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Don't Panic, Start with Simple Shapes
COSTUME QUALITY is IMPORTANTNed Wayburn, the most famous American show producer in the early 20th century, on the importance of quality costuming:
"The quality of the material for stage costumes should be the very best to be had regardless of cost. It is unquestionably true that the best is the cheapest in every way. Not only do costumes of cheap fabrics not hold together, and the colors fade out when exposed to the strong modern stage lights, but repairs and renewals become a frequent necessity and the very people on the stage who are compelled to wear the inferior costumes are literally let down to a lower level in morale as a consequence.
"It is human nature for a well-groomed man or woman, on the stage or off, to be in better spirits and a better mental attitude for the very reason that they are correctly attired. Cheap garments and inferior costumes detract from the dancer's ability to do the best work, however unconscious of this fact the dancer may be. So I contend that it pays to use the best material and employ the best workmanship, if only to keep the performers up to pitch and put the show over in a way that spells success.
"Then, too, there is the audience to be considered. They know the difference between silk and cotton, and are quick to judge the show by the appearance of the costumes on the stage. It is little less than an insult to modern American audiences to expect them to pay modern prices for seats in the theatre and then parade a lot of second-rate costumes before them as your idea of something that will 'get by' without detection or adverse comment."
George Washington, to his English tailors in 1760:
"Let me beseech you Gentn to give the necessary directions for purchasing of [the goods ordered] upon the best Terms. It is needless for me to particularise the sorts, quality, or taste I woud choose to have unless it is observed; and you may believe me when I tell you that instead of getting things good and fashionable in their several kinds we often have Articles sent Us that coud only have been used by our Forefathers in the days of yore. Tis a custom, I have some reason to believe, with many Shopkeepers and Tradesmen in London, when they know Goods are bespoke for Exportation, to palm sometimes old, and sometimes very slight and indifferent Goods upon Us, taking care at the same time to advance 10, 15, or perhaps 20 percent upon them." -- George Washington Play and Pageant Costume Book, copyright 1931 by Sol Bloom.
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Author: Maura Enright
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Last updated: 2018.01.06
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