What do you do with all these things you make?

If you’ve made costumes for any length of time, you’ve probably gotten the question “what do you do with all those costumes though?” at least once. I’ve gotten it a few times, and I usually answer with some variation of “when you have the costumes, you find things to wear them to.” But in the last few years I sort of got tired of “finding things” to wear my costumes to, and I also got tired of pretty much everything about clothing that you can buy from mainstream stores. And I realized that my last f$#% about what people think of me and what I wear had evaporated. So I kind of started integrating pieces of my historical clothing into my work wardrobe pretty much whenever I can (i.e. when the weather and the work that I’m doing that day allows).

Maybe it’s because I knew I have a supportive group of coworkers at my job who thinks it’s fun to see what I’m wearing every day, maybe it’s because, like I said, my very last shred of care about what people think of my clothes is long gone, but I wasn’t really worried that I’d feel weird about it when I started really going for it. I had been integrating a couple Tudor-era jackets into my regular wardrobe for a little while already, so adding breeches, some Edwardian waistcoats and skirts, and a kirtle dress didn’t really seem like much of a stretch. There may have also been an element of pandemic fatigue, where I just needed that little treat of wearing a handmade costume item that I was proud of, and I was tired of leaving the clothes that I was proud of making in my closet where no one could see them!

And for the most part, the reactions have been positive. With the exception of a couple weird looks or comments, when people choose to say anything it is nice, and on one memorable occasion a young person at the coffee shop told me I had a “sick ‘fit” and I felt the glow of Acceptance by the Youngins.

So I thought I would document some of my outfits here. Some of these pieces were the product of my Historical Capsule Wardrobe project that I made a YouTube Video about back in ye olden times (like two years ago); some of them are ones that I got the inspiration for while browsing Instagram and decided I had to have and then just started wearing them to work. My favorite is when I can mix as many eras as possible (like an Edwardian skirt with a Tudor shirt, Regency vest, Tudor-style hair, and 1830s repro boots). But sometimes I just wear the full set of a single time period to work and shrug if someone asks if I’m presenting a costume program at work that day.

L: black linen skirt made in the style of an 18th Century petticoat worn with a modern sweater and repro 1800s boots R: circa-1900 split skirt worn with a Tudor shirt and Regency waistcoat
L: 18th Century breeches with black linen 18th Century mens shirt and Tudor waistcoat R: dress made from Tudor kirtle pattern over black 18th Century mens shirt, with Tudor waistcoat on top
L: Regency mens vest worn over blouse of my own design and modern pants and boots M: wool circa-1900 split skirt worn with 1900 waistcoat and blouse by Little Women Atelier R: 18th Century frock coat worn over blouse of my own design, modern pants, and Doc Martens
L: 18th Century-style skirt, blouse of my design, Tudor hairstyle M: circa-1900 skirt, 18th Century mens shirt, Regency vest, Tudor hairstyle R: circa-1900 bicycle pants, blouse of my design, repro 1930s aviator boots
L: circa-1900 bicycle pants and waistcoat, 18th century mens shirt, Fluevog shoes M: Regency vest over modern blouse, pants, and boots R: circa-1900 skirt and waistcoat over blouse of my design, repro 1920s shoes and Tudor hairstyle
L: 18th Century style skirt, Tudor shirt, and Tudor doublet jacket with Fluevog boots M: circa-1900 split skirt with blouse of my design, Tudor hairstyle, and Edwardian boater hat R: circa-1900 waistcoat over modern blouse and maxi skirt
L: 18th Century breeches with modern shirt and repro 18th Century printed kerchief M: 18th Century mens shirt worn belted over modern skirt R: 1916 skirt worn with blouse of my design and Fluevog shoes

Patterns used for these items:

Tudor shirt, waistcoat, doublet bodice, and kirtle bodice from The Tudor Tailor.

1900 split skirt pattern by Truly Victorian

1900 skirt, bicycling pants, and waistcoat patterns by Black Snail Patterns

Regency vest pattern by Laughing Moon

18th Century breeches and shirt patterns by Mill Farm (the shirt instructions are included with their waistcoat pattern)

18th Century frock coat pattern by J.P. Ryan

1916 skirt pattern by Wearing History

I hope you found this interesting! And maybe it gave you some inspiration for ways to integrate your own historical pieces into your everyday wardrobe. I’m lucky that I live in a city that seems to find my weird clothing choices “interesting” and “artsy” rather than scary or threatening, but I would encourage anyone to test out the waters by integrating a historical piece here or there and see how it goes over. The chances are that no one is going to be as critical of your outfit as you think, and then you’ll get to wear something you made with pride instead of leaving it in the closet for “special occasions.”

I’m also working on a new YouTube video this week about a stretch back in May where I attempted to only wear my handmade historical pieces for a week. Once I get that finished I will add a link here!

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