
If you’re looking for distinctive headgear, it doesn’t get much more distinctive than the fancy velvet fezzes at Fez-o-rama. A fez, in case you didn’t know, is that fuzzy, tasseled, flowerpot-shaped lid your grandpa wore to his lodge meetings. Fez-o-rama’s wares are festooned with everything from an embroidered Tesla coil to winged monkeys.
If you’re way into Japanese cartoon characters—to the point where dressing up like one starts to seem like a good idea—drop by the booth (or website). You’ll find real-world costumes for pretty much any big-eyed, blue-haired anime hero or heroine you care to mimic. Plus, for reasons The Hoosierist doesn’t care to contemplate, quite a few Japanese schoolgirl uniforms. Be advised that none of this comes cheap. The Blue Exorcist Chiemi Kimono Costume will set you back $81.95 all by itself.
Need the perfect final piece to trick out your steampunk cosplay gear? Swing by The Blonde Swan for a leather-intensive bowler, top hat, cowboy hat, or goggles. If you can wear it on your head (and it’s made out of cows), they’ve got it. There’s even a suede fez and a lady’s mini top hat called Deadly Sexy.
Speaking of leather, Crimson Chain Leatherworks provides gear for pretty much every part of your body: vests, hats, armor, you name it. Oh, and its website sells leather-studded collars and leather arm and leg cuffs. Ideal for the sorts of role-playing games that don’t involve dice.
Though the typical Gen Con attendee wears a T-shirt and jeans, for some reason roughly six different booths offer corsets—an highly restrictive, old-timey undergarment that’s fallen out of favor with everyone except dominatrixes and, apparently, cosplayers. The Hoosierist’s favorite is Festooned Butterfly, offering a wide range of “steel boned corsets for men and women.” The lineup includes Geek Corsets, Steampunk Corsets, and Classic Horror Corsets (though the idea of wearing any of these breath-stealing nightmares is horrifying).
Lots and lots of attendees are rocking kilts this year, and there are plenty of vendors on hand to supply them. Kommando Kilts features everything from classic Braveheart-style manskirts to demure khakis that wouldn’t look out of place on the golf course. There’s even specially made Gen Con gear, including a $75 leather dice bag. You can also obtain kilt-related accessories, including sporrans—a belt pouch that’s basically the ancient Scotch version of a fanny pack.
Do you like cute, fuzzy animals? Do you want to dress like one? Or, perhaps, do you fantasize about your girlfriend dressing like one? Check out the Paw Star booth and peruse the clip-on kitty ears, tails, paw gloves, and legwarmers shaped like fuzzy animal feet. Once again, The Hoosierist detects a certain decidedly non–G-rated subtext. Especially on the company’s website, where the goods are modeled by willowy women striking “naughty kitty” poses.
You can’t build a true geek wardrobe without some novelty T-shirts featuring excruciatingly obscure sci-fi in-jokes. You’ll find tons of these at Tshirt Bordello, including one featuring a drawing of an undead Christopher Walken that says “The Walken Dead” underneath. See what they did there? No? Then you obviously aren’t watching enough basic cable. And you’ll probably never understand the uber-obscure Star Trek reference behind the “Keeping Up with the Cardassians” shirt.
Finally, don’t miss the Xmas ornaments offered at Gen Con’s only seasonal booth, O Christmas Geek. Ever wanted a My Little Pony, Family Guy, or Doctor Who tree decoration? Now’s your chance. And if you’re jonesing for a Downton Abbey bulb, it’s got those, too. For some reason. There’s nothing to wear here, but The Hoosierist included this place on the strength of its awesome motto: Dork the halls.