Maude/Harley Quinn Cosplay

Maude/Harley Quinn Cosplay

THIS IS HOW THE MAGIC HAPPENS! Playing with vacuum forming is fun!

(I know this is a terrible photo, but I love my expression. If you aren’t having fun making a costume, you need to re-evaluate why you are doing it!)

As a side note, I know this looks like a plain Maude Viking costume so far, but give it time, I’ll post photos of the final costume when I’m finished.

Time-Period Themed Parties: 80s edition

Time-Period Themed Parties: 80s edition

I’m amazed that the styles that were popular when I was in elementary school and into the early 90s is now a Halloween trend, costume option, and themed party event!

So it happens, the inevitable “Lets relive the 80s!” party invite has come up on your Facebook or Twitter Feed. If you are like me, you may still have some things in your closet that will work, that obnoxious neon mini-skirt or denim jacket, but if you don’t, lets list some ideas!

The fun thing about this decade is that its not so much one single costume as it is an embodiment of an entire persona. What type of person from the 80s are you wanting to be? Identity is everything! Lets list some of the stereotypes we remember from 30 years ago:

– There were the preppy rich kids that tied sweaters around their necks or wore the latest skiing gear. Think of Better off Dead, or watch Pretty in Pink.

– You can go for the “wrong side of the tracks” look too from those movies, Molly Ringwald was my hero back in the day! Throw on a Fedora, maybe a nice cardigan with a skirt, a pair of converse shoes, whatever you like!

– This decade gave us the stereotypical nerds, with their high-water pants, suspenders, pocket protectors, and bow-ties. Don’t forget the glasses with tape in the middle. Watch Revenge of the Nerds for ideas!

– Rockstars with big, long hairstyles and torn jeans like Guns N Roses or AC/DC

– Kiss. A class all by itself!

– Pop stars like Prince, Michael Jackson, Madonna and more wore a range of things, from fluffy shirts to lace gloves and dresses. Watch 80s music videos for ideas. You’ll see some of the craziest styles from Cyndi Lauper’s outrageous hairstyles to Boy George’s makeup and colorful braids.

– 80s hip-hop was another music genre with its own distinctive looks, from bucket hats and gold chains, to hammer pants (drop-crotch pants as they are known today) and track suits.

– Dancers with leggings, oversized shirts, and legwarmers, Flashdance is so iconic for this.

– British punk was big, look for plaid, leather, and spike that hair!

Not sure if you want to really go for any of those identities? Here are a few basic things to look for to help fit in:

1. Neon. Brighter was better. Fishnet shirts, glovelets, leggings, finding them in neon to put over a basic black tank top and black leggings or skirts was fun.

2. Layer EVERYTHING. Leggings, socks, shirts, belts, bracelets, you name it, contrasting colors layered on top of each other was the ideal.

3. Earrings were big. Touch-your-shoulder big.

4. Speaking of shoulders, shoulder pads gave the power shoulders to everyone who wore them. Men or women, strong shoulders sent a message that you were in charge.

5. A throwback to the Victorian period, high button-up collars and kitten heels on shoes were really popular.

6. Hair. Buy a can of aquanet to really get that authentic smell. Tease that hair, tease it big, spray with hairspray, then do it even bigger! I’m not sure why, but forcing your bangs to stand straight up was a big YES then. (I think Something about Mary killed that look for me though…). Mullets, high-tops with faded edges, Jerry curls, there were SO many fun styles. find the look that you love and go for it. Don’t want to harm your hair with teasing and hairspray? Find a wig that will give you the look you want! Feather extensions were a big deal too, luckily my shop deals with a distributor who sells these.

7. Finally, makeup. Blue eye shadow was a crazy must! Those neon colors were streaked across eyes with no boundaries. Sometimes complementary colors were used to make eyes even brighter. (Think blue eye shadow on your lids and orange just under the eyebrow). Don’t forget the pink blushes and your favorite chapstick or lipgloss. More is definitely more!

Don’t be afraid to go to your local thrift stores to find vintage clothing! There is a wealth of items available, from shoes to sweaters. I know when I try to do a themed party, that’s my first stop. There are also a ton of items available now from costume shops. My shop offers fun neon items, full costume ensembles, wigs, makeup, and other accessories.

