Do you know who has the Epic Costuming nailed?? The Monster High Dolls. Say what you will about "teaching little girls negative body image" and so on and so forth. Anyone can criticize. And do you know what? If you want to find a doll to hate on, dwell on the horrible things about the Bratz Dolls, which I think are putrid, from the very name right down to the fact that the expression on their faces is NOT one that you want to see on your little girl, I don't care what kind of parent you are. *cough* I digress. Sorry, anyhow, we are all allowed our opinions, and let me tell you my opinion about the Monster High dolls. I REALLY like that these girls are celebrating WHO they are and what makes them special. The word "monster" has such negative connotations, but these ladies take lemons and make lemonade with the word! They CELEBRATE monster-hood, and everything that goes with it.
*Head (What hat, fascinator, bow, hairpiece, color, or accessory might you do here?)
*Hair (How can you style your hair so that it will help tell the story of your costume?)
*Face (DO NOT neglect makeup. Don't use the excuse of "I don't know how to apply makeup." Don't tell me that by wearing makeup, you're telling the world that you don't feel pretty and you have to "lie" to be pretty. I've heard all of this. I don't accept it. Makeup is a celebration of your beautiful features, to highlight, accentuate, and illuminate them! Watch some dang youtube videos and stop complaining. PHEW! There, I said it. Be mad at me all you want. )
*Neck (From necklaces to chokers, collars, and even neck corsets, you can take pride in this beautiful part of your body!)
*Blouse (prints are fun! If I thought that I could actually sell leopard prints, florals, and stripes. I would carry printed blouses for my company. However, any time I've ever had them on the racks at shows, they sit and let the wind whistle through them. I do understand. It can be hard to match them with the corsets, and even I'm limited by what colors and prints I can even find in the appropriate weight and weave of fabric. Thus, I resort back to carrying white and black, and that's just fine.)
*Corset. Obviously. (One note here. I don't think that you should try to cram the whole concept of your costume into the corset itself. I'm not a fan of "overworked" corsets. If you are going to be a mummy, don't ask me to make you a corset with thousands of bandages sewn onto it. I'll charge you a crazy amount and it will only work for one corset. I like to keep things fairly simple. While I DO like putting a bat signal on a corset for a Batman cosplay costume, I don't like making a corset with muscles, a six pack, leather, a utility belt, and a voice box. Calm it down, people.)
*Belt (I always think you should have a belt that you can sling around the lower part of the corset. It's nice for aesthetics as well as having a place to put pouches and money. Don't over-think this. Go to a freaking second hand store, get a belt, and then get some used military surplus pouches in leather to hang on it. I do this, and I have tons of people ask me where I got my belt at every single show I attend.)
*Skirt or Pants. (Even though I sell skirts and adore them, I actually prefer some leggings and a short, sassy little skirt over them. Just easier to work a show in. However, if I were going to a grand ball of some sort, you had better believe I'm going to be in petticoats, hoop skirts, and a massive bustle skirt.)
*Shoes (Anyone who knows me personally will know that I love me some cowgirl boots. However, with this costume piece, you guys are all on your own. I know customers who can wear 7 inch heels all day and somehow miraculously live to tell the tale, and I've had ladies who wore Converse sneakers with their bustle skirts. Either way is cute. Own it.
By carefully crafting your costume to fit you and your personality, you WILL be a legend! People will want to photograph you and get a picture WITH you! You will be like the princesses at Disneyland, except without the handlers, screaming kids having meltdowns in long lines (I'm guilty of this with my own kids) and crazy egos.