Clothing or costume ??????

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saxon
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Clothing or costume ??????

Post by saxon »

Clothes or costumes ??? which word do you use the most to describe your attire ???

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Phil the Grips
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Post by Phil the Grips »

To me the terms define quality of manufacture.
-
"costume" describes something that is made to look like clothing and made to simple standards so it is likely to fall apart fairly soon. a lot odf stuff off-the-shelf at events is "costume".

"kit" is the next level, looks like the real thing, lasts a bit cos we intend to wear it in a real environment and live in it.

"clothing" is the next level where it is real- looks and acts like the real thing, needs the same level of care and attention as the real thing, made to last like the real thing. It cannot be bought off the peg and requires specialist skills, just as the originals did.

I had a load of "kit" but now have an order in for "clothing"- the immediate cost is a lot greater but as I expect it to last for the best part of a decade then it'll work out cheaper, which is the historic atttitude right up until "disposable" clothing developed in the 1970s.
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Post by gregory23b »

costume is for performers, designed and used differently, different emphases on colour, style, weight, ease of use (zips) and finish, often pretending to be what it is not.

clothing is what you wear

kit for me is the whole collection of crap that comes with the hobby.

But clothing is what I have always called it, apart from my first ever year of course, but then came the blows and taunts....
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Post by Sophia »

Interesting point - I have made most of my last few garments with the same care and attention I would give to a more modern garment I was making for everyday wear.

Indeed, when buying modern clothes my biggest problem is the quality of finish. I was discussin this with one of the pros at Joust II. We were both bemoaning the fact that often the finish on expensive label clothes is disgraceful given the price. My Gran was a pro before WWII and taught me a lot of my basic skills - one thing she was absolutely insistent on was a quality finish.

I agree that a well made piece of clothing, modern or period, if well looked after (i.e. cleaned, stored, if necessary mended) should last at least for a decade.

Sophia :D

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Post by Phil the Grips »

gregory23b wrote:costume is for performers
Fair point- when we do mummer's plays for our christmass events then I suppose I would be wearing "costume" over my "clothing" :)
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Post by gregory23b »

Only my take on it and it helps me separate the two, not to mention I lived in a flat above Ninya Mikhaila when she was doing her costume design course so I got the full 'explanations' as to the differences.

"Fair point- when we do mummer's plays for our christmass events then I suppose I would be wearing "costume" over my "clothing" Smile"

yes I hadn't quite thought of that side of it, when we know medieval costume was worn, the famous hairy man outfits that got torched in the 14thc leading to the deaths of some French toffs, dauphin or king getting his flames smothered by a lady's gown.

I can imagine th elook on some mop's face when confronted by reenactor in his medieval clothing explaining that he/she will now don their costumes....nice one Phil.
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Post by Wim-Jaap »

got me some kit, some clothing and some "setje" (stupid dutch words)

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Post by Simon Atford »

gregory23b wrote:
I can imagine th elook on some mop's face when confronted by reenactor in his medieval clothing explaining that he/she will now don their costumes....
Don't we baffle the public enough :?:

You could say that that "costume" becomes "clothing" when you don't feel the need to take it off imediatly after the show.

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Post by gregory23b »

That was my point Simon.

If I was say doing 15thc and to use Phil's example of mumming, I would be changing from clothing to costume, but to the MOP they may well be the same thing, as they might (usually) see the clothing as costume and have a furrowed brow at my use of two terms. It was not an expression of wanting to confuse the MOPs but noting a possible reaction to two quite distinct (to me) terms.
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Post by m300572 »

We refer to all our re-enactor gear as 'kit' - clothes (which are varied in their 'clothingness' being an accumulation of twenty years so include some old bought stuff, some older made stuff which is less authenti than the more recent made stuff), armour, weapons, cooking and eating stuff, utensils, tools and accoutrements.

Wim Jaap, how do you translate 'setje' or is it one of these untranslatable words like the Scots 'glaikit' (which means essentially someone who looks and acts stupid, but more so!)