Most importantly, have fun!

Time-Period Themed Parties: 70s edition

Time-Period Themed Parties: 70s edition

Your friend is throwing a 70s party! What to wear? Is it purely disco, funk, or can you dress like your favorite 70s celebrity? Here are some tips!

1. Makeup in the 70s is a pearlescent form of the makeup from the 60s. Lots of color, but a shimmery overtone and lots of pastels. Its all about the eyes, dark liners, big lashes, and a bit of shine!

2. Guys, girls, it doesn’t matter, hair was bigger or longer. Afros were a popular style, as well as the shag look for our guys. Curl hair up to frame your face for the classic Farrah look, or leave long hair in damp braids overnight for a wavy look the next day. Fake mustaches could be an option too guys, if you want that Smokey and the Bandit look.

3. Platform shoes were all over the dance floor. Find a costume pair with goldfish floating in the heel to really get your friend’s attention. If you love to skate and the venue has hard floors, find a pair with four wheels and wheel your way over the dance floor.

4. Pants had higher waists and wider legs, either with a bell-bottom or elephant bell-style pants (often a little short if you are trying to show off those platform shoes we mentioned earlier… safer too, you don’t want to trip on your pants!). You can get pants in this style at many costume shops like mine (we sell white pants at my shop, which were popular and will go with almost any dark colored shirt), OR you can slice a pair of pants up the outside of the leg and sew in brightly colored triangles of fabric. Leisure suits were popular too, get a brightly colored (Or white, think Saturday Night Fever) jacket and pants suit with a wide lapel, with a loud shirt to contrast!.

5. Dresses and skirts were long again, loose fitting, left over from the flower-child look. Women wore long jumpsuits too. Big prints, plaids, stripes, or single colors, there was a lot of variety.

Still not really sure? Its a great idea to find episodes of “That 70s Show” or watch movies from that time for more inspiration. If your friend’s party is just 70s themed, you could go dressed as your favorite Star Wars character (A New Hope – 1977, Empire Strikes Back – 1979), or anything else you can come up with! The important thing is to boogie down baby, and have fun!

Time-Period Themed Parties: 20s edition

Time-Period Themed Parties: 20s edition

So you want to have a party, and you want to have a theme. 20’s is super popular right now. Every lady who comes in wants to be a flapper. So what is a flapper?

The 20’s were a unique time in history. For the first time, women had the vote, and thus we had freedoms that were unheard of. Moving pictures were all the rage, Cars were bigger, faster, and yet elegant. Dance clubs were loud and full of jazz music. Corsets were out of vogue, and short hair was the favored style. Makeup was applied like never before!

“Flapper” is a term that refers to an unconventional woman. At the time, it wasn’t always meant to describe someone in a nice way, but today it reminds us of a certain look. So when you come into a shop for flapper-wear, you want to search out some basics:

1. A dress with a lowered waist-line, lowered neckline, lowered back, or no sleeves (or a combination of them, but the low waist-line is the most noticeable and trickiest to find usually). Dresses can have beads, sequins, flowers, or the ever-popular fringe. Dresses can have a little flash, Flappers weren’t known for being subtle.

2. Long, snugly fitting gloves, preferably above the elbow.

3. Feathers and fur were all the rage! Find a boa or a faux fur stole to wrap around you, stick some ostrich plumes in your hair.

4. Thigh-high stockings, rolled down to just above or below the knee

5. Shoes with low heels, preferably comfy enough to dance in all night!

6. Short hair or a bob wig, or, if you don’t like wigs, find a headband that can wrap around your head to help keep an up-do in place.

7. Accessories like a cigarette holder (fake cigarettes are great for that if you don’t actually smoke), a glitzy handbag, and long strands of pearls or costume jewelry.

Have your costume? Now all you need is the right makeup!

Try my favorite makeup artist tutorial for this:

There you go! Find yourself a dashing man in a zoot suit, and you’re ready for your 20’s party! Try watching movies like Chicago or The Great Gatsby for more ideas.

Year-round dress up and play

Year-round dress up and play

I ask of a distributor the same questions parents ask me when they come into my store.

