Carnival Costumes

Need to find a carnival costume? I have a detailed list of the bands, and have blogs you should check out.

Tobago Carnival 2022 Costumes

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when is tobago carnival, tobago carnival 2022

Tobago carnival 2022 is in 57 days, but there is still time to register and plan your trip!  This blog gives you a list of the participating bands that provide carnival costumes, and J’ouvert outfits.  

Tobago carnival will be held October 28-30, 2022.  There are festivities that start as early as September 10th.  The following bands listed are those that have websites available that can accept registration at this time. So be sure to check back occasionally for updates. 

To learn about Tobago Carnival and other participating bands, click here. 

tobago carnival 2022 costumes

Fog Angels Mas + J'ouvert

Fog Angels

Fog Angels touts itself as the premier band for Carnival and J’ouvert in Tobago.  For Tobago Carnival 2022, they present 9 carnival costumes and 9 options for J’ouvert.  To check out their website, click here.

Zain Carnival

Tobago Carnival Costume
Zain Carnival

Zain carnival brings 4 beautiful sections to Tobago Carnival this year.  To check out their website, click here.  I am personally in love with Divavasu’s feather backpack! To check out their costumes, click here.

Jade Monkey Mas

Tobago Carnival 2022 Costumes
Jade Monkey Mas

Jade Monkey Mas  presents costumes in tribute to the late-great Blaxx.  To check out their costumes, be sure to head over to the website.  I personally am in love with “Mash Up”.

I will be playing mas with Fog Angels this year! So, be sure to check back for updates and my review of Tobago’s first-ever carnival in October.

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Tobago Carnival 2022 Costumes

Tobago Carnival 2022 Costumes

By Posted on 1min read70 views

when is tobago carnival, tobago carnival 2022Tobago carnival 2022 is in 57 days, but there is ...

Picking your Carnival Costume

Picking your Carnival Costume

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Pick your carnival costume, pick your carnival outfit, carnival costume selection, how to pick your carnival ...

Choosing your carnival band

Choosing your carnival band

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So you have decided to participate in Carnival and now you are overwhelmed trying to decide ...

Picking your Carnival Costume

By Posted on 3min read67 views

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Costume selection can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time! Even as an experienced masquerader, I have been torn between two or three costumes in a band.  Don’t fret! I will teach you the principles I use when picking a carnival costume.

To read about how to choose the right band, click here

#1: Budget

Budget plays a role in everything.  When I started to plan for Saint Lucia carnival, the costume I loved the most was out of my budget at the time. Consequently, I chose a cheaper costume instead.  Sometimes you may not be able to afford your favorite costume, and that is okay! It’s better to go in something you can afford than not at all. .

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Broken feathers in the first hours of Saint Lucia Carnival 2022.

#2: The crowd

Some carnival events are known to be more crowded than others.  While you may adore your ultra-mega-frontline wings, you may find them destroyed beyond recognition before you cross the stage.  For example, the roads in Saint Lucia are very narrow. I knew my backpack would be heavily damaged, so I wore it for photos but left it back at my Airbnb. Nobody will care for your feathers as you do. If you believe your joy may be stolen by damage, consider small backpacks and collars instead.

#3: Comfort

Always choose a costume that you would feel comfortable wearing. If you feel a costume exposes too much skin, it’s totally okay to pick something with more coverage.  I am not particularly a fan of calling costumes “curvy” because the reality is that even leaner women desire more coverage for various reasons.  If you want to wear a two – piece costume, you can even choose high waist panties and boy shorts.  Mas bands are prepared to accommodate a variety of preferences. If you don’t see your option, just ask!

