I didn’t hide the fact that I was not a ink-covered chick when I went to the expo. I have my tattoos in not so out-there places. I have my piercings that I think are fashionable and cool. But I wasn’t covered head to toe trying to explain my childhood with a narcissist mother and a messed up social life with ink and rings. Oh trust me…. those things did play a part in my artwork and piercings! But for the most part, this was strictly a media event for me.
Even as a mild outsider looking in, my fashion and glamour side would kick in when I saw something inappropriate and all I could do was shake my head. It seemed the younger attendees had something more to prove, but girls, let me tell ya: what you were proving will probably be a Maury episode in the future.
So what were my “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” when it came to MY line of work? I didn’t take photos of them…. well, because that’s just wrong. But hellz to the yeah I am going to tell you all about them:
1. DO–It’s okay to dress provocatively professional. I work from home. On days I “dress up”, I usually wear jeans and a nice shirt. If I put a bra on, it’s a REALLY big deal. If its “casual as hell day”, I bust out a nice cami and maybe some Juicy Couture sweats. Hey, that’s MY casual, not me being a bum. One day at the expo I wore I nice mini with a lace top and caged sandals. The other I wore side-lace up jeans and an animal print top. On paper, both sound like they could be seen inside at your local pole-dancing event. But worn with the right accessories and the right dose of self confidence?…. it looked hot!
2. DON’T–If you want to wear a skirt to show off your leg ink, don’t wear shoes you can’t walk in. There is a line in the song “Price Tag” by Jesse J that goes: “You got your shades on your eyes and your heels so high that you can’t even have a good time….” Take. Heed!! If you shake and wobble more than Jello or you have to take tiny little steps like you are trying to rid the world of red ants, one at a time, those are not the ones to wear. ANYWHERE! Girlfriend, lemme tell ya…those guys aren’t looking at you because they think you and your shoes are sexy. They are watching to see when your first face plant happens because, I guarantee, there is a side bet going on somewhere.
3. DO–Feel free to wear something that does show off a bit of you art. If you have a full sleeve, wear a cool graphic short-sleeved tee. If you have a nice piece on your leg, wear a semi-long pair of comfy shorts that shows some of it, doesn’t have to be all of it. If you are a girl, a jazzy cami is perfect for showing off some back and arm ink. Boyfriend jeans or capris with sandals is perfect to show off ankle or foot work.
4. DON’T–Fellas, if you have a nice chest piece do not wear a fishnet tank or a vest with no shirt if you still have every chest hair of winter growth showing. If your demonic skulls have warped into looking more like the StayPuft marshmallow man on Rogaine, mow that lawn down. Or.. (love this one)… the girl who has no ink or piercings but dresses like her first appointment is at 10pm on the 3rd floor and involves no ink at all (if you get my solicitation drift). Please, please just…just don’t. Think first, then dress accordingly.
5. DO–Think about what you are wearing from head to toe, including accessories for the women. You may have a favorite top, a favorite skirt and favorite pair of shoes, but that does not mean they have to be worn all at the same time. A designer t-shirt, flowered maxi skirt and comfortable sneakers are all necessities in my closet at all times. But you’ll never see me wear them OUT of the house simultaneously. I don’t care if it’s a polo match or a chicken wing eating contest–TASTEFULLY COORDINATE! Remember, if you plan on dropping your artist’s name because you are proud of their work, give them the benefit of the doubt and dress so they’d be proud you’re wearing it!
6. DON’T— If you have a sexy black bra with matching undies, good for you–you get your groove on girlfriend! If you wear them under a white dress, under a lace top that unbuttons to your belly button or if you wear them under a skirt where bending in any angle will allow me to see more than your GYNO sees? Yeah–RETHINK that!
7. DO— Keep this it mind, a fabulous quote from Tim Gunn: “If you have to ask if a clothing item is a dress or a top, it is always a top.” Case closed.
8. DON’T— All those buzzing needles, bottles of beer and mechanical bull rides can jar a few important brain cells loose and shift to the other side of your head. Keep your head on straight. Tattoos and piercings should NOT be an impulse decision. Think about it. Then think about it again, sober, after a good night’s sleep. My personal rule of thumb is if you haven’t changed your mind about what you want tattooed, where you want it, or what you want pierced for AT LEAST 30 days, you are probably definite about your decision.
9. DO— Enjoy yourself, but ask questions. If you really see a tattoo or a piercing in your future, talk to as many artists as possible. Look at pictures, talk to former clients, ask how long they’ve had the work. (The longer & brighter the tat?…The better the artist is and the higher the quality of his supplies.) Also, ask about the artist’s tattoo shop. How long have they been there? Is it clean? Sterile? Busy? If a tattoo artist is “available anytime next week”, there might be a reason his date book isn’t full. I always have to wait 3-4 weeks to see my artist. Why? Cuz he’s GOOD.
10. DON’T— Don’t be shy! People have put themselves out there at the expo to show off the work they have had done. Be polite, be personal and show them what you’ve got. Don’t be close minded either. Sometimes artists have an idea about a tat you might want that would take it to a whole new level. And if someone asks YOU what you think about a tat? Be honest! A girl in the ladies room had a tracing of a tiger she wanted on her arm. It was awesome, but it was wicked off center. It wasn’t balanced. She finally agreed and had the artist move it over. He was probably pissed, but it looked a whole lot better! Better rep for his shop too.
So there are your do’s and don’ts when you decided to head to a tattoo expo. Will you be there? Will I see you? I hope so! I couldn’t be happier about each piece of ink I have and my reasons behind them. It’s a hell of a story. Probably will get something else in the future. I’ll know it when I see it. Hopefully someday our paths will cross and I’ll get to show–and tell!–YOU all about them!