My Costume Secret - Have a Variety of Pieces to Mix and Match

I'm going to let you in on my costuming secret.

Instead of one piece dresses my costumes are usually skirt shirt combos which I add bustles, jackets, corsets, and other accessories to. 

Why? Because with minimal costume pieces I can create a number of different costumes and looks.

Right now I have 3 overskirts that I have made, one adjustable bustle that goes over a skirt and one ruffle bustle that is just a couple layers of ruffles that fits over a skirt or dress. I have three or four skirts that I use mainly as costume bases.

I currently have 4 corsets, 2 bolero style jackets, a shawl, a couple velvet cloaks, and a velvet scarf shawl.  Plus a Victorian ruffle shrug that matches the ruffle bustle.

With these pieces I can easily create Victorian, vampire, goth, steampunk, gypsy and witch costumes just by mixing and matching the pieces and adding the right accessories. I make mini top hats and witch hats so I always have a supply of those. Or the ability to make something specific.

I am an avid resale shopper- eBay, Etsy, local stores, yard sales...always on the hunt for unique and vintage items I can use for costumes and decor.

Here are some of the looks created over the years. My daughter also borrows some of the accessories for her costumes. Plus she has plenty of her own at this point that I have bought  or made for her, or given to her because it didn't work for me.

This year's Witches Ball costume. New skirt bustle combo, new corset and new hat. The rest were pieces I already had.

This is my daughter wearing some our various skirts, bustles, cloaks and mini tops hats. She has her own collection of corsets. Little Ghostface is my youngest son. 


I wore this to the Witches Tea this year. Corset, hat and skirt from last year's Witches Ball with a shirt I wore a few years ago to the Vampire Ball and forgot about. Digging around in my closet I discovered it and realized it would look perfect with this skirt and corset. And it did.

First photo below shows the shirt a few years ago at the Vampire Ball. Second photo is the first version of the skirt I made a few years ago for the witches ball Magic and Mayhem theme. I redid it last year with a new center panel. I like the copper much better than the gold ruffles. Third photo is from last year's witches ball.

Below is the red bustle skirt and a black underbust corset. Originally purchased for the vampire ball I've mixed and matched these pieces for several costumes over the years. I love this bustle skirt and wish I could find more in other colors. You pull strings in the skirt to adjust where the bustle ruffles up. You can make it short in front long in back, keep it long or do a variety of combinations.


  1. LOVE all of your pieces! I love seeing what you are putting together. I should model that more instead of getting as upset as I do about things not fitting or looking right. You always look amazing.

    1. Thank you, D. Believe me I get very frustrated but I try to look my best no matter what. I love dressing up for Halloween events so my costumes get much thought put into them.