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Costuming is an aspect of clowning that is very important. It works hand in hand with makeup to help create your clowning trademark. Like makeup, costume should be an original creation, expressing your clown’s character. Use the following ideas as mere stepping stones, and branch from them with creativity and originality. Clowns are individuals and their threads should prove it.
Start by rummaging through your closet looking for anything that would suit your character. You’ll be amazed at the wide variety of silly things you own. It’s also a good idea to go to thrift shops and second hand stores in search of the perfect threads. Put together a makeshift costume and study yourself in the mirror. Move around in it and see if you feel funny. Begin rehearsing your skits and make sure your costume doesn’t cover up or restrain your movements. In general, costumes which are too big or too small can be funny. Some items, such as your hat and shoes, may be too big while your pants and tie is too small.
The patterns and colors are also very important aspects of your costume. If possible, use big patterns as opposed to small detailed ones. Bigger stripes and shapes look much better from far away whereas small patterns lose detail. Don’t get carried away will zany, wild patterns. A costume may look good close up, but lose all its humor from far away.
Another idea is to sketch a drawing of exactly what you want your costume to look like. Though it’s somewhat expensive, you can take this sketch to a professional costumer and have it made. You’ll be getting exactly what you want, but it will cost extra. If you have the ability and time, you should consider making it yourself. You can buy a general outfit and add to it the frills and sparkles your costume needs.
The following are hints on final touches you should consider adding to your costume:
Hats- Women’s felt hats are ideal for clowning. They come in a wide variety of colors and are comparatively cheaper than men’s hats. You can bend them, add to them, and use big safety pins to hold them in different shapes.
Collars- Collars add a comedic look to your costume. You can have them sewn on too big, too small, or even lopsided.
Ties- Ties come in fantastic prints and sizes. Like the collar, a tie that is too big, too small, or misshapen will add a funny effect to your costume.
Suspenders- Clowns will oftentimes wear suspenders. Color coordinate them with your costume.
Gloves- Colorful gloves can be found in hardware or department stores. They run in big sizes which can create the illusion of having comical big hands.
Spats- Spats add a nice touch to shoes or sneakers. You can create a comical effect by wearing an old pair of shoes, spats, and pants that are too short.
Clown Shoes- Professional clown shoes are very difficult to find. Call a costumer and ask if they know anyone who makes them. You can also make your own shoes.
It is a good idea to perform your skits in full costume and makeup, and ask a friend to take pictures of you. Do the same thing without the costume and makeup. Compare the pictures to see the difference. Trial and error is the key to finding an image that suits you and your character best. You may want to try a different costumes for the same skit.
Costuming is not the most essential part of clowning. However, it does work hand and hand with makeup in making your character lively and fun to watch. You mustn’t only rely on character to keep attention on your clown. Though somewhat a pain in the rear, costuming is well worth the hassle. Remember, clowns will do any thing for a good laugh. Even if it means wearing bell bottoms and oversized shoes.