A Quick Guide to Picking, Preparing, and Caring for Your Theater Costume 

Nothing is more exciting and fun than trying your theater costume on for the first time. You have sung your songs, practiced your lines and rehearsed your blocking, but once you have finally stepped into the clothes of your character – it just makes everything even more inspiring and a bit more realistic.

Theater Costume

For all stage productions, the costume is certainly important t
o you as an actor. Your character is being told to the audience through your costume and it also adds character to the mood of your piece. Costumes also contribute to the show’s overall look. Because of that, there are very important rules to be followed when it comes to preparing and taking care of your costume.

  1. Once the measurements for your costume are taken, you have to stay the same size until the day of the show. There is absolutely nothing worse for a designer than to spend many hours sewing your costume for the show, and then come back to the rehearsal and discover that your costume does not fit you. Therefore, if you’re planning to get pregnant, lose weight or gain weight over the rehearsal period, you should let the designer of your costume know in advance so they will be fully aware of that.
  2. You have to let your designer know in advance if the roles of your character in the show does physical feat which can require certain costume adjustments. These physical feats usually include but not limited to stage combat, tumbling, high kicks, split, or a quick costume to costume or character to character change. It is also recommended that you have your costume designer read your entire script in advance and anticipated your concerns so they know what certain adjustments they are going to do to your costume. On the other hand, it is always a great idea to remind them while they are in the process of making your costume, especially if they are working on many different costumes for the rest of the cast.
  3. Inform your costume designer ahead of time if you cannot wear a specific fabric for an important reason, especially if it is health related. Some people can’t wear wool since they are allergic to it. For example, some actors couldn’t wear high necked dresses or scarves because they have eczema on their neck and very sensitive skin, there are also other actors that are vegan or vegetarian and they do not want to wear fur or leather because wearing products made from animals is immoral to them. Make sure that your costume designer will jot these notes down and work properly around them. However….
  4. Once you are given your character’s costume for the show, you should wear it no matter what. Of course, you cannot simply reject a costume just because you think it’s stupid or ugly, or you simply do not like to wear it. The costume designer and director have a certain vision for the show and all the costumes are a big part of it. In addition to that, you must wear your costume the way the designer tells you to. You may think it looks stupid to tie a sash around the shoulder and you want to tie it around the waist. You can surely ask your costume designer if it is possible that you can change your look. However, you need to have the best reason why you want to change the appearance of your costume. But, you should also be ready to receive a big NO from them.
  5. Wear appropriate and decent undergarments. There’s nothing worse than seeing large panty lines or brightly colored boxer shorts sticking out of the top of the pants, or neon colored bra glaring out from a while top’s underneath. Stage lights certainly emphasize these much more than you think. It is important for ladies to invest in skin-colored bras and skivvies. While men are suggested to get some neutral colored boxer briefs or briefs as well as an undershirt that does not bunch up under a tight fitted costume. And even if your only costume is underwear, you still need to put on your own personal undergarment underneath. You do not know who else has used that costume before you.

Aside from that, you must also take a shower and wear appropriate deodorant before putting on your costume and coming to the show. Nobody wants to smell your stink. However, you need to avoid using cologne or perfume in your costume because the chemicals can possibly stain or damage the fabric.



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