Claire's Personal Section Website
of this page:
2011 up-date greeting
My Photograph Collection
List of Costuming Tips
Effects for Costumers
about the Real Mad Hatter
Activities in Period Clothing
Rescue, Buy, Sell, Trade.... Coming soon
Personal Page on San Diego's Costume Guild
yourself… most, will love your individuality.
won’t know how to react,
someone your not and you will have abandoned yourself.
there for yourself.
Kindred Spirits Unite!
OMG it's been
four years since I
made any major entries to the rabbit hole due to medical
issues. Hello to you all and especially to all the newbbies. My 2007
greeting is still fun reading for those new to the guild and want to get
to know me. I
am also on facebook these days become a fan of Photos
I have been struggling with a
condition called "Frozen Shoulder Syndrome"
for the past three years and could only sit at my computer long enough to take care of
priority issues to do with my business, Photos Made Perfect but still
managed to attend a few choice events in between therapy sessions.
Only this past year since my condition started I am almost back to
photo with the tea cup was taken with natural light from my
kitchen and I gave it a special effect. This size doesn't do it justice by
losing small details. When enlarged you can see beams of light
streaming from the lights in the corners. This period was 1914, for the Berkley Tea Dance in July 2010. If you like
this effect and you have a favorite costume to show off let me know.
I joined the group in April of 2007 and I have been to one meeting. I didn't
have a chance to speak with everyone. Then I went to a tea party and
didn't get to met everyone there either, so I thought since we are so many
and we don't all go to the same events, it obvious it will take a long
time to get to know each other if at all, so I put this page together to
share my thoughts, experiences and talents as they apply to
costuming. If and when we meet, we will feel like kindred spirits.
photograph collection to the right.
It is,... every photograph I could find of myself
wearing something on my head. Back in the 1970s my friends use to
call me the "Mad Hatter"....they should see me now! As I look
through the photographs I remember the ones not capture in time. Like when
I wore berets in 1965 because Felix, of The Young Rascals (see
rascals photos) gave me his beret,
and during the Beatle hat craze too. I wore sun-visors in every color. Oh,
and all the Halloween costumes and Easter parades I participated in.
Living in New York had something to do with my relationship with hats with
the weather. I wore rain hats and in bitter cold fur and goose down hats.
In the past , I have given thought to the fact that I have always worn hats
but never put it together like this in any one place. You should try it
and get back to me with your comments.
What's your Theory?
What is the common thread
between us... why do we like to be in costume? Here is my story and
theory, I am curious to hear yours.
I believe, that because you are the sum of all your experiences.... you are who
you are. So when asked why do you like dressing up in period
clothing I had to stop and think about it. When I look for reasons why I like costuming the following
comes to mind. I am a native New Yorker and when you meet me you would never think I have
a shy bone in my body, but believe it or not I do suffer from
bashfulness and wearing a hat seems to be the cure. When I wear a hat, I
is saying to people that I am confident, friendly and approachable.
Most of the time strangers will break
the ice first, then I will talk until the cows come home.
absolutely no problem coming up to me to ask "why you wearing that
hat?" I think some people wish they had the courage to
wear it! Those are the very ones that can't fight the impulse to snatch the hat
off my head and put it on themselves!
while he avoids
attention I don't mind it because it make my world friendlier.
The fun was in the details! My lamp was a
flash light with flimsy plastic waving around like a flame. My face
and hands were green, I sprayed a pair of slippers green and a
green sprayed book.
My father always told me to march to
my own drum and wearing hats when no one else did, was my way to be
different and now with my business it's the whole magila not just the hat
anymore. Well, I guess it
started with my parents. If you get use to wearing a hat and being looked
at for it
don't know if this ritual is still done today but when I was growing
up in New York, it was the custom to get
decked out on Easter and parade around the neighborhood all day
long. At my Holy Communion, wearing this veil my mother made me,
made me feel special.
(Three girls) This was taken on Easter Sunday
in the Bronx, with my
Then, my father
may have been a beatnik. Maybe his goatee is a give away? I
saw him wear anything from a
berets, panama hats and fedoras. He was a
Merchant Marine and also wore military hats. As he traveled around the
world and brought home hats to share with the family and I took to the Vietnamese
style, #6 down, in my collection.
left corner photo: He just came back from
Egypt and in the right here he's posing as a matador.
think there may be an emotional attachment to playing dress
up... something in my
childhood. Ya think... may be you have issues too? just
I have fond memories of Halloween in
New York, it was my most favorite Holiday.
I wore a "Felix the Cat
" suit complete with his magical bag of
tricks, when I was five. After just ONE building you had to go home and
get another pillow case to fill!
