I’ve had a few calls asking me what costume would be suitable for an Innkeeper’s wife, or a Traveller, or the Third Shepherd from the left (and so on – you get the idea!) At least I’ve never had anyone ask for a lobster costume like in ‘Love Actually’! So I thought I’d write down the advice I normally give on various costumes, in the hope it will help someone struggling with a Nativity Costume.
If you’ve been asked to supply a different costume, please ask for help (as long as its not a lobster – I’ll be struggling with that one!)
After Mary, the next most easily identifiable character in the Christmas Story is Joseph. However his costume is not as specific as Mary’s, which gives you a greater chance of finding something that is suitable AND that ‘Joseph’ wants to wear.
Joseph has to stand out from the other ‘male’ characters such as the Shepherds and Innkeepers, but as he is meant to have been travelling on the road for many days, and struggling to find somewhere to stay he shouldn’t look too rich, or be in very fine clothes. A traditional tunic and robe (like the ones I sell at While Shepherds Watched) is a good start for Joseph’s costume, and then you can add some accessories if you wish.
For the tunic and head dress, blue will always look good next to Mary’s blue costume. Brown and beiges are also good for Joseph as they look like Traveller’s clothes. A short cloak over the tunic is a good way to distinguish Joseph from the other characters, and this is easily made from a short piece of fabric or an old sack simply fastened around the neck. A long waistcoat could be another accessory.
As with a Mary costume, the Joseph costume shouldn’t be too long as this could cause him to trip when getting up and walking about.