Traditionally at work we try and get as many of the staff to dress up as we can, although in my department I'm normally the only one who actually bothers (miserable swine). This year, however, one of my new minions wants in on the act and has decided to turn up as the 11th Doctor Who. "Aha," says I "wouldn't it be cool if I then came as the 10th Doctor?!"
Now people are often surprised when I say I'm going to do a costume. I always respond with:
"Of course I'm doing one, I'm a nerd remember"
They are even more shocked when I tell them I do my own makeup (hello, majored in drama at school). This is probably more to do with my general lack of talent when it comes to anything remotely artsy.
And so began my mission to recreate the costume worn by David Tennant during his run as the errant Timelord. I could probably go out and search the web for pre-made costumes, but that's really not my style (mostly because I'm too cheap ;) ). To be honest I've never really been a fan of replica costumes. They always seem to be lacking something. Call it a certain amount of realism if you will.
So here are a few tips that I have picked up over the years:
I hate wearing wigs, especially if I will be costume all day. They're itchy and hot and generally uncomfortable. Whenever possible try and style your own hair. Now this might need a bit of plan before hand to make sure you have enough hair to do the job.
The same goes for facial hair (sorry ladies, you'll have to use falsies for this part). Make sure you leave enough time to grow any that you need. That was one of the mistakes I made in the Jack Sparrow costume pictured below. I had the basic shape but wasn't able to grow it fast enough to recreate the beard dreads.
These can make or break a costume. If you have the resources and time to make your own replicas then by all means do it. I have a friend who is currently recreating a Kadaj costume (which is going to rock by the way). She's also a mechanical engineer so she decided to make the double bladed sword herself. And I have to say that compared to a lot of the pre-made props I have seen, this piece is amazing.
However, don't be turned of and think that if you don't make it yourself it won't be as good. Just make sure you take the time to find the right prop piece. This is an area where it's better to spend a little bit more and get the officially licensed product or a very very good replica (custom lightsabers spring to mind)
The meat and potatoes of any costume is obviously the clothing itself. And this is where I think that the pre-made outfits fall short. They always look too new. How many items of clothing do you where on a regular basis that still look the way did when you bought them?
I find that one of the best sources for this step is no further than your nearest charity shop. This isn't my cheapness coming out (well maybe a little), this is much more practical. Remember, there is a good chance that you will need to make alterations to get things looking right. What do feel more comfortable doing: Altering a pair of pants that you just bought for $60 from the nearest chain store? Or altering the pair you got for $2 from the charity shop?
Kind of a no-brainer really. Again, the Jack Sparrow costume below is probably 95% charity shop. The waistband was originally a shirt that was cut into stripes and sewn together. Now of course it can be a bit hit and miss as to if the charity store will have in what you need so sometimes buying new is the only option.
You shouldn't be worried about gender specific items either (and this one is mostly for the guys). The shirt seen below is actually one of my ex-wife's blouses. Use whatever works to get the desired look.
So with bit of planning and some reckless abandon, you should be able to recreate anything that you can put your mind to.