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!)
Moving on to the Shepherds – my favourite Nativity characters. They are such an important part of the Christmas story that I named my business after them. Obviously, 2,000 years ago these hard working guys would have worn anything they could to keep themselves warm out in the fields at night. Traditionally (well, at least when I was a girl) the shepherds in Nativity Plays wore their dressing gowns (hopefully checked wool with a tie cord) with one of Mum’s tea towels on their head held in place either with a curtain cord or one of Dad’s ties. Not many children have woollen checked dressing gowns anymore so Mums have to work a little harder to assemble a Shepherd’s outfit.
Any of my Tunic and Headdresses will work well for a shepherd, and I do particularly like Blue stripes (so I stock lots of them!) When I’ve sold other colours, such as a dark Green Shepherd, they has also sold well. Any fabric can work as a tunic though, if it is held in place with a good belt, and the good old tea towel has never gone out of fashion!
If you want to push the boat out you can accessorise the basic costume to make it more ‘Shepherd-y’. How about a fleecy waistcoat (simply made by cutting armholes in a piece of faux sheepskin), a small sheep to hold, or even a shepherd’s crook? Just a word of warning about the crooks – I have seen shepherds having a “light saber battle” at the back of the Nativity, with their crooks as light sabers – so think carefully before arming your shepherd…
All this talk of Shepherds, let’s not forget the Shepherdesses! I have plenty of orders for female shepherds who want something a bit more ‘girly’ than Blue or Green stripes. I’ve managed to find fabrics for the last few years that have some Pink, or Purple in, and these seem to be a good way of pleasing the young Shepherd, the parents AND the teacher in charge of costumes!