Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Costume madness

Serious costuming - St. Ann parade 2016
It's Mardi Gras, and everybody is talking about costumes. There are costume parties. Costume sales. The Beauty Plus store on St. Claude at Elysian Fields is crammed with shoppers.

I never really got excited over dressing up for Halloween. My mom once made me a fairy costume, complete with wings. But I felt silly in it. As a pre-teen, the most common costume for my social set was a "bum" which meant torn clothes and dark smudges on my face. Maybe a blacked-out tooth, if I got really creative.

As a teen, I was way too cool to dress up at all.

And as a young woman, I felt too self-conscious to draw attention to myself even with flashy normal attire, much less fancy dress.

I worked in a trade where the standard attire was t-shirts and jeans. I remember one year when I was desperately poor, I stretched my budget to buy a clean flannel shirt to wear to a cast party I was invited to, and thought I was dressing up.

Purple wig, gloves and a cocktail - getting there
At my recent job, my agency had a cross-departmental Halloween party, with a costume contest. The Solid Waste Division seemed to be the most creative, dressing everyone up as recycling bins and composters.

So, as I have now, in my second half-century, moved to a place where costume, fancy dress, and just plain eccentric attire is the norm, I have to get with the program.

Mardi Gras Day 2016 - still dressing down
Last year for Mardi Gras, I discovered head-wear that suited me. I have never liked to wear hats - my head is too small for most.

But fascinators - they're lightweight, fun, and don't leave you with hat-hair. So last year I made baby steps of wearing a red fascinator to Carnival.

At the Race Track
The same strategy worked for me at Halloween this year; and also at the Race Track for Thanksgiving funny-hat day.

This year, I attended the annual Twelfth Night party at Vaughans Lounge, where costumes were mandatory. A mask and a purple wig went a long way.

I have visited some of the wonderful and hidden secret costume sales that pop up all over New Orleans.
Mardi Gras bandeau - good for cold nights
Mardi Gras chapeau
I have discovered a new liking for hats.

Note to self: no more corsets
I have had a few costume mishaps.

This week, I'm putting the finishing touches on my Mardi Gras Day costume. I'm spending a lot of time with a hot glue gun.

I hope to be able to show you my results - without embarrassment.

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