What’s a dead giveaway that you’ve ordered your girl’s show choir costumes but just tried to sew your boy’s costumes – either to save money or because you couldn’t find ‘ready made’ matching or coordinating costumes?
It’s that your guy’s costumes don’t look really masculine –they look a little too feminine! It’s generally much easier to create girl’s stage costumes, as girls can look great in nearly any style. But this isn’t the case with boy’s costuming. I often hear the question: ‘How do we make our boy dancers look masculine?’ I’m not referring to standard mass-produced menswear that is offered by show choir costume companies, as these are all produced by menswear manufacturers. I’m referring to the specialty costumes that show choirs sometimes require for their shows.
‘Look Ma, I'm dancing in a Fuchsia Jacket!’
I’m a mother of two boys who grew up around my costume business. They weren’t involved in dance or show choir, but if they HAD been involved, I wouldn’t have wanted them to look feminine either. My ‘front lineman’ son once requested that I make him a pair of flashy silver lame basketball shorts. At the very least, it certainly raised my eyebrows! But I figured that, well, if he really wanted to make a statement on the basketball court, I was just the mom to make that happen for him! And I really don’t think he could have worn ANYTHING that would make him look feminine! Besides a masculine physique, boys need attitude and swagger to wear ANYTHING, and still look masculine.
But, the right clothes will help or hinder. The color, the cut, the fit, the workmanship, the fabric and the details will make or break a masculine boy’s dance or show choir costume.
Guy’s clothing requires a higher level of construction technique to pull off a quality costume. Many talented hobby sewers have years of experience sewing girl’s costumes. A common mistake is for these sewers to use their girl’s patterns and fabrics for the boys, without much adjustment.
Correct fit is VERY important for a masculine looking guy’s costume. Many home sewers may not have the ability to get the best fit for boys. If you rely on your usual volunteer or hobby home sewers, practice makes perfect. Perhaps they’ve made thousands of girl’s costumes. How many boy’s costumes have they had the opportunity to make?
©Deborah J. Nelson/ Head Designer and President of Satin Stitches Ltd.
(as published in Sing, Sing, Sing Summer 2012)