Renting masquerade ball costumes can be quite costly, and you'll find your selection limited to what's on the shelf at the costume store. For a truly enchanting party experience, consider making your own masquerade ball costume. This lets you express your personality, or completely conceal it, and it also makes it easier to create a costume that fits the masquerade theme.
If the masquerade ball has a specific theme, you will need to plan your costume around it. Otherwise, you'll stick out like a sore thumb. Fortunately, most masquerade themes lend themselves to formal or semiformal attire, giving you a chance to finally wear that bridesmaid's dress that "you'll be able to wear again."
If you have been invited to a Victorian-themed masquerade ball, you will need to design your outfit to reflect the Victorian era. This means high lace-up boots, lacy fans and bustle skirts for the women. For the men, a formal suit with a little Victorian twist, such as a great coat or a top hat, fits the theme. Alternately, you could come as a character from a Victorian-era novel or as a famous person from that era.
If the ball is a general masquerade or a Mardi Gras theme, you can turn your creativity loose. Mardi gras masquerades lend themselves to bold, contrasting colors and all manner of clothing styles, as long as the final look is neat and elegant. General masquerades should be treated as semi-formal events, which means gowns for women and coats or tails for the men.
You'll embellish your outfit with a mask, and perhaps a wig and makeup. The mask is an essential piece of masquerade gear. It should conceal your identity while allowing you to eat, breathe and see normally. The exception to this rule is Venetian-style masquerades, where the mask must cover the entire face.
You can opt to purchase a decorated masquerade mask from a costume shop, or create your own personalized mask by decorating a plain white mask with glitter, paint and feathers. In either case, make sure the mask complements your outfit, both in color and in personality.
Think twice about masquerade masks with handles. While they can be quite lovely, you'll be stuck holding the mask throughout the event, which can get tiresome after a few hours.
Wigs are a common accessory at masquerades, especially if there is a Victorian, Venetian or historical theme that supports them. Men can opt for period-style hats in place of wigs, or wear both. As a rule, women should wear powdered wigs without hats, unless a particular character calls for a hat.
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