When I was at a costume store looking for pirate jackets, I took one out of the bag and was incredibly disappointed at the lack of quality in the product.
When I took the Newport News jacket out of its bag, I was startled by the quality of the product. I hadn't realized it was velvet, and it's very thick and sturdy in feel. On the model it had looked mid-thigh length, but since I'm short it hits at about the knee, which is what I wanted.
I got three blouses from them. One that I thought would probably work won't; it doesn't button to the collar. (You'd think I could tell this from the website, but I can't because the models never wear button-front shirts buttoned all the way regardless of the shirt's style). The one that I thought would work if I got a jabot to wear over it, probably would although the collar might not look right with a jabot.
The one that I thought would be perfect, is. Despite being a lace-only (and thus transparent) shirt, it still looks exactly right with the jacket over it. Very happy with the overall effect. Lut doesn't like the hook-and-eye closure of the jacket, and I admit I'd prefer a button closure myself. But I think it works.
I spent last night shopping for various other final touches. Lut suggested beige or red pants instead of black, and a red sash to wear over the coat. I dug up a long piece of red satin from the basement (why do I have a quarter yard of 60" wide red satin fabric? I have no idea) which is hideously wrinkled but was enought to convince me that the red sash was a good idea. The tri-corner hat that I planned to wear is only marginally less battered than the one Jack Sparrow wore in the last Pirates of the Caribbean film. While, on the one hand -- hey, pirate costume, battered=authentic, on the other, everything else is shiny new so it definitely stands out. Regardless, it undeniably needed a new feather. I also wanted a hook and maybe an eyepatch.
I hit a permanent costume shop downtown, which had a much better selection of products, both cheap props and quality ones, then the temporary one I'd tried last week. Alas, they did not have quite the kind of sash I wanted. But they did have a huge selection of feathers, and I bought two: an ostrich plume which is what I'd originally had in mind, and a long thin beige feather that I thought would look good, too. Haven't decided which I'll go with yet. I also looked at their hats, and got a cheap one that more-or-less fit. I still haven't decided if I want to wear the tri-corner I already owned, which is of actual felt and fits me properly but has seen better days, or the mint-condition new one that's a little too large and made of, I dunno, flocked plastic or something. It doesn't look bad but it feels like a prop, whereas my old hat feels like a hat. They had a hook, but apparently all costume hooks are made with a bar down the middle that you grip like a sword hilt, which strikes me as an uncomfortable way to hang onto something for more than a few minutes. I want one with a crossbar going from side to side, but I can't find that. Maybe the cross-bar style would require too much fitting based on hand size, as opposed to the "one size fits all" of the popular approach. I dunno. I did get an eyepatch.
They didn't have any prop parrots. I guess parrots aren't a big costume item even if pirates are in.
It was almost 8 when I left the costume shop. I went from there to WalMart, as WalMart was the only store I could count on not to close on me while I browsed. After combing through belts and scarves a couple of times, I admited defeat on the sash front and switched to plan b: ironing the fabric I've got and using it. I went over their selection of clothing a few times, too, and finally produced a pair of beige pants and a light weight knit beige top that I thought would provide a nice opaque base for the lace blouse. (I was currently wearing a tank top under it, but I wanted something with long sleeves). I was wearing my costume currently, so I went to the changing room, took everything off, put on the pants and top, and put everything back on over it to see how it all looked together. I looked in the mirror. I thought, I wish I could buy these items without having to get undressed again.
By the time I got home, showered, and ate dinner, it was bed time. I washed the red satin and will have to see tonight how ironing works. (It is so wrinkled that I'm not sure even ironing will flatten it). I'll also see what I can do to rehabilitate my old hat. Other than that, I guess I'm done on the costume front. I'd like some prop weapons -- a sword or a flintlock pistol or both -- but I plan to bring this costume with me on my visit to see kagetsume and minor_architect this weekend, and I'm not going to try to bring even an obviously fake plastic weapon onto an airplane, in this day of "we confiscate pictures of weapons and GI Joe action figure accessories". :P
Between being sick on Monday and Tuesday, shopping last night, packing tonight, and flying out tomorrow, this week is shaping up to be a total wash on the exercise front. Oops. I'll be a good girl again next week.