#4: Flattering styles

First off, YOU CAN WEAR WHATEVER COSTUME YOU WANT! But when I look at costumes, I look for particular cuts that compliment my shape.  For example, I have a short torso, and full Hips.  Low cut patients that cut straight across make my torso look even shorter and my hips even sider.  I prefer high-cut panties instead. 

carnival costume selection

#5: Function

They say that backline masqueraders have more fun, but I beg to differ.  I’m a frontline masquerader with backline behavior, but it’s all about ease of movement while you are on the road.  To be honest, I have taken a frontline backpack off on the truck so I could maneuver the crowds more easily for a while.  If you don’t want your freedom of movement limited, you may choose a smaller backpack, collar, or no feather work at all.

 

If you have any tips to share, feel free to comment below! If you have any questions, you can drop them in the comments, or email hello@americanwinesmatter.com.  I hope this helped!

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Trinidad Carnival Bands (you may not know)

By Posted on 3min read59 views

2023 will mark three long years since the last Trinidad Carnival. Some seasoned Trinidad revelers might want to try something new. Some of us may want to experience Trinidad carnival with the locals. Some of us will wait too long to take the leap and need to find a costume with a band SOMEWHERE.

When I started to research Trinidad Carnival, all I could see were the bands under the Tribe umbrella: Tribe, Rogue, Harts, Pure, Bliss, and Lost Tribe. So imagine my surprise when I discovered lesser-known bands!

Can’t knock Tribe’s marketing power, but there are PLENTY bands in Trinidad prepping to offer you (possibly) a cheaper and more intimate experience in 2023. Read on!

trinidad carnival bands

8 Trinidad Carnival bands you may not know about.

1: Exousia Mas

Exousia prides itself on being a customer-focused band. They offer superior customer service with a down-to-earth vibe to match. The band is launching their costumes on August 26th. Their theme this year is: “Sanctuary.” So be sure to check them out!

2: Ronnie and Caro

Trinidad Costume
Check out "Utopia" designed by Nisha Felice for Ronnie and Caro 2023.

Ronnie and Caro has been around since 2008. This band is very well known in Trinidad and has done a lot of costume production for many of your favorite bands and sections. Ronnie and Caro already launched their costumes this year. The theme is: “This is Paradise”. Ronnie and Caro pride itself in superior customer service for their masqueraders and quality costumes. 

3. Utopia Mas

Trinidad Carnival Costume 2023

Utopia Mas’ theme this year is: “Mas Kya Dun”. Be sure to check out their website and social media links for more information.

4. Paparazzi Carnival

Trinidad Carnival 2023 Costume
Check out this gorgeous costume designed by Rawle Permanand for Paparazzi 2023.

Paparazzi has been on my radar since 2018. Over time, I have noticed that the costumes compete with the popular bands, with a lower price point. In addition, some of the costumes are created by my favorite designers. So be sure to check out their options for Trinidad Carnival 2023.

5: K2K Alliance

Trinidad Carnival K2K Alliance
Think Lost Tribe, but on steroids.

K2K screams “traditional, but make it luxe.” K2K alliance offers a no-feathers, more traditional mas experience with costume designs you would wear when Trinidad carnival is over. This year’s theme is “World Wars – In the Time of Solomé.” Be sure to occasionally check their website and social media links for updates.

6: Jam the Band

Jam the Band
Don't sleep on their designs!

Avi and Jason do a lot of design and production for some of your favorite bands. But they also have a band in Trinidad! Jam Designs Concepts has designed some of my favorite costumes in the past year. I wore their design for Miami Carnival 2021.  They also power Vogue Mas as a band and its traveling section.  Be sure to check out their instagram for updates on its upcoming launch.

Newer bands/More intel needed...

Trinidad Carnival Costume Showtime Carnival 2023
Check out this costume for Showtime Carnival 2023.

trinidad carnival bands

There are a couple bands on my radar, but I don’t have a lot of information. , or they are very new. So be sure to check out the following periodically.  I will update this blog when I get more information:

Showtime Carnival – Theme: Metamorphosis

Resonate Carnival

I Hope this quick blog expands your vision beyond the big Trinidad Carnival bands!