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Post by Cat »

Sometimes it's all 'kit', other times when it fits right and feels good it's 'clothes'.
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Post by Tuppence »

the way I see it, everything is costume.

if you're wearing something, then you're in costume, because all clothing is used (whether conciously or not) to convey a message to the world, and to put across the persona (and thereby performance) that you want to.

to me clothes and costume are effectively the same thing (likewise to me 'costume history', 'clothing history', 'dress history' and 'fashion history' are all the same thing.

obviously, most people don't see it like that (and have to say, some historical 'costumers' get very snooty about being called costumers).

that said, I actually refer to my clothes (historical) as all three - costume, kit and clothes.

debs

and costume with dodgy fastenings is fancy dress (and you don't use zips on theatricalk costumes, for ease of repair :wink: ) - stopping pedantry now...
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Post by Bil »

Um neither, I tend refer to anything that aint metal as "soft kit" and all the klanky stuff as "tim/armour hard kit" though if I was pushed I'd have to say clothing as its not "fancy dress" or "stage costume" but day to day clothes (even if it is just for the weekend :P ).
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Post by Bil »

Um neither, I tend refer to anything that aint metal as "soft kit" and all the klanky stuff as "tim/armour hard kit" though if I was pushed I'd have to say clothing as its not "fancy dress" or "stage costume" but day to day clothes (even if it is just for the weekend :P ).
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Post by Heloise »

Agree with Bil - kit is 'soft kit' or 'hard kit'. It's not costume because I'm not playing 'dressing up as a princess' (actually it was usually a witch :) ) like I did as a child. And modern clothes I normally refer to as 'home clothes' to distinguish from kit. But this is probably a reflection of boarding school terms used to distinguish clothes we could wear other than uniform. Perhaps your perspective on this depends more than a simple definition of 'costume' and 'clothes' (wanders off in aimless 'thinking' directions.......... :lol: )

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Post by Tuppence »

Perhaps your perspective on this depends more than a simple definition of 'costume' and 'clothes' (wanders off in aimless 'thinking' directions.......... )
Preciesely, cos the point I was making (badly) is that modern clothes are costume too.
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Post by Alice the Huswyf »

Theatre costume - also has to be maximum cleanable becuase of sweat and make-up. It mustn't change transparency or planned effect under a range of lighting conditions and in fact has to be planned in conjunction with lighting design, stage design, demands of the script and the need to quick change. This often means that what appears to be several layers are often add-ons, sewn into permanent place: so the shift showing at the neck would in fact just be a narrow facing strip sewn inside the neckline with a gathering band. Often it is interpretive as authentic fabrics won't wash / hang or light well. It costs, it has to last. It is technically as complicated and specialist as period clothing reconstructions, but for different reasons.

Fancy dress is the temporary costume made to last one or two outings, it may or may not be authentic, the fabrics are likely to be cheaper becuase of it's impermanence

Hard kit - soft kit broadly descriptive of a group of stuff by type.

Clothing is what I wear all day, wash and repair though. It has to keep me warm , dry and decent and be practical to do what I need to do in it, depending on what I am expected to do. It has to fit as I wear it all day. It costs effort and research - it has to last to have value, like most other clothes.

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Post by Sara »

I use kit or clothes interchangeably although kit does cover a wider range of things than just clothing.

I must admit that being asked about my 'costume' really rankles, I know it's daft but it does. That may be because I have nearly as much medieval clothing as modern. :roll: :D

As to the difference, I think Simon has it about right - costume becomes clothing/kit when you stop having the overriding urge to take it all off once the MOPs have gone :)
Last edited by Sara on Thu Aug 03, 2006 12:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Alice the Huswyf »

... aaah, but does it wrankle as much as being addressed as 'm'lady' when you are scrubbing out the pots with all your sleeves off or rolled up? Eeeeeek!

To be honest, I wear it all day out of laziness: we used to dress for breakfast and then scrabble to change for open hours, and my legs stay so much warmer at night with a gown on. It's just easier. God knows how I would have got on having to change four times a day as great granny did!

