Friday, November 10, 2017

Fun with Carmen Miranda!

I, yi, yi, yi, yi, I like this verrrry much! Haha ok so this was really fun to wear. Sooo completely different than what I usually do!

I actually prepared most of it for a party last year, that we didn't end up going to. So this October, I pulled it out, added a couple more details and I was good to go! I wore it to a party we go to at the lake's marina. A lot of people really go all out for it, so it's been a fun event. 

Here's Carmen in all her feathery, decked out glory! I love her!

I settled on Carmen, in That Night in Rio, instead of her more famous fruit headdresses because I just loved the outfit. Not everyone knew who I was, nor did everyone even know who Carmen Miranda was (ugh, I know), but it was definitely a really fun outfit to parade around in for the night. 

Of course, everyone knew who my husband went as. All you need is sideburns! 

Getting dressed on a boat presented it's own challenges. Like getting on and off in massive, Carmen-would-be-proud shoes. And once I had my headdress on, the ceiling was too low for it. I kept getting  clotheslined moving through doorways!

The nails were also a challenge. My nails are usually kept fairy short and boring, as I use my hands for lots of messy things. Mostly to do with horses. And dogs. And cars. But short and boring would not do! And painting them even that morning, well, between the dogs and moving stuff on and off the boat and doing the ropes. I don't think it would have lasted. 

So... fake nails! 

I painted and made sure they fit them ahead of time (last year lol), and waited till I was all dressed to put them on, assuming they would get in the way or pop off. I used Nailene Ultra Adhesive tabs. And they are not kidding when they say ultra. I figured they'd last most of the night, but oh no. I had to muscle those things off the next day. Good thing is, you can slide the nails off relatively easily (oh good lord, DO NOT PULL!), but leaving them on all night, pulling or pushing on my nail beds... My nails hurt like hell the next day! All day.

But they were worth it. I think they looked awesome! Up close, they actually looked very real.

The jewelry and the headdress were the me-made parts of this. The beads were all from ether Hobby Lobby or Michaels. So much jewelry!

The funniest part of the evening was taking the dogs for one last walk before the party. I'm sure that was a sight!

As for the top and skirt, both were bought. The top came from a dancewear company. I added shoulder pads to get the look, and just tucked in the high neck and silver waistband. The back had a weird cut-out, but oh well.

The headdress was fun to make. I browsed many tutorials on youtube and then just ran with it. It ended up being a bit taller than hers, but oh well! I started with some heavy wire I had on hand. I use it to mend fences (one of those reasons I don't have nice nails...). I shaped it to my head, leaving room for my ears, and made a foundation for the feathers.

Then wrapped the whole thing in strips of cotton flannel. By fitting the wire closely to my head, it actually stays on rather well without any other means. I did end up adding wig clips at the end. This thing didn't move at all!

I don't have any good pictures, but to wear it, I parted by hair down the middle, put on the headdress, then rolled and pinned the rest of my hair into a roll at the base of my neck. I thought about sewing a roll of fake hair into the wig, which would have made getting ready that much faster (and as the night wore on, my hair was getting a little snag on the sequins and necklaces...), but when I made the headdress, I didn't leave room inside for my real hair to be put up. Just a thought for another day...

To make the turban, I used a little cotton batting to hide the wires, and wrapped it all in faux satin, tacking it all down. The feather plumes were each constructed with two or three feathers, stitched together (hand whip thread around the quills, up the feather), and curled with a curling iron. The ends were hidden beneath a wrapped bun of fabric.

Wig clips sewn in. 

Careful, these suckers can pull out hair. But they were very sturdy. Even with knocking the feathers into things all night. I was so tall! Between the shoes and two feet of feathers... I was probably hitting eight feet!

And here she was, off to the lake!

And those shoes I mentioned... Carmen Miranda was known for always wearing huge platforms. I searched and searched and finally found these on a consignment website. They're Bottega Veneta, but I got them for an amazing price! Probably because who wants to wear giant shoes like this!? The silhouette was so forties, though! I love them. It's an absolute miracle I didn't break an ankle dancing in these!


  1. Chica boom! Chica boom! What a great outfit, and what great shoes to go with! Wow! Si! Si! Si!

  2. Fabulous outfit, and I love that photo of the headdress in the car!