#kp2018 liveblog: The costume grinch

This one I am here for on purpose. It’s “How to hack for costume larps” – a cheat sheet for accessible costume larps. One of the speakers here is wearing layered black and a headscarf. *Now* I feel at home.

Their disclaimers:

  • Costuming is not reenactment.
  • Costuming for larping is impression not accuracy
  • Costuming is a practical not fanciful skill

The five bullet method

  • Lines – where is the silhouette? where’s the waist and neck?
  • Lengths – is it long or short?
  • Layers – how do visible and invisible layers show the style of the era?
  • Colour and pattern – muted or bright? Patterned or plain?
  • Accessories – part of the costume, but not the clothes “What makes it.” Much easier to change.

An example: Regency 1810-1820

We start with Pinterest… What are the tell tale signs?

  • Line: Roman pillars, slim, high waist, chest out.
  • Accessories: Shawls, bonnets, hats.

Another example: Victorian 1840-1890

  • Lengths: Waists have dropped to a natural level
  • Layers: Men’s waistcoats are pointed not straight now.

(There more examples – I’m going to try find the deck. They put up 3 decades next to each other and you could see skirts go up and down….)

Cross-over genres

Think of those as combinations of historical eras, perhaps? Retro-50s sci-fi.

Short cuts

How to shop in second-hand stores. Regency is kinda like the 1970s. 1910s is kinda like the 80s (if you take the shoulder pads out.) It’s not The Truth, it’s a guideline. Which is all you need for larp.

“I hope you have a nearby thrift store when you can find 80s clothes.”

(Or, in my case, you have some of the actual clothes you wore in the 1980s… If only they still fit.)

Example: Downton Abbey, minimal sewing.

Looking for a 1910s dress – found an awful 1980s dress – “It had this polyester fabric, but if you squinted a bit it looked like silk.” – and a white shirt with a lace collar, which I repurposed and added to the dress. Once you know what to look for, you know what is important to nail the look.

Example: Men, no sewing.

Maybe scissors to cut a collar off…

“The hat makes the character.”

Example: A bonnet

Bought a modern sun hat. Cut off the brim, changed the shape, added trim using a hot glue gun.

“YouTube is your friend”


Q: How to do a costume when your silhouette isn’t fashionable for the era?

A: Start with the lines, and use your posture as a search term. A search for just the era might not find the right recommendations – search “regency fat” for example to show how people of your type looked in that era.

They do have an actual cheatsheet – I’ll add it here when/if I get a copy.

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