Costume is the distinctive style of dress of an individual or group that reflects class, gender, profession, ethnicity, nationality, activity or epoch.
In Bhutan there is a traditional national dress prescribed for men and women, including the monarchy. These have been in vogue for thousands of years and have developed into a distinctive dress style. The dress worn by men is known as Gho which is a robe worn up to knee-length and is fastened at the waist by a band called the Kera. The front part of the dress which is formed like a pouch, in olden days was used to hold baskets of food and short dagger, but now it is used to keep cell phone, purse and the betel nut called Doma. The dress worn by women consist of three pieces known as Kira, Tego and Wonju. The long dress which extends up to the ankle is Kira. The jacket worn above this is Tego which is provided with Wonju, the inner jacket. However, while visiting the Dzong or monastery a long scarf or stoll, called Kabney is worn by men across the shoulder, in colours appropriate to their ranks. Women also wear scarfs or stolls called Rachus, made of raw silk with embroidery, over their shoulder but not indicative of their rank.
A costume technician is a term used for a person that constructs and/or alters the costumes. The costume technician is responsible for taking the two dimensional sketch and translating it to create a garment that resembles the designer's rendering. It is important for a technician to keep the ideas of the designer in mind when building the garment.
Draping is the art of manipulating the fabric using pins and hand stitching to create structure on a body. This is usually done on a dress form to get the adequate shape for the performer. Cutting is the act of laying out fabric on a flat surface, using scissors to cut and follow along a pattern. These pieces are put together to create a final costume.
The wearing of costumes is an important part of holidays developed from religious festivals such as Mardi Gras (in the lead up to Easter), and Halloween (related to All Hallow's Eve). Mardi Gras costumes usually take the form of jesters and other fantasy characters; Halloween costumes traditionally take the form of supernatural creatures such as ghosts, vampires, pop-culture icons and angels. In modern times. Christmas costumes typically portray characters such as Santa Claus (developed from Saint Nicholas). In Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States the American version of a Santa suit and beard is popular; in the Netherlands, the costume of Zwarte Piet is customary. Easter costumes are associated with the Easter Bunny or other animal costumes.
Parades and processions provide opportunities for people to dress up in historical or imaginative costumes. For example, in 1879 the artist Hans Makart designed costumes and scenery to celebrate the wedding anniversary of the Austro-Hungarian Emperor and Empress and led the people of Vienna in a costume parade that became a regular event until the mid-twentieth century. Uncle Sam costumes are worn on Independence Day in the United States. The Lion Dance, which is part of Chinese New Year celebrations, is performed in costume. Some costumes, such as the ones used in the Dragon Dance, need teams of people to create the required effect.
Costumes are popularly employed at sporting events, during which fans dress as their team's representative mascot to show their support. Businesses use mascot costumes to bring in people to their business either by placing their mascot in the street by their business or sending their mascot out to sporting events, festivals, national celebrations, fairs, and parades. Mascots appear at organizations wanting to raise awareness of their work. Children's Book authors create mascots from the main character to present at their book signings. Animal costumes that are visually very similar to mascot costumes are also popular among the members of the furry fandom, where the costumes are referred to as fursuits and match one's animal persona, or "fursona".
Cosplay, a word of Japanese origin that in English is short for "costume display" or "costume play", is a performance art in which participants wear costumes and accessories to represent a specific character or idea that is usually always identified with a unique name (as opposed to a generic word). These costume wearers often interact to create a subculture centered on role play, so they can be seen most often in play groups, or at a gathering or convention. A significant number of these costumes are homemade and unique, and depend on the character, idea, or object the costume wearer is attempting to imitate or represent. The costumes themselves are often artistically judged to how well they represent the subject or object that the costume wearer is attempting to contrive.