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Post by Tuppence »

... aaah, but does it wrankle as much as being addressed as 'm'lady' when you are scrubbing out the pots with all your sleeves off or rolled up? Eeeeeek!
hey, it's better than "wench".
Theatre costume ..... has to be planned in conjunction with lighting design, stage design, demands of the script and the need to quick change.
Ah, yes, like the sotory our theatre tutor used to tell about some big west end production (forget what) set in the mid 18th century.

Costume designer and set designer didn't talk.

Gorgeous big panniered frocks.....

.....that wouldn't go through the nice little doors in the sets....
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Post by Alice the Huswyf »

Did you know that nylon goes utterly transparent under strong light? You may have seen the famous picture of the wedding with three trendily clad bridesmaids formally dressed in the new wonder fabric. The photo-flash captured their big knickers to perfection through their dresses and it showed clearly on the set group photo . This would be very late 40's or very early 50's. I wish I still had it.

My own shame-story about nylon and lighting was trying to completely costume 35 kids with several changes from scratch on £200. There were some odd bits up in the theatre attic, so we built the colour scheme for the interchangeable chorus costuming for the whole performance around these four pairs of trousers we found. Panto season, prepped over the christmas season, so even not making four pairs of trousers was a blessing. Sadly it was the fattest, shyest little outcast boy (nice kid) who got the nylon Ali-Baba trousers, and I didn't find out the effect until the public dress rehearsal........ we ran up an emergency new pair in another fabric that night.

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Post by Tuppence »

Fortunately, having done bothe theatre costume, and stage lighting, not a mistake I'll make (looks smug :lol: ).

But we did do a sort of pantomime play one Christmas, and the director told the castle guards that eh wanted them in "medieval" (i.e. netball) tabards, and "tights".
Most just got hold of dancers tights, but one lad came in in his mums best 15 denier. (horrible to see).
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Post by Shadowcat »

Zips, in my opinion, should never, ever be used in stage costume. Many, many moons ago I worked with a very well-known actor on a farce in the West End. Needless to say, that being the nature of farce, the trousers had to come off three times a night. We had four pairs of trousers permanently at the ready - the zip "went" regularly, and almost every night something had to be fixed. I almost never use zips, even on modern trousers - give me a button fly every time!

S.

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Post by Alice the Huswyf »

... mind you, the number of people who dress 'medieval' in daylight and forget that even heavy denier tights are not opaque......

I have a lovely picture of our first Tewkesbury - the headman is doing his thang - and we can see his thaighs as clearly in the photo as we did then!

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Post by frances »

Agree with you Shadowcat. However, I do admit to a nylon open-ended zip in a Victorian ball-gown - hidden under a diagonal frill across the front of the frock. Very easy to get into and looks fantastic - even if I say so myself. This is a garment with a bustle so is not worn very often.

Not sure that I agree with the definition of clothing being something you do not want to take off at the end of the day. On these hot days it is a relief to take off anything other than little tee shirt and shorts. The restrictions of clothing from other periods are acceptable when they are worn, but it is soooo nice to take off hat and headcovering and let ones hair down!! and to be able to worble a jolly song from another historic period|!!

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Post by Alice the Huswyf »

The costume v clothing definition created by 'not changing back and forth into modern clothes' is based on laziness, Frances! Thus period clothing just becomes other clothes. And we all like to let our hair down, figuratively and literally.

Mind you, when wearing restrictive later period clothing, you understand the need to invent the negligee - much comfier than any modern clothing bar the mu-mu.

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Post by frances »

I have just seen a picture of most attractive, loose, lounging pygamas from the 1920's. Bit like a stylish babygro really!

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Post by Alice the Huswyf »

I always thought that 1029's dressing gowns a la Coward were the ultimate elegant male lounging gear - until I came across banyans....

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Post by guthrie »

Banyans?

I'm thinking of buying some silk, and making a dressing gown using the long 14th century gowns as a pattern. What does that make it?

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Post by Sophia »

Just more clothes - If you buy some really nice silk in an appropriate colour/pattern and line it with good linen again in an appropriate colour you then have something that can double as posh gear when you want to masquerade as nobility.

Sophia :lol:
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