Thursday, September 25, 2014

Costuming on a Budget

Carolena Nericcio is such a day-ruiner sometimes.

When she dances, she's dolled up in fabulous textiles, what looks like authentic jewelry, gorgeous flowers... she makes it look so EASY.  There's a bit of "Oh, THIS old thing?" mixed in with "La, just collected these in my journeys and travels of a full and adventurous life, NO BIG" when she takes the stage. She looks effortlessly fantastic.

And I'm learning that it takes a lot of work to look so effortless!  The cost alone... I mean, the only reason I even own Rokedet is because she was part of a going-out-of-business sale, and you'll have to pry that belt out of my cold dead hands. In fact, it's going in the ground with me.

So, this is how I stay costumed and glorious.

1)  eBay, Forever 21, Claires. While it would be lovely to be able to own nothing but authentic Turkomen and Uzbek silver, sometimes, us budget-conscious ladies do have to go for a knockoff.  Though we may have to paint the interior with clear nail polish (it really helps!), a fabulous fake can get you through the first year or two of dancing, until you've solidified your identity as a dancer more and know what you'd like to invest in.

Tips:  Be careful about big solid pieces, where the metal can tarnish or the finish can come off. This doesn't look aged, this just looks cheap. Try something that's got a lot of chain. If it breaks, it's usually a pretty easy fix.

2)  Thrift stores.  If you live in an area with a high immigrant population, go to the thrift stores in the area. I've found full salwar kameez, saris, and my favorite batik sarong there, and for less than what you'd ever pay in a store, online, or from a tailor. If not, just wait for the whole boho trend to wane (it comes up and goes out pretty regularly) or wait until after Coachella/Bonnaroo/Burning Man/festival season.  There will be so many fringe bikini tops and vests. Sooooo many vests.

Tips:  Look for something well made, where the stitching isn't coming apart, free from holes or tears, and NO stains. Make sure it works well for your purposes, and for the love of god, if it's pilly, move on.

3)  DIY. Take a jewelry or accessory making class, or ask your ATS instructor if she'd like to put on a Craft Camp one day. Grace did one for hair flowers/hair falls, and I'm still using what she taught to this day! Also, it was like six months ago, so it wasn't really THAT long.  It's usually a lot cheaper to make a thing yourself, like the braids I just made for Club ATS on October 25, than it is to buy them already done.

Tips:  Practice and go slow!  Start with something achievable! And steer clear of Pinterest. I'm sorry, Pinterest is great, but there is far too much potential for fail. If at all possible, take some kind of class in person where you have a live, present human instructing you, in case things go Terribly Wrong or Off The Rails.

4)  AND MOST IMPORTANTLY:  Recycle!  If you have a necklace with one pretty element and the rest doesn't work, take out what you want and use it in another piece. I have a hair flower that used to be an awkward necklace, but the proportion of it is just right for the hair.  I also have this one headband I adore... it was originally a sheer caftan from Forever 21 that I adored and wore all the time, until it snagged and started to run. So, I made it a headband instead and it lives on!

Tips:  Again... start small, stay achievable, and be reasonable about what you can accomplish. This is not an indictment against any dancer's craft skillz, this is more an admission that I am the Kwisatz Haderach of trying something beyond my ability and making a bigass mess.

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