Today I am dressed as the ocean. The idea started with an assortment of shells—mostly ones I’d picked up on San Diego beaches over the years, plus a few from a necklace I took apart. At first I pictured a long necklace and head ornament of shells, but my imagination kept going, insisting that I make seaweed. Soon I was picturing a dress that looked like water, and so here I am today, evoking the ocean.
One thing I’m particularly pleased with is this dress. I found it at a thrift store. It fit well and the dark and light tones of the tie dye reminded me of the ocean. The forest green was darker than I liked so I bleached some of the green out and dyed it turquoise. Here is the dress before and after its dye bath:
I love that this dress isn’t one color. The ocean has many shades within it—and some parts are murky and some are crystal clear. I think this dress captures that feel. And I will wear this dress even after its costume debut, which is always a perk.
The seaweed is made from corn fabric. (An obvious choice, right?) The corn fabric was left over from my Thanksgiving dress last November, and it had some of the golden and brown tones I needed for seaweed. Don’t be afraid of turn something into what you need it to be. If there are glimpses of corn in my seaweed, I think this is visually more interesting than if I were using a uniform brown fabric. I painted the fabric, which made it look more like seaweed and gave it the rigidity it needed.
In case you’re curious, here’s what I spent to bring this costume to life:
Dress, thrifted $ 3.99
Turquoise dye, on sale $ 1.95
Fabric from stash $ 0
Hot glue sticks $ .80
Total $ 6.74
When I’m at the beach I usually study the shore for shells. I’m always amazed at the treasures half-hidden in the sand, and how detailed the shells are. The necklace I made is fairly heavy but I don’t do things half way--and I wanted the shells to stand out against the ocean dress. I will return some of these shells to the ocean after I wear this costume, as a thank you to the ocean for lending me its jewels…
Here’s a fun fact. Did you know that there are more than 15,000 species of bivalves living in saltwater and freshwater? Bivalves have two identical shells held together by a flexible hinge. Here are two tiny ones I found last week:
Here are some other shells I’ve found over the years. It fascinates me to see how detailed they are:
Today’s outfit isn’t funny the way some of my costumes are. But I’m cool with that. Sometimes my creations are heavy on the funny elements and other times they are tributes to something inspiring. Today I pay homage to the majestic oceans of the world—to their crashing waves, their salty air, their shells, their calming blue tones and their cooling breezes. Thanks, oceans—we love you!