There is more to choosing the ‘right’ carnival costume than it may seem.
We all take into account the basics in our selection process; durability, realistic fit, colour scheme, options and most importantly price. So I want to cover some lesser regarded variables, such as reputation, vibes, fun mas, food and drink quality, security and most importantly the DJ’s.
When choosing a costume, you are essentially choosing a band. So regard this costume as entrance to your tribe for the day. There’s always many options to choose from; front line, mid-line, back line, monokini, bikini and for the guys it’s all in the accessories. Now I can’t advise you to much on your personal taste so I will leave that up to you. Remember costumes fit each individual differently, so looking online may not be enough. It is wise to attend the costume launches so you can feel/see the quality in person. Trust me, it really does help in deciding which band, or which section!
First of all, for my fellow drinkers, remember each band has a different punch. Some punches can be tasted at family fun day events and bought from the distributors (punches that are ordered in). Each truck has their own catering, so quality will differ. Take into account the reputation of their caterers food.
Secondly, does the band play fun mas on Carnival Sunday? If so, does it include the t-shirt with the package? Remember you can play with two different bands, so if you prefer the vibes of one truck, but the costume of another, mix it up. However this may end up being slightly more expensive. Last year Sunday I played fun mas with Island Mas, (rated my best punch), and Pretty Mas with Caribbean Sessions (best food). The two were extremely affordable with costumes secured for £175, and just jab package for only £35. This year I’m playing fun mas with Karnival Mania (t-shirt package is only £30 on early bird). Why? Because their reputation proceeds them! Like I said, pay attention to reputation, it never fails.
It’s only logical to want to preserve a costume, if it sets you back £600 or so. So when choosing your costume keep that in mind. If you want to shine then definitely go for the higher priced costumes. However, if you’re there to free up, and shell down, then choose a more affordable costume. I promise you it makes a difference. Linking to that, COMFORT. That is constantly overlooked. By this I mean, if you are larger chested don’t go for a halter neck. If you go mad and scale the place, go for a one piece. Dress to your behaviour, make sure everything is secure before you hit the road, I’m sure nobody wants a nip slip!
Lastly, the vibes. Choose a truck with great security, you’ve paid to be in this section, you have the right to just be with the band. Nothing more disheartening than realising you didn’t need to pay, and you could have just stormed the section. Does the truck have a toilet? Not all trucks do, but I promise you it’s a god send. We all know the carnival struggle, trying to find a house, a bush, portapotty. Fearing that you’re going to lose your truck whilst queuing to pee. If you can avoid then please do. Trucks with their own toilets are not only more hygienic but quicker, and you never have to leave the road! Dj talent… choose the band that suits your soca style. We are so many islands, with so much versatility. Some of us prefer sweet soca, some groovy and some power. It’s sucks waiting all day for your favourite tunes to not get played.
How can you find out if your costume suits you? Band launches! Their dj’s will be playing so you can get a real feel of their vibe. You will find out their prices. You will see their sponsors, like their make up artist and with some luck caterers. Speak to other attendees, compare notes. Take the chance to ask the questions to the costume creators and band owners. Most importantly have fun. After all it’s carnival.