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More specifically, the term is sometimes used only for those clothes which are specially made for the stage performance by a costume designer or picked out by a costume coordinator. However, many performers also pick up regular clothes and make them their "trademark look" on stage.
In combination with other aspects, theatrical costumes can help actors portray characters' age, gender role, profession, social class, personality, and even information about the historical period/era, geographic location and time of day, as well as the season or weather of the theatrical performance. Often, stylized theatrical costumes can exaggerate some aspect of a character; for example Harlequin and Pantaloon in the traditional Commedia dell'Arte. A movie or stage production which emphazise the use of correct clothes and settings for a specific time period is called a costume drama.
Usually, in costume, historical accuracy is combined with a certain vision. The character that the costumer is dressing is also an important aspect, and a lot of the time the attitudes of the character is not exactly in line with the time period. For example, they may be more bright and colorful, or they may be more dull.
Stage clothes often follow the evolving fashion but in a more extravagant way. Clothes worn by popular performers can often spark new fashions by themselves, as fans of performers want to look like their idols.
Theatrical Costume Photo Gallery
Shakespearean actor in fencing stance
- Fashion Plates of 18th, 19th and 20th Century Theater Costumes from The Metropolitan Museum of Art Libraries
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