Carnival Costumes: A Guide To Dressing For The Fete
Carnival is an AMAZING experience; wether it's your first time or tenth, you're bound to have fun! But the million dollar question is, "what do you wear?" Here's a guide for carnival costumes and how to dress for all of the fete.
One thing to note is that regardless of your size, the dress code is sexy. This is a time where your inhibitions are left at home and your confidence is in full swing! Once you feel the energy of the environment and see how everyone else is dressed, you'll definitely want to partake in the fun. Carnival is for everyone, of every size!
*Image courtesy of Stephanie Brown
Headpiece or No Headpiece?
There are many various ways to dress for a carnival event. If you're playing mas with a band, then you will be presented with the option of buying a headpiece that will be specially made for your costume. They are gorgeous, often have 1-2 size options and will surely make you stand out.
These days they are also pretty light weight, so that isn't much of a consideration when deciding wether you want to wear one or not. If you have never worn one, perhaps this is the year that you do.
If you are not playing mas with a band, then you will not have the option to wear their costume/look for that year. But you can still wear a costume you create and a headpiece you make or find elsewhere, you just won't look like a member of that band nor will you get the benefits of being a part of the band.
Millions of people still have fun wearing their own costume and headpiece. It really is a personal decision. Many people make their own (I just started making my first one and it's so much fun), but there are also companies that sell them.
*Store bought carnival headpiece
I notice more wings than headpieces. Typically I see decorative headbands + wings worn more than just the headpiece itself.
Shoes are probably your biggest decision because you will be on your feet, dancing and walking for hours...think all day. The terrain is typically road, gravel, or grass and will take you through most of the island you are on. It's a parade and you are part of it. So be very considerate when deciding which shoes you will wear.
I've seen women wearing heels, flat over-the-knee boots, wedge sneakers and flat sneakers. Many women will choose based on what looks best with their outfit, but you should also consider comfort. The last thing you want is to be walking around barefoot because you took your shoes off because they hurt.
Heels always look great with outfits, particularly one like a carnival costume that is sexy and minimal. But unless you are playing mas where you'll have the option to hop on and off the truck when you want, I wouldn't recommend wearing heels.
*Tribe carnival masquerader, 2019
Flat Over-The-Knee Boots
Flat Over-The-Knee-Boots are a great option for people who are wearing costumes but not playing mas with a band. Since you won't have the luxury of the band truck to hop on and off and keep your stuff on, the boots give you a place to store your personal items like lipstick, phone, money etc. Something you'll need because your costume doesn't have pockets.
One trick I've learned is to wear tall socks with your boots, so that your items don't fall down your leg inside of the boot. The sock acts like a barrier of sorts, keeping your items close to the top of the boot and easier for you to reach.
If you can, choose a nude color (nude to your skin tone), so that it blends in with your skin and costume better.
Also, if it's a new boot, try to break it in a bit before wearing it carnival Tuesday and don't forget your insoles! You'll need them.
You can even decorate your boots, as this gorgeous masquerader shows us below. While they're not over-the-knee, they still do the trick!
Personally, when I go to carnival this year I'll be wearing a pair of flat sneakers-wether I'm playing mas with a band or not. I love the comfort they provide, the look of it with the costume and because it's me, I'll be sure to make them be as unique as they are beautiful.
I'll be wearing my custom AF1's, and making sure to use a stone color that will match my costume.
*Custom AF1's courtesy of www.nichyl.com
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Quickly gaining traction as a type of wear for carnival is Monday wear. Not quite as fancy as carnival Tuesday, but still super cute and sexy in it's own right. With Monday wear, you can have more liberties for what you wear and don't necessarily have to be part of a band to feel included in the costume fun.
Things like blinged out swimsuits to, sexy cut out swimsuits to cut off shorts and crop tops are all perfect for Monday wear! The trick is to wear what makes you feel comfy.
Monday wear will largely depend on what island you are on for carnival, as not every island will celebrate all week long.
*Crystal Collection Swimsuit by Nic Hyl
There will no doubt be additional parties at clubs, peoples houses, and on the streets before, during and after carnival. What you wear to the parties should in theory be an extension of your carnival style.
Opt for crop tops, cut off shorts, sheer dresses, swimsuits and whatever makes you feel like the best version of you. After all, it's carnival and the only rule is to have fun!