I waited until the absolute last minute. I know that it was unwise, and it could have ended badly but I had back-up options so I didn't worry too much. I considered a few options in my costume closet first - a corset with a bustle skirt or a Gunne Sax black dress that I like to call my "Lizzie Borden goes to the prom outfit." None of them conveyed the right feel though. I wanted something a little more period. I'd pored through dozens if not a couple hundred photos from previous Edwardian Balls to see what everyone else chose to wear. The costumes ranged from Victorian to spot on Edwardian to safari to steampunk to even sort of Renaissance Faire. I couldn't go wrong unless I showed up in jeans and t-shirt (some folks did that too).
The night before the ball I scouted out a few costume stores, one in particular came up when I searched for the Los Angeles Edwardian Ball and I hoped that it would fit the bill. I also made a list of a couple of vintage stores to visit, and as a last resort - the mall. You just never know what you can find to modify and make work. The next morning (the day of the ball) I started with the costume rental store - Etoile LA. It was everything I've dreamed a costume store should be. I knew that a place like this had to exist in L.A. Besides offering standard costumes and accessories for purchase, they have affordable rentals for everything you can imagine - Edwardian costumes to Starfleet uniforms to multiple Carmen Miranda hats. You can rent shoes and accessories in addition to the main part of your costume. I wanted to drool over everything, but I had to be focused. In the Titanic daydresses section, I found two that I loved but since the sizing back then was very tiny, only one really fit. And it happened to come with a bag.
Now that I had a green over daydress and a bag, I just had to fill out the rest of the outfit. It was easy. Here's a breakdown of where everything else came from, head to toe.
- The hat is from The Icing. I went there to look for suitable necklace and was surprised to find this hat that would absolutely work. I bought green ribbon from Michael's to attach to the band with hot glue, and I also got small flat backed green Swarovski crystals to glue randomly on the hat's netting. They added a nice extra sparkle.
- The necklaces and earrings were also from The Icing. The skull cameo was from an artist at Long Beach Comic Con.
- The black dress under the green daydress was a simple, spaghetti strap dress that I've had in my closet for a very long time.
- Black lace gloves were from a store in the mall called Sidecca.
- Stripey tights are Music Legs brand; I bought them in a costume store a while ago.
- Basic black heels (and short ones!) were also from Sidecca.
I liked this costume much more than the other options I had, so for me it was a win. And as a bonus, it wasn't constrictive in the least. Though I had to run around to collect all the pieces, it was still an easy costume. I like the way it came together. Maybe next year I'll actually plan an outfit more than ten hours in advance.