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Drag King Costumes DIY Stage Outfits Upcycling Clothing for Drag Kings Sequin Embellishments Masc Jewellery

From Street to Stage: Drag King Costuming

costume drag king kings of joy Mar 14, 2024

Visualise your favourite Drag King costume like a diamond in the rough. It starts as an ordinary piece of clothing. But with the right embellishments, it can transform into something eye-catching. 

Did you know that pressure makes diamonds form? A little effort and some hot tips below will transform boring, everyday menswear. A costume must elevate from something you'd wear in the street to a deliberate creation for the stage.

Let’s apply some creative pressure with a hot glue gun and bedazzling. Advanced sewing skills are not required.

The Art of the Sequin

Have you ever wondered why some performances seem magnetic? Spoiler. It’s all about the sparkle. Sequins have been performers' secret weapons for generations. They capture and reflect light. Adding sequin highlights can transform even the simplest jacket into an eye-catching piece.

Hot Tip: Don’t bother with individual sequins. Find some sequin fabric then add it to lapels or cuffs using fabric glue for an instant upgrade. Fashion historian Valerie Steele says, “Sequins draw attention by amplifying movements... making every gesture more dramatic.”


Masc Jewellery Magic

Who said jewellery was only for Queens? Masc jewellery can add depth to your Drag King look while keeping things edgy.

Hot Tip: Think harnesses, chains or leather bands as necklaces or bracelets. Remember it’s not about quantity but about strategic placement. Remember the original Queer Eye for the Straight Guy stylist Carson Kressley? He says, "Accessories are what make or break an outfit."

Pants That Dance

Ever noticed when you slip on certain pants they make you want to move? Choosing pants is definitely about the fit - and if they don’t fit - it’s the CLOTHES, it’s NOT YOU. Keep going. You haven’t found the right fit yet. 

To elevate pants from boring to hero, they will need some type of embellishment or statement.

Hot Tip: Add shiny strips down your pant sides using adhesive fabrics (or fabric and fabric glue). Make sure they’re flexible enough not to constrict your movements. 

Test the fabric first by stretching it in your hands. Pants like denim and tweed won’t stretch. If the fabric stretches in one direction and not another, that’s a 2-way stretch. If it stretches in both directions, that’s a 4-way stretch and the best fabric to move in for athletic wear.

Upcycling - One Man's Trash Is Another King's Treasure

Upcycling clothing into costumes will result in a costume no one else has ever worn. Think about how you can make your costume unique. Reverse Garbage offers a treasure trove of materials ripe for repurposing. Collect vintage buttons or metallic fabrics. They are all waiting for their moment in the limelight again.

Hot Tip: Look beyond traditional garments. Think about how to incorporate objects into outfits. For example, a creative solution for old CDs can make a dazzling accessory).

The Non-Sewer's Toolkit

Don’t have any sewing skills? Ask around to outsource this skill. But what if I told you needles aren't always necessary? Modern adhesives have revolutionized DIY costuming. Fabric glues now offer a durable solution to securely attach embellishments. All without threading a needle once!

Hot Tip: Invest in quality fabric glue and double-sided tape for fabrics. These are game-changers especially when adding intricate details quickly.

Transforming everyday menswear into iconic Drag King costumes doesn't need magic. Add some sequins, masc jewellery and reflective strips. Embrace eco-friendly practices such as upcycling. Now you're well on your way towards crafting a costume worthy of any spotlight.


Danica Lani

The King Coach

P.S. Wanna be a Drag King? Click here to join the waiting list for Kings of Joy

Hello my friend, 🌈 I'm Danica Lani, here to empower you in your exploration of gender, sexuality, and performance. Known as The King Coach, I have proudly mentored, choreographed, and produced 106 first-time Drag Kings since December 2020 and built the uplifting Kings of Joy community. With decades of coaching and facilitation, I've led transformative workshops for hundreds of queer-identifying women, non-binary, and trans individuals, specialising in tantra within a queer context. My mission is that we can be 100% at home in our own skin.

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