I was a huge theater geek in high school. Big surprise, I know. When I get the chance to put on fancy clothes and be some other persona for the day, I take advantage. Even if it means I’ll be stepping into character for 13.1 miles.
The key is to create a versatile and functional illusion of what you’re trying to convey. This is the most challenging aspect for me. I always forget that the costume doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t need a blind hem or actual button holes. It’s for show. You will wear that costume one time, it doesn’t need to be a work of art. It does, however, need to stay together for awhile. I’ve put together a few tips, just to get your creative juices flowing.
Tip #1: Sequins are pretty, but they chafe like a mother.
Choosing the right fabric is vital. I generally want my costumes to be soft yet supportive. I also run hot so I need material that will breathe well. I generally choose cotton spandex blends. However, I will absolutely embellish with some fanciful trims. For example, our Ring Master costumes consisted of a plain white tank top with the sparkly vest sewn right onto it. The vest was a heavier material with the gold trim sewn to look like closures. A coat with tails would have been awesome, but who wants to run in that? I used the tulle to create a no-sew bustle instead. That way we could give the illusion of a fancy coat without an actual coat.
Tip #2 Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize
Sometimes the best costumes aren’t even about the actual clothes. Accessories can take your typical runwear and turn you into a roller derby diva. For these costumes we used black shorts and shirts silk-screened with a logo. Everything else was in the accessories: bandaids, temporary tattoos, handkerchiefs, knee pads and elbow pads, fishnets, even black Halloween make-up for creating bruises and missing teeth.
Tip #3 No Zippers Necessary
When I made these three Good Fairy costumes for the Tink half, I wasn’t going to have a chance to fit the dress to the girls. So instead of making the dresses with zippers, I used a t-shirt as the bodice and sewed the skirt onto the bottom of the shirt. That way I knew the dresses would fit. The shirts were also comfy and stretchy, perfect for running 13.1 miles in wings and a hat.
Tip #4 Fake It till you Make It.
Sometimes you have to just fake it. For this Rainbow Brite costume, I didn’t have a chance to finish the sleeves. So I just paired the dress with a shirt and gloves. This costume won me $100!
Tip #5 Work It
When it comes down to it, attitude has a lot to do with whether or not the costume works. You have to embody the persona you’re trying to represent. For instances, when I’m dressed like a ninja, I’m completely undetectable. I hide behind trees and jump and kick and I truly become the ninja. Same with our signature poses last weekend at the Disney 10k. We worked those sailor dresses!