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How To Treat Your Costumes With Respect

Many elements go into helping you create a believable character, and one is your costume. Here are some tips for actors to ensure you keep your costumes showing your performance work in its best light:

1. Hang Them Up

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Not every theatre will have a dresser to help you hang up your clothes after they are worn, and even if they do, your dresser isn’t your servant. Make sure to always hang up your costumes after you wear them so they don’t wrinkle or end up on the floor where someone can step on them.

2. Don’t Eat While in Costume

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Don’t you hate it when you are eating and you spill food on your newest outfit? That usually teaches you not to eat in your finest duds. The same goes for costumes. Do you really want to go onstage with that big ketchup stain from the burger you ordered at half hour because you were hungry? Probably not.

3. Consolidate Your Garments

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Make sure to always consolidate your dirty laundry at the end of the performance in the provided laundry basket or given area. You certainly don’t want them forgotten about because you didn’t place them in the proper spot and then have nothing to wear for the next performance.

4. Wear Deodorant

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Do both yourself and your costars a favor and make sure to wear deodorant before you put on your costumes. You are sure to sweat onstage. You don’t need your costar coming up to you during the most intimate moment of the show and getting a whiff of body odor you could have easily prevented with a quick roll of antiperspirant. Nor do you want pit stains to distract from your fabulous dance moves.

5. Keep Them Together 

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Usually the costume designer, costume shop or your dresser will organize your costumes so that specific pieces stay together. This way, they are always easy to find during the quick change or when they are needed for the next scene. Be conscientious when you hang up your clothes and don’t just spread them wherever you see an empty or convenient hanger. Hang them back up where they originally came from.

6. Don’t Use Pens or Markers

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If you are staying busy between scenes doing homework or working on creative projects to help the time pass, make sure you aren’t using tools that could endanger your costume. You could accidentally drop that marker, pen or other writing utensil, and your costume could end up being your casualty. Use a pencil or something that can easily be washed out while in costume.

7. Tell Someone When Something Is Broken

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Those who work in the costume shop and your dressers are not mind readers. If you are onstage and you rip your costume or something such as a snap or button breaks, make sure you tell someone who can fix it. No one will be mad at you if you report something gone wrong. It happens all the time and is expected by those who work in the costume department. They’ll be very grateful you caught it and want to look your best onstage.

8. Respect Your Dresser and Their Timing

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As an actor, make sure to respect your dresser and their timing by getting dressed when they need you to at every show. Don’t dillydally or wait until you’ve finished texting or getting the latest gossip from your friends. The person helping you change probably has somewhere else they need to be to ensure the performance goes off without a hitch.

9. Wear Everything You Have Been Given

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Think you have a say in which costumes you can and can’t wear as an actor? Think again! That is the costume designer’s job. You need to make sure you respect them and wear everything you’ve been given or assigned.

Have any good tips or tricks for keeping your costume in good condition? Let us know in the comments below…

Kimberly Faye Greenberg is the first and only actress to play Leading roles in 2 OFF-BROADWAY musicals at the same time. In addition, Kimberly's numerous portrayals of a FANNY BRICE have been critically acclaimed by the NY Times, Huffington Post and Associated Press and currently her solo show Fabulous Fanny Brice is touring the country. Kimberly has worked backstage as a Broadway wardrobe swing dresser on over 20 Broadway shows. As a Performing Arts Consultant Kimberly loves to inspire, educate and work with proactive Artists.

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  1. As a wardrobe supervisor, this article was so sweet. Thank you for encouraging others to be respectful of their costumes.

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