My Cinderella Costume for the With Dignity Masquerade Ball

Last Saturday, 2 November, was Beauty Night Society’s With Dignity Masquerade Ball (sponsored by Smell This! Aromatherapy & Derma Bright Clinic) at the Heritage Hall. We don’t get very many opportunities to dress up in costume at our age, nor do we get to hide behind pretty masks very often, so it was a wonderful event to attend. Everyone was dressed up and we were more than happy to empty our pockets to benefit Beauty Night Society, which supports impoverished women and youth. I wanted to spend as little money as possible on my costume so based on what I already had (dress and shoes), I went as my favourite childhood Disney princess, Cinderella. Read on to learn about my costume project!

The Glass Slippers

Back in May 2013, I’d left my Payless Shoesource patent pumps unattended. When I went to collect my two pairs of pumps, I discovered to my dismay that both pairs had been cat-nibbled on. The nude is not as noticeable, thankfully, but the black pair is a lost cause as you can see from the photo:

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Cat-nibbled and -scratched shoes

I was about to toss these when I decided to google some ideas on what to do with them. Painting the shoes would still reveal the punctures. Glitter or rhinestones, however, would transform the shoe into Cinderella’s glass slippers. In mid-June, I tried using a small bottle of silver glitter glue from the dollar store (C$1.99). I squeezed out as much glitter as I could and smoothed it out with my index finger (I could not be bothered to use or to find a paintbrush). I applied two coats of glitter glue and was quite pleased with the result:

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After 2 coats of glitter glue

After both shoes had dried, however, I noticed that the glitter paint could be peeled off. :S

That’s when I decided to follow the instructions from the Rites of Beauty blog and bought Mod Podge, a sponge brush, and glitter from Michaels around August. In hindsight, I should have used Martha Stewart’s fine glitter to avoid clumping. It’s twice the price of the one I’d bought but worth it. I ended up buying it when it went on sale as I’d run out of the regular glitter. I would spend an hour or so every month from August/September – November adding more glitter to the shoes. I then ‘sealed’ the glitter with Mod Podge and let it sit dry for a night. On Saturday, the day of the masquerade, I added some cheap rhinestones to the heels and front. This part was inspired by the glass slippers in Ever After, one of my favourite movies!

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The rhinestones on the heels were bound to come off…

I knew the rhinestones on the heels would fall off. I came home with around 2 on each heel. I was disappointed to see that the glitter had come off around my bunions too. 🙁 Maybe I’ll have to use sandpaper to prime it. Or just toss it?

The Mask

Although a $2 Venetian mask with a handle from Dollarama would have been quite charming, it would have been very impractical to be carrying so many things when one has only two hands. My mask was a last-minute arts & crafts project because I could not decide if I wanted a white or black mask. I knew I wanted feathers and the ones I already have are mostly black. At Michaels, I found a plain white Venetian mask. The eyes were far too big for my beady little eyes so I knew I had to somehow create my own and make the eyes smaller. Quite conveniently, there was a felt section right across from the masks, so I picked out a brocade felt sheet. I also bought black glitter to be applied over the brocade print but I had no time last week so I left it plain.

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Mask, brocade felt, Mod Podge, sponge brush

I used Mod Podge to attach the felt sheet to the mask and folded the extra felt to the back of the mask. I made a smaller opening for the eyes, changing the shape somewhat to match my eye shape. Once the mask was set, I superglued three ostrich feathers to the left of the mask. I nearly added cheap rhinestones to the middle of the mask but I felt it made it look too cheap. I used a heart-crown hat clip instead. I attached velvet ribbons to the sides, sealing off all ends to prevent the ‘fluff’ from coming off.

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My completed mask without the clip

The Dress

I had my vintage Easter dress re-hemmed to remove the yellow stains at the bottom where the previous owner had the hem at. That meant I got rid of the white trimming at the bottom which was frankly just a tad too girlish for me. To make the dress fuller, I found a vintage crinoline from Community Thrift for C$20. Since it was much too big for me, I used safety pins as I did not have enough time to stitch the waist band. Since my dress still reminds me of Marie Antoinette (and it happened to be her birthday on the 2nd), I wore white stockings that I had bought long ago from H&M. Now my legs were warm and the shoes would be guaranteed to stay on my feet!

Accessories

Since my mask is black, I wore my Bijoux black earrings and used the remainder of the black velvet ribbon as my choker. I would have liked it to be longer like the ones in late Victorian paintings but I found out [about the length] too late. I carried my wallet, key, Kleenex, and lipstick in a vintage purse. And of course, I had my iPhone with me.

Hair

Originally, the plan was to have a twisted bun at the back. This would work on wet hair but my dry hair is too thick and layered to cooperate so I had to use a hair net and lots of long bobby pins. I covered my ears (to protect from the chill!) with my hair. I suppose this low bun would have to do for ‘Victorian’ hair.

Voilà!

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Unfortunately, one attendee thought I was Alice in Wonderland and I blame that on the length of my dress. Yet since my Cinderella outfit was only inspired by the Disney version as well as the Victorian era (the same time period as Disney’s Cinderella is supposedly from), it is understandable that Cinderella isn’t the first character people would think of.

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Regrets:

I’d planned on wearing my opera cloak again since it was a chilly and rainy evening. Instead, I wore my trench coat and carried an umbrella. What a hassle it was to carry my mask, my purse, and an umbrella on the bus full of people. 🙁 I’d also planned on wearing my vintage black gloves to match my mask or my elbow-length white gloves to match the trimming and white stockings. Perhaps the latter would have been more convincing as Cinderella. I was rushing out of the house and had forgotten to set them out the night before. What a shame. 🙁

What do you think?

Should I add black glitter to my mask? Should I have worn my hair differently? Should I toss my shoes?