In a nutshell, a costume is a person’s or a group’s distinctive way of dressing or applying makeup that represents class, gender, profession, ethnicity, nationality, activity, or era. The term was also traditionally used to describe typical appropriate clothing for specific activities, like riding, swimming, dancing, and evening costumes. Appropriate and acceptable costume is subject to changes in fashion and local cultural norms.

The terms “dress,” “attire,” “robes,” or “wear” have gradually replaced this general usage, and the term “costume” has become more restricted to odd or outdated clothing as well as clothing meant to evoke a change in identity, like mascot, theatrical, or Halloween costumes. Prior to the invention of ready-to-wear apparel, clothing was made by hand; as late as the beginning of the 20th century, it was made by “costumiers,” who were frequently women who ran businesses that catered to the demand for intricate or intimate female costumes, such as millinery and corsetry.

A person who builds and/or modifies costumes is called a costume technician. A costume technician must take a two-dimensional sketch and translate it into a garment that closely resembles the designer’s rendering. The technician must also keep the designer’s ideas in mind while creating the garment.

T-shirt Costume

T-shirt costume for men and women. People can dress in historical or imaginative costumes for parades and processions; in 1879, for example, the artist Hans Makart created scenery and costumes to honor the Austro-Hungarian Emperor and Empress’s wedding anniversary. He led the people of Vienna in a costume parade that continued as a regular event until the mid-1900s; on Independence Day in the United States, people dressed as Uncle Sam; in Chinese New Year celebrations, people dress in costume for the Lion Dance; and some costumes, like those used in the Dragon Dance, require teams of people to create the desired effect.

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