Costuming Guidelines


Staff member
The following guidelines were put together by Bre Melvin and Anastasia, for help in developing costumes for various characters on our show. I'm posting this here for future reference, and also so anyone can comment on it and share their own thoughts and approaches to costuming.

When planning costumes (with costumes including both clothing and hair styling), consider:

  • The character’s lineage
  • The character’s culture of origin
  • The technology
    • The inherent skills of an individual or group of peoples
      • The interest an individual or group of people have in a specific aspect of the technological process of making clothes (is it about metal working, is it about embroidery, is it about stitching?)
    • The current technological advancement of an individual or group of peoples
    • The current overall average technological advancement of the current point in the timeline versus other points of the First Age and compared to the Second and Third ages
  • The geography where that culture developed and/or is developing
    • What are physical distances between geographical areas, how are different areas related?
    • How do these geographical areas correspond to real-world areas, and how did real-world peoples adapt to those environments? What are the needs of the land?
    • What is the character of the land?
  • What does that character have access to?
    • What natural resources are available to them and/or whoever supplies the clothing
    • Is that character rich or poor? Were they once rich and are now poor?
  • The character’s status/class/rank
  • The character’s interest in clothing
    • How do they view/approach fashion?
    • What are their culture’s views/approach?
  • The character’s daily life and needs
    • Utility vs decorative
    • The effect of weather and terrain (ex. cold climate vs warm climate)
    • Clothing that would make sense for their ‘job’
  • The character’s relationships/connections with other characters
  • The character’s arc and development
    • Where was the character before, and where are they headed along their evolution?
    • How does the costume tell their story?
    • How long and complex is that story, and how many costume/character changes are necessary to tell that story? How dramatic is the change between each increment?
  • Reoccurring motifs for individual persons and/or cultures (i.e. flora, elements, animals)
  • Shape language for individual persons and or/cultures (i.e. squares, circles, triangles)
  • Color language for individual persons and or cultures (i.e. reds, blues)
  • Value language for individual persons and or cultures (strong contrast vs low contrast in blacks and whites or complementary colors)