Comparing Needs Versus Wants
Sometimes the best articles start with a question from a customer! I recently received an email from a female clown; she wrote:
Hi! I’m thinking about another clown costume. What are the most important aspects when choosing a back-up costume?
Should I get a light costume for hot weather? Should I get a costume that is okay for riding a bike? Or should I just get another color and have fun designing?
Assess Your Needs
She had some great questions! Before anyone gets a new costume, they should really assess their individual needs. Here are some questions to ask before you make or buy a new costume.
“What do I need?” VS. “What do I want?”
What would serve you best? Consider your performance style, location, and audience expectations.
What needs are your current costumes not fulfilling?
If something is only there to look funny but is preventing you from doing your best, consider cutting it out of your wardrobe.
Think back to the times when you finished clowning and thought to yourself:
“If only I had a ______ in this costume”
“I had better replace that ____ for something longer/shorter/bigger/better/etc.”
You may think you want a full vest and tuxedo tail coat, but you already get heat stroke in June wearing a t-shirt!
You might want a big poofy princess dress for caring clowning visits, but your fluffy petticoat would catch on the patient’s IV cords in the hospital room!
Take the time to identify the difference between what you want and what you need.
Is your current clown costume too hot?
If so, than a warm weather alternative may be the answer. It could be as easy as wearing a vest instead of a jacket. Or getting a lighter-weight blouse or jumper. Clowns have now embraced the “short” sleeve shirt for humid climates and warmer times of the year.
Don’t assume that you have to say goodbye to your beloved clown character just because you’re over-heating. It can be easy to take your “signature look” and lighten it up for hot temperatures.
Do you have enough pockets?
Think of the things you always bring along with you when you go out to play and make sure there is an easy-to-reach place for each item: stickers, squeakers, magic tricks, puppet, etc.
Before you buy or have a clown costume made, ask about the pockets. Not just where they are or how many, but how deep are they! Never assume.
If necessary, give your seamstress the measurements of your most-used props to make sure they will fit in your new pockets.
Dress to Impress!
Do you need something for competition or to impress bigger clients? For competition be sure to follow the rules of the category you are entering. Do a little research before you buy or make something.
A signature costume is a wonderful asset to any professional clowns wardrobe. You don’t need to wear it every time you walk out the door, but there are certainly times when you may want to dress to impress.
For example, I have my “Pricilla Mooseburger Dress” which I have remade a number of different times. That is my trademark look. I use the same pattern, but I move the colors around and change the types of fabrics. Set your budget and work from there with your seamstress or designer.
What about a clown costume for a skit or walk around? Sometimes just a hat or specific accessory will do the trick.
A baker’s hat and chef apron for giving out Brown Es. A French beret if you are an artist character or have a giant house-painting brush or paint roller for “free face painting” bit. A pocketed fishing vest if you are reeling in the “Big 1”.
If you have a bike or unicycle you may need to have something made special so you can ride in safety!
Are you a stilt walker?
Fire or poi artist?
Consider everything you use in your act and make sure your costume will be a performance aid instead of a hindrance.
A carefully thought-out bit should include planning what you will wear.
Sure, two clowns wearing their usual colorful costumes can still successfully perform the classic “Stagecoach” skit with hilarious results…but wouldn’t it be even better if they were at least wearing cowboy hats?
How much funnier and more in character would they be if they were wearing an over-sized handlebar mustache, bandana, chaps, and holster?
YOU need to know your needs
A new clown costume can be a big investment. Only YOU can decide where your greatest need is. Everyone will have something different to worry about. It’s okay to ask for other people’s opinions, but you should decide what is most important to you.
With a little thought you can make the right choice for your wardrobe and your budget. Don’t make assumptions on what custom tailoring will cost; ask for estimates or quotes.
Don’t worry — I am here to help! I promise to help you work within your budget and create something you will LOVE!
Need some assistance deciding what you need for your next costume? I’m just a phone call or email away!
800-973-6277 or 320-963-6277 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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