This subtle urge
to play dress up was dormant for years. It wasn't until I started my
business and needed a way to stand out, that it came out. You could visit
my guest speaking page to see me in costume teaching genealogy societies
how to tell the age of old photographs.
always thought I had a bit of a theatrical bug in me too. The whole
time I was growing up, my father was always taking pictures of us and we
were not allowed to just stand there, we had to strike a pose,...it
was fun. This is my sister and I posing.
The first San Diego Costume Guild. meeting I went to felt like a
seven-step, self-help program. (Just Kidding) It was my first time meeting other
folks just like me! It helps to know that I am not alone in my madness
and I like you don't want to get over it. So what ever your reason for costuming or period
dressing , I want to tell you all ,that I am glad to meet you and I would
like to hear your story, whether you are like me or not alike at all
. We do
have the joy of playing dress up without being judged and completely
comfortable in each others presents.
Claire, aka the Mad Hatter.
about the Original Mad Hatter)
I know a big part of making your own costume is what makes it
fun. The thrill of the hunt for the specific item to complete your
look, right? But you can't do everything or have the time for
it. So for those who don't want to make it, for what ever reason you
need to find alternatives and solutions. Here are some of mine.
I bought a wig that was plain and styled it into a "Gibson
Girl" hairdo of the Edwardian period. Now I don't have to take
AS MUCH time to fix my hair.
|1912 Gibson Girl
To get a more realistic look, pull some strands of your own hair out
and comb back over the wig. It doesn't matter that it doesn't
match in color as long as it's close.
Read more about the Gibson Girls creator, Charles
use your back arrows or close window to return
If you have any questions or would like me
to create one for you, give me a call. 619-397-7600. They would be all,
one of a kind!
You may want to grow your hair long enough to make a pony tail so you
can attach hairpieces to them like these locks. Imagine having to
curl you hair like this....whewww, no way! Who has that much hair anyway,
they didn't either. Victorians were big on hair pieces, for sure.
My next wig project will be creating a short wig with finger waves for
List of Costuming Tips
Consider carefully the order in which you put things on.
You might think that putting on make up first is good, so you don't mess
up your clothes but only if you wear lip guard before putting on your
clothes. Dressing sometimes can work up perspiration and then you
makeup melts! So dress up and wear a bib for the makeup
session. Last items that should go on is your jewelry and perfume
because your jewelry catches on everything and perfume ruins jewelry, so don't
put in on where jewelry touches.
Carry a calling card to give to merchants, should they come across what
you are looking for, they want the business.
The Del Mar Antique Fair and The Johnson
House in Old Towne San Diego are just two places I frequent for
specialty gifts and staples.
I did not feel the need to be authentic.
My first criteria was to create a period dress that if damaged, it would be
no big deal, establishing
a spending limit early on in the process.
Since my costumes are not authentic, I make them up by
frequenting second-hand stores and a little bit of sewing to make
Once you know you like dressing, you could buy one authentic
piece and build the rest of the costume around it, with
less pricey replicas.
of the time you just get what you can when it comes to colors, but if you have a choice try to
stick to the colors you already have because many of the fashion items are
interchangeable with other period dressing. Like gloves, shawls , hats or
flowers and trims.
Watching period movies and
collecting old photographs is one way I am inspired
and confirm my costuming efforts. Right here on my business website
you can go look at Victorian photographs in the Genealogy section, to see,
click here, and navigate to albums but come back! I was told that
movies are unreliable source for period accurate clothing. Costume
designers deliberately create costumes that for the most part accurate
enough for the era with subtle changes that would appeal to the younger
generation or general public. They feel that period correct doesn't
have the same flair or appeal.
Effects for Costumers
Every time I have my photograph taken, I think of what's in the
background that won't date me. I usually run outdoors onto a lawn or
a plain wall and take away any object that doesn't belong to the era I am
Now you know this service is available, when you pose for your next
shot it doesn't matter where you are, sitting or standing. The only
thing to avoid is having any person or object in front of any part of you,
that wood require more work to omit. In my sample in "Special
Effects" I knew that I wanted to stand near a fire place with my
mother and deliberately stood at my fireplace to produce the effect I
wanted. If you have a family photo you would like to be in (in
costume) let me have a look so I can advise you how to pose for it.
You may want a costume photo with an appropriate background and want it to
be black and white.
|This photograph really didn't need a
background change because the wicker chairs, window and plants are okay
for 1940s but it's in color and too clear and needed a border more inline
with the period photography styles and trends. I could add and old
border too like the special effect on the right.
is the original photo of my mother.
Start a scrapbook of your
period correct costuming with period correct backgrounds
This photograph is of the
1940s - 50s .
I know you have photographs of yourself in costume...if you want to
change the background give me a call.
- Edwardian photo space, soon to come, could be yours!
|This period dress with bustle
needed the proper background. Ladies of the 1800s would have had
their photograph taken in a studio, so it was placed on
a carte de visite of the late 1880s.
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