Allyuh please thank @arielcumberbatch for inspiring this post. She slid in my DM’s recently and expressed that she would be playing mas for the first time. She requested a video that provided costume advice.
Well yes Ariel, ask and ye shall receive. I’m more than happy to assist! Let’s get started!
Band Launch Season
The first step in selecting a costume is waiting for the band to showcase their costumes for the carnival season. These showcases are presented at a Band Launch, which is essentially a fete (party) and fashion show all-in-one.
The presentation of costumes usually takes place during the latter part of the evening. They will show each section’s backline and frontline options. If the band is really on top of their game they will show you ALL the options for one sections (this isn’t normal though).
Selecting a Costume
This can be an anxiety-inducing task for some people; for others, it’s not as serious. To help guide your decision, ask yourself the following questions before selecting.
Do you love every part of the design?
Is it within your budget?
Will it compliment your body?
Just in case your first choice costume is unavailable, make sure you have back-up options in mind.
Those who attend the band launch can usually register for their costume on the spot. Thus, it is always wise to bring your downpayment with you. If you’re not in the country during the band launch, but know someone who is attending, you can pass your funds and costume selection to them so they may collect on your behalf. The benefit of registering this way is being able to secure your costume before the website goes live.
Bands usually launch their websites shortly after the band launch. If they are on top of their game, the website will go live the same night or the next day. For whatever absurd reason, some bands take weeks to launch the website after the band launch…this annoys me to no end; but, I digress. Lets keep hope alive for timely website launches.
The benefit of waiting until the website launches is being able to see ALL the options available for each section. Normally, there will be options that were not revealed during the band launch. Some designers make it easy for you to customize your costume while others have a “what you see is what you get” mentality. Some of the things you may be able to select are:
Individual, Frontline, Midline or Backline
Thong or Boyshorts
Small Feather Backpack or Large Feather Backpack
Wire Bra or Regular Bra
Tiara, Headpiece or Earcuff
Don’t see your size?
Ladies if your tata’s are voluptuous and your cup size is not listed as an option on the website, I recommend reaching out to the band house to find out whether they can accommodate you. If they don’t give you the answer you want you may have to take alternative measures such as having a custom bra made, choosing a different section or selecting a different band altogether. Please see my “Frequently Asked Carnival Questions” article for more details on where to go for assistance.
At least one week prior to carnival day, bands will begin to post there distribution schedule. Oftentimes, each section is assigned a specific pick-up day. Towards the end of the distribution schedule there is usually a number of days and times that are devoted to all costumes.
Make sure your schedule is fairly clear when you go to collect your costume as the wait time can range anywhere from 20 minutes to 4+ hours (yes I’m serious, some bands don’t always have it together.) It is best to pay off your balance before you go to collect your costume. This will shorten the amount of time you spend at the mas camp. When you go, please bring your receipts and ID. If you’re picking up for someone else make sure you have their authorization letter, receipts and a copy of their ID.
Inspect Your Costume
The staff at the mas camp will usually hold up each piece of your costume and explain what they are. However, when it’s your turn, be sure to take your time and inspect every piece of your costume yourself. Pick it up, turn it around, smell it, all of that! Also take a look at the items inside the box/goodie bag just for good measure. What are you looking for?
Wristbands (Very Important)
Missing arm/leg pieces
Rips and tares
Some mas camps have staff on-hand to assist with costume malfunctions and general support. If a portion of your costume is too big or too small, this would be the time to ask for an alternative size. They may tell you to come back later in the week when distribution has come to a close. If there are packages that weren’t picked up you could be in luck.
Can’t make the trip anymore?
If you’re no longer able to attend the trip, but have already purchased your costume, you can put the costume up for sale on social media.
www.fineahban.com is a popular website for reselling and requesting carnival costumes, fete tickets and more. There is always someone looking for something on their website, so its a great place to start.
You will need to repost the information daily in order to keep the post fresh and at the top of the list. You will however, have to delete the previous post as users are only allowed to publish one post at a time.
If you have any other media outlets such as Instagram and/or Facebook, you should post the sale in those places as well. Here’s what you should include in your post:
Amount Paid Thus Far
Preferred Method of Payment
Brief blurb about why your selling
Welp! That’s all I’ve got for now. I’m not sure when I’ll be in costume next so I’ll be living vicariously through you! If you have a question about something that wasn’t addressed in this post please drop a comment below and I will answer as best I can. As always, thank you for tuning in!
Sha Sha Out!