I just love it when I find a juicy new website with gorgeous photos and costume descriptions. While I don't generally create replica costumes, I do love browsing for ideas. You never know when a stray shot of trim or the cut of a jerkin will send you spinning off in an amazing new direction. So, here are a few of my favorite inspirational sites. Enjoy!
The Costumer's Manifesto
The "mother load" of costuming links can be found at The Costumer's Manifesto (www.costumes.org). Tara Maginnis, Ph.D., started the site way back in 1996 and it's a gold mine of links to other websites that have to do with costumes, costuming, costume history or fashion history.
It's been around a long time, which is both good and bad. It's good because there's a lot of information. It's bad because sometimes the links are broken or the information is outdated. Still, The Costumer's Manifesto is an amazing resource for all types of costuming. Whether I'm looking for something specific or just surfing around, this is where I go first.
Greater Bay Area Costumer's Guild
You don't need to live in California, or even be a member of the guild, to get a lot of use out of this website. (www.gbacg.org). They have a very thorough costume pattern review page where people post their reviews of patterns *after* they've worked with them and completed garments. They also have a costume resources section and they cover fantasy and cosplay as well as historical fashion. If you do live in the area, they offer workshops and regular events such as the 19th century skating party going on in February 2011. These events are designed to give you a chance to make a specific costume and then give you a reason to wear it.
For fantasy and anime costumes, you can get great ideas and tips at the Cosplay Lab (www.cosplaylab.com) The site lets you start your own cosplay notebook and add photos and notes on your favorite creations. There are also links and events pages. But the best part for me is the photos of other people's amazing work. If you want to recreate just about any anime or comic book character, they're all here.
The Costumer's Guide to Movie Costumes
(www.costumersguide.com) This site is a great combination of links and eye candy. There are discussions of lots of different movies from Star Wars to Ever After to Lord of the Rings to The Young Victoria. One of my favorite features is the podcast where costumers talk "dueling banjo" style about great movie costumes. This site is awesome for inspiration.
What are your favorite research sites? Let us know in the forum!