Costuming Makes the Character

I don’t know about you guys, but one of my favorite things to do is design costumes for characters. I really enjoy the research and careful choices that have to be considered for the character being costumed. What is it that they wear? What do the pieces of their outfit mean? What do the pieces of their outfit show us about the life that they have lived? Costuming tells us a lot about the character if you let it. You could, if you really wanted say that “I’m playing a character who lives in the zombie apocolypse. Ratty jeans and a t-shirt. Go!” Or you could think about the character and what kinds of items they would have access to and why. You could think about the items that they had available to them, what they would chose, what they would be given. All those details could be considered and actually add to the beauty of the call.

Let me, like always, give examples from my own characters. I’ll start with my favorite: Jeanie Thomas.

Jeanie Thomas lives in the post apocolyptic zombie filled world. She lived for 22 years as a slave in a place called the Iron Works. She is an engineer and a mad scientist. She follow the beliefs of the Church of Darwin and is a priest of the church. She currently lives in the town of Second Hayven.

Her main outfit is something that would have been given to her by her owners. Her owners probably would not want to spend a lot of upkeep costs on a slaves outfit. That, and the slave is an engineer. The slave works almost entirely at a forge. So the clothing needs to be rugged. Cargo pants. Tank top. Button up Shirt to add over it for chillier days. Pants are severely patched up due to the nature of not wanting to spend too much money on the slave. The tank top would be the item most often replaced so this one will be newer, but dark in color so that it does not obviously need to be cleaned all the time. The top shirt has had buttons replaced, been patched up. It’s a lighter color since it is what was available at the time. But of course it is patched up. There are burn marks on it because she worked at a forge. There are also some grease stains all over it because she works with scrap metal.

On her belt is a tool belt with her engineering tools: a hammer, screw driver, pliers, magnifying glass so that she can see smaller items. She also has a pair of goggles. The goggles have been scrapped together from scrap pieces, so it was not aquired by her rich pure blood owner. This was made by someone based on the scrap items that they could find. Backstory item! It was actually made by the Iron Slave who raised her as a way to protect her eyes from anything that might explode near the forge.

She has a necklace. On the necklace is a spool of wire, a craftsman key chain, some key rings, and a bracelet. The spool of wire is soder for when she is welding at a forge. The craftsman key chain is a gift from her “big sis” who raised her. The key rings were used in her escape from the Iron Works. The bracelet was a gift from the character Father Lucien.

She has a hat, it is an Insane Clown Posse hat. It was gifted to her by the character Bones. She has a brown scarf from when she needed to hide her face due to some medicine she was taking. She has a pair of tinted goggles that help keep the sun out. They were gifted to her from a Lascarian named Makita who wanted to help her learn how to deal with her light sensitivity.

Even the makeup I do for the character has specific reasons for each piece. There is a tattoo on her left cheek. That was her designation number from her life in slavery. There are scars on her left forehead, right temple, and right cheek from when there was an explosion at her forge and shrapnel hit her in the face. When she is exhausted, I will do dark circles under her eyes to show that she has not been sleeping at all. All of these little details are parts of her costume.

Each piece has a meaning.

It gave the costume some meaning. It has made the costuming enjoyable. These are all the things I like to think about for costuming. What about you? What do you think about when costuming?

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