At the moment I'm in a discussion on a forum that could very well be regarded as the height of costume elitism, and I felt that I wanted to get my opinions on this written down.
The first thing I want to say is that it's so easy to be elitist, to judge a costume more according to its faults than its merits, see the flaws in the details rather than the full picture. I know I'm myself has a tendency to do that when I see someone's costume, and I hate myself for it. I'm very conscious about not criticizing someone or bash them. I am part of two organisations 501st Legion and Rebel Legion that can at times be considered very elitist, and in my point of view that's correct when it comes to some individuals within the organisations as well. I think one reason why I haven't joined any historical costuming/recreation groups is probably because I don't want to get involved in the nitpicking of details in yet another field. I can say that I was definitely put off medieval costuming after having read some discussion forums were the use of anything machine sewn was bashed to the ground.
One important thing to remember is that for many people who are new to costuming, they don't "see" the same things as those of use who's been costuming for a long time. I've definitely learnt to pick up on details over the years. A good example is my old picnic gown.
When I see another costume remember that you don't know what skill level the costumer is on, and there might be a lot of
hard work behind a costume, even if you think it's bad. Not everyone
hold to the same standard as you do, and the important thing is to have
fun. For the record I've had more fun in my shiny, polyester blue
anglaise than in my more correct printed cotton anglaise, since the public sees the shiny blue one as nicer than than the more correct one.
So what is my point really? I guess it comes down to this:
Never bash another costumer,
instead be happy that there are so many people out there that likes dressing up, or else you would be very lonely in your perfect costume.