1. CAN IT BE CLEANED???

This has to be the number one question I receive, hands down. What parent dry-cleans their kid’s clothes? Costumes too, if a child spills juice, crawls through dirt, plays with paints, or any number of things kids do, how do you clean a costume you laid down money for?

Its one thing for a costume from a big temp store that costs you $15 dollars, but what about this fireman’s costume that cost you nearly $50? You don’t want it to be a one-time use, your child doesn’t want it to be a one time use, so why does the costume company?

That’s why we invested money buying from Teetot & Co., Inc. They were up front about designing costumes that could be cleaned by a parent and even showed us how they designed their costumes to be more durable in the first place. This fireman costume might cost about $50 after taxes, but its something your child can wear without playing in a sterilized white room!

2. Is it comfortable?

Textures are SO important for children. Tulle and cheap lace/fabrics might make the costume cost-effective, but if your child won’t wear it for more than 2 minutes, what is the point? Would you wear a costume that scratches and irritates you? Then why would you expect a kid to? With dressing-rooms, a kid can put on the costume and they’ll know INSTANTLY if they like it or not. Soft=good. Scratchy=bad.

3. Is it durable?

You want a costume made of sturdy fabric. Girls OR boys. I was outside as a kid, climbing trees and jumping fences. Your girl may love wearing fairy and princess costumes, but I’m sure she is just as rough on that costume as the boy wearing a pirate one.

Unfortunately that is one of the reasons children’s costumes can be just as expensive as an adults.Look at it this way, if you are buying a sturdy costume that is a little big on them, they will have something to play in YEAR ROUND, not just Halloween. If your kid wants to dress as spiderman to go to the supermarket, who am I to judge? My job is to find the costume in a fabric that is sturdy enough to make that happen. You don’t want a costume that will fray at the seams, fabric that is almost see-through, or foam that will discolor if it gets wet! KIDS ARE MESSY! GIVE US COSTUMES THAT CAN TAKE A HIT! Thank goodness for companies like Teetot & Co., Inc., Aeromax, and a bunch of others who are getting it right!

Nothing makes me happier than a costume that a kid puts on in my store and then doesn’t want to take off. They shouldn’t be so delicate they fall apart after one trick-or-treating session. Give me a costume that a kid can wear over and over again. I’ll admit it, I still play dress up too.

It isn’t always glamorous!

When I went to the Houston Halloween & Party Expo, one of the teachers at the education center said something that made me seriously ponder my job. She said “everyone thinks you have a glamorous life,” and at the time, I chuckled like everyone else there, but I suppose it does make sense. Most retail businesses sell everyday items and clothing, while we sell the fantastic. We sell imagination and fun, rather than toothbrushes and winter coats.

Truthfully, my job is not all glitz and glam, its a lot of time, energy, and research into finding the best in a wide variety, because you never can tell when someone will walk through the door needing a gorilla suit, a flapper wig, or a million things in between. The Halloween & Party Expo was exactly what I needed to do my job, because I was able to inspect the products that end up on my shelves. About 15% of my job on a daily basis is inspecting costumes we’ve received, and repairing them to a certain degree, so seeing items first-hand, before they are shipped to the store, is key to saving time and money on products that don’t live up to our standards.

When we went to the expo we recognized labels and items from the temporary Halloween stores and the big stores that have costume items only one time a year. No offense to those items and those stores, but low-end is not what Lakewood Costumes is going to sell.  You could always find them from someone else if you really wanted to, but when you walk through our door, we want to offer quality. It keeps people coming back, year after year.

From Cosplay to Murder Mystery dinners, folks want to look as authentic as possible with a costume that might even be reused for many years, so with that goal in mind, we spent a solid 3.5 days going over products, talking to vendors, and learning as much as possible about everything we wanted to stock. If the costume is expensive enough that it can be considered a rental, it needs to be sturdy enough to be worn at least half a dozen times, not to mention, we better be able to clean it! Being able to inspect everything saves me hours of time that may be spent on repairing cheaply made items.

The average customer isn’t going to know the difference between high and low quality unless I know it, so that is what I aim to do. I promise to spend hours learning all I can, so that you don’t have to. You’ll look your best when you come to my store, because I’ve spent the time making sure you will before you even open my door.

You know, in the end, I can see why people see what I do as glamorous. I do work with a lot of rhinestones and glitter! Ha!