We all wear costumes, every day.
One of my long standing pet peeves is the delineation in fashion between "regular" clothing and "costumes". I have seen many times a designer is asked to push boundaries and create new silhouettes yet when they do, they are told it looks too much like a costume. My personal philosophy is that most of our clothes ARE costumes. "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have." "Dress to impress." Even, "Every girls crazy about a sharp-dressed man."
Let's start with a basic definition of costume.
According to www.dictionary.com:
Costume : noun
a style of dress, including accessories and hairdos, especially peculiar to a nation, region, group, or historical period.
dress or garb characteristic of another period, place, person, etc., as worn on the stage or at balls.
fashion of dress appropriate to a particular occasion or season:dancing costume; winter costume.
a set of garments, especially women's garments, selected for wear at a single time; outfit; ensemble.
A business suit is just a costume that tells people you are a businessman. The brown UPS uniform, the green shirts at Publix, the blue shirts that my local pizza delivery driver wears, these are all costumes. They enable us to see, at a glance, who or what you are. Why then is wearing a 'costume" seen as something strange? Unless you get dressed each morning strictly based on how much skin you should cover, you are most likely putting on a costume. We pick out our t-shirts and clothes for the very reason that they tell people the things we like and the causes or groups we associate with. Something as simple as a baseball cap with your team's logo is nothing more than a costume accessory that lets other people know something about you.
We decide who a person is within seconds of first seeing them. There are great articles here and here on how important that first impression is and how hard it is to get people to change it. Scientists have found that we decide if someone is friendly or trustworthy within a second of meeting them for the first time. We judge quickly and change our opinions only after extended contact. Why shouldn't we use every thing we have in our arsenal to make people see us in a way that accurately reflects who we are? Call it a business suit, a work uniform, even a tuxedo... it is all costuming.
If nothing else, just remember this. In thirty years, someone, somewhere, will be researching what "fashion" was like in the early part of the 21st century so they can recreate it in costume.
Who do you want to be today? Dress for THAT.