Created by Holly Beardsley

A costume designer and a costumer are two different things. A costume designer creates pieces from the drawing board to the stage, while a costumer pulls from already existing pieces to create fully realized characters. This means that the approach is different.

In this six lesson unit students will learn the tools of a successful costumer. They will start by reflecting on their own personal style and the choices that go into that style. They’ll move on to look at versatility and adapting costume staples, creating a costuming vision, period clothing as the costumer, how to use the colour wheel as a costuming tool and everything culminates in a final project (two options).

The overview gives an outline of the course and how each lesson breaks down.
1: Personal Style
In this lesson, students will reflect on their personal style, learn clothing vocabulary, and identify how to apply personal style to creating costumes for a show. They will also learn the difference between a costume designer and a costumer.
2: Versatility
How do you take existing pieces and create a costume? One of the keys to successful costuming is knowing how to adapt staples into a variety of different costumes for different productions. As highlighted in Lesson One, when it comes to costuming, sometimes what you come up with won’t be the perfect costume. It’s important to learn to work with what you have. This lesson allows students to continue working on their clothing vocabulary document.
3: Costuming Vision
One issue that costumers run into is that because they’re pulling together from existing pieces, the costumes’ overall look can lack unity. The best way to achieve unification is by creating and executing costumes through a costuming vision. In this lesson, students will answer questions in order to develop a costuming vision for a show.
4: Period Costuming
Sometimes a costumer not only has to put together clothes for a modern production, but they have to create a period look. This lesson identifies the items of clothing most associated with specific eras and how to emulate those eras using modern clothing. This lesson also enforces that costuming is an illusion. You work with what you have to create the atmosphere of an era. What can you do to create the illusion of the original?
5: The Colour Wheel
Costuming with colour is another technique to unify a look for a show. It’s a great way to visualize theme and mood. How do different colours make you feel? What colours are associated with different moods? Can colour be used to identify a group? Students will first assess character types and use the colour wheel to create a costume look. Their task for the lesson is to assign colours to different groups in a play, based on relationship, mood, and era.
6: Culminating Assignment
Students will apply what they have learned to two possible culminating assignments.

Standards Addressed

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