Help Me Choose a Costume!

April 24th, 2012

I’ve already revealed that I’m going to do the unthinkable — sing in public. I also have to play the cello briefly during the same program. So of course the question arises, what to wear, WHAT TO WEAR?

The theme of the concert is early 20th-century American music and I initially planned to drag out my Edwardian duds (see the picture at the bottom of this post). But that would require a corset. And I’ve gained five pounds in the last three months (doughnuts and steak). And I already have trouble breathing when I sing.

So…the search begins. Luckily I’ve recently been reunited with a lifetime of costumes rescued from my (ever-patient) mother’s attic. Some fantastic pieces that I should never have used for “dress-up,” a few that should have died long ago, and many just plain goofy get-ups.

Blue Velveteen Gown

This is the current front runner. It’s royal blue velveteen with a back zip and sash and elasticized sleeves. Very comfortable. I have no idea where it came from. It’s built like a costume — and come on, who would wear a floor-length velveteen dress if they weren’t on stage? On the other hand, it’s pretty conservative for theater and has standard care tags as though it were factory made. There’s absolutely no pressure on my abdomen in this dress, and it is more than flexible enough for celloing. The color definitely suits me too, and would lend itself to delicate jewels or pearls.

Here’s dress number two:

Pink Ballgown

It’s a vintage Gunnie Sax formal in pink taffeta, probably from the mid 1980s. Yep, those are fabric roses on each shoulder. I adore this dress and wore it to my thirteenth birthday party (my indulgent parents dressed up like a French maid and butler and threw a “murder-mystery” sleep over with my hamster, Edward Bringhurst IV, as the hapless “victim”). It’s a perfect waltz gown, and also comfortable enough for singing and playing. I’d pair it with some vintage rhinestone jewelry and a large hair-do. The downsides include a skirt that screams for crinoline (which I haven’t got), shoulders that insist on slipping at awkward moments, a rather scanty neckline, and a color that washes me out.

What do you think? Help me choose!

Trying to project Elisabeth Schwarzkopf…