Theatre Makeup and Costumes

There are a number of reasons why a professional theatre would choose to buy costumes rather than build them. One is the tight timelines they usually have. Making a costume takes two hours minimum, and that’s if you’re good at sewing!

If it’s an old costume and you don’t know who made it or what it’s made out of, don’t wash it unless you want to risk shrinking it. Check the seams – it might be better to take apart a seam and resew it than try to iron out wrinkles.

If the costume has been in storage for any length of time, check for bugs before putting it on someone! If you find any, take the costume outside immediately (preferably in the middle of winter) and place in a plastic bag with mothballs or cedar shavings. Leave outside for several days – if there are any bugs in there, they’ll freeze to death.

One of the most popular costumes in theatre is the hippie. There is never a play that doesn’t have some sort of hippie character involved in it. Whether they are dancing on stage or working backstage, hippies make up a large portion of the cast and crew.

Hippie makeup is one of the harder looks to pull off. It requires a lot of time and patience to get right. A lot of people have trouble with this look because it is so intricate. It takes a lot of skill and practice to get used to making your face into something completely different every night.

Hippie costume is pretty easy though. All you need is a pair of bell bottoms, a tie dye shirt and some beads or other jewelry. After that, you’re set!

Hippies are a mainstay of the theatre and film industry. Any production can use a hippie or two. In fact, they’re often so common that they need to be costumed differently from one another. Here are some ways I’ve dressed hippies up in the past:

A. Classic Sixties Hippie

The most obvious way to costume a hippie is with a pair of bell-bottoms, a tie-dyed shirt, a headband, and some sort of flower in the hair or on their body. This is the basic style that most people associate with the sixties hippies. You can go all out with this or tone it down, depending on your specific needs for the production.

B. Hippie Girl

The female equivalent is similar to the male look, but you may want to add long necklaces and lots of earrings as well, and maybe even some “sun” makeup around her eyes and on her cheeks. The traditional headband can be replaced by long straight hair that is parted in the middle and falls to her shoulders (or below).

Many of you know that I’m currently working on a production of Hair, a musical written in 1968. Overall, the costumes are pretty easy; lots of tie-dye and hippie clothes from the 1960s. The makeup is a little more complicated.

Here’s the thing: hippies were dirty. They didn’t shower because water was polluted, so they smelled bad. They didn’t shave because it required energy and razors were expensive, so they looked scruffy. And because many hippies used drugs like LSD, their pupils were always dilated.

This is a hard look to capture on stage because it doesn’t read from the back row, but it’s crucial for character development and authenticity. So, when designing the makeup for this show, we decided to go all out. Our actors are wearing an inch of dirt and grime on their faces to give them that gritty look. They’re also wearing several days’ worth of beard growth on their faces and extra body hair wherever possible. They have no eyebrows and big black dots for eyes to simulate dilated pupils (thanks to black eyeliner smudged with a Q-tip).

The results are fantastic! From far away they look like they’re just covered in dirt; up close

The hippie style is a standard costume for parties, plays, and just for the heck of it. It’s a relatively simple look to create and there are many variations so you can make it as simple or elaborate as you would like.

Hippies were most popular in the 60s, but there are several subcultures that could be considered hippie-like including bohemians, beatniks, and flower children. You don’t have to stick to one particular type of hippie or even stick to the 60s if you want to be creative.

Hippies typically wore loose fitting clothes that came in bright colors and patterns. The most popular patterns were paisley and tie-dye. Earth tones such as green, brown, and orange were also very common.

The skirts worn by women were long and flowy while men often wore bell bottoms with white frills at the bottom of their pant legs.

Both men and women wore clogs and sandals with tall socks cuffed at the top.

The hippie costume is the most fun to pull together because it just requires some creativity, a few accessories and a little attitude. The best hippie costumes are those that look like they were thrown together from clothes that were found in the back of someone’s closet or attic. You can get a vintage pair of bell-bottoms at any thrift store or even from your parents’ closet. Pair them with a tie-dyed shirt, a crochet vest, a fringed suede jacket, or any other “hippie” type of top. Some good accessories for this costume are headbands, bandanas, sunglasses and peace sign necklaces.

There are also plenty of 70’s style wigs to choose from if you don’t want to spend much time on hair. I prefer just parting my hair down the middle and having my roommate give me a little trim before the party so that it looks like I just got back from Woodstock.

If you have more time or money to put into your costume, you could add some face paint (put some glitter in it for an extra touch) or look into getting some fake tattoos. You could also go in a hippie direction for Halloween by doing something like dressing as Janis Joplin or Jim

So, let’s break it down. This is where I get to show off all that hippie/ bell-bottom knowledge that I have gained from my vast research on the history of fashion.

The first step is to figure out WHAT KIND OF HIPPIE you are going to be. If you have a musical part, and you can sing, then this will help you find a subculture. If you just want to be a generic hippie (like the one in the picture), then you can probably skip this part. Are you going to be a flower child? A peace and love hippie? A Haight-Ashbury hippie? A Woodstock hippie? An “I’m not really a hippie, but I dress like one” type of person? A Grateful Dead fan? Or are you going to be more modern and wear something like tie-dye t-shirts and jeans (which is still pretty much considered “hippie” attire nowadays).

Now that we know what kind of hippie we are going to be, it’s time to put together our costume. For this section, I’m going to assume that you’re either doing a generic hippie or a flower child.

A good place to start is with

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