Besides, the less popular bands deserve love too! So, which less popular band would you consider jumping with in 2023?

I will be headed to Trinidad next year, but I have not decided my band. So keep your eyes peeled. You’ll never know where I will turn up.

If there are other less popular Trinidad Carnival bands I may have missed, comment below!

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Buying a Carnival Costume: Register with a band

By Posted on 7min read55 views

The first time I decided to play mas, I was confused about many things.  My biggest question was, how do you participate? Is it like a secret society or club I had to apply? Do I get “voted in” to participate with a band? Luckily, my twin sister guided the way and answered many questions.  If you are a carnival newbie, you might wonder: How do you buy a carnival costume? No sweat, I got you!  In this blog, I cover how to register with a mas band, along with important terms you should know.  At the end of this blog, you get answers to some commonly asked questions.

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Attending/watching band launches

To keep track of upcoming carnival events, check out my carnival calendar here and check back regularly for updates.

Band launches are the official kick start to an event’s carnival season, and so I strongly recommend you attend one if you can.  You can attend a band launch live, or sometimes the band will broadcast the event over social media.  Alternatively, many bands release virtual launches, which are videos of their options for that year.  There are pros and cons to the different types of band launches that I covered at a previous blog here. Once the band launches, you can register on their website.  Alternatively, you can register in person at a mas camp.

Register with a band

Registration includes your choice of a costume, with a NON-REFUNDABLE deposit.  And so, it’s important to make a solid decision.   In the United States, I have seen deposits as low as $100.  Comparatively, some bands may require up to 50% of body wear.  Some may require an initial deposit, plus all feather options paid in full.   If you register early, you will have more time to pay the costume in full over time. Consequently, if you register close to the event, you may be required to pay for the costume in full. 

Note: if you do not pay your costume in full by the deadline, your costume is subject to resale, and your funds may be forfeit.   All things considered, the key is communicating with your band, even when you are behind on your payments.  

A word about committee-member registration: This is common outside the United States, especially Trinidad.  You will be given a contact name and email of a committee member for a section you want to register with.  Cross your fingers and hope they email you back to allow you to register for the section and option you want.  In light of this, I can’t deal with this stress and prefer to register with bands with less restrictive registration process.

Costume Options

If you are playing mas for the first time, the options on the website may overwhelm you.  But once you get the hang of what everything means, you will find that picking your costume can be a lot of fun!   Listed below are types of costumes that may be available for you to purchase, listed cheapest to most expensive:

Monday Wear: A bodysuit option with little to no frills.

Backline: Backline costumes will be the cheapest and may have little to no feathers.  The baseline of a backline costume is a panty, bra, headband with simple leg and arm pieces.  Backline costumes are not only budget friendly, but there’s a saying that “backline has more fun”.  This is because backline masqueraders can move more freely without the consideration of wearing feathers.

Midline:  Midline costumes are a little more and are a good “in between” that like to have a little more pizazz to their costumes with some feathers.  You might see a small feather backpack or collar.  Similar to the backline costumes, you have a lot of freedom of movement, just a little more bling.

Frontline: Come through, diva.  Frontline costumes typically have a lot of bling, with large feather backpacks and headpieces.  Frontline masqueraders really bring a section’s theme to life with the larger backpacks.  Unlike backline, frontline masqueraders may experience restriction of movement.  Additionally, navigating through crowds might prove a challenge, and not everyone is understanding or polite when they get slapped in the face with feathers.  So be sure to walk sideways.

Ultra/Premium Frontline: Just extra!!!! Make it frontline, but on steroids.

Individual: Show up and show out, and expect to take lots of pictures!. The leader of the pack. This option is usually limited to 1-5 masqueraders

Bodywear Options

Carnival Costume Coverage
Coverage Illustration from Euphoria Mas

A common myth about carnival is that you have to be “skin out”.  Not so! By all means, carnival is not only about freedom of expression, but also about feeling good about yourself and what you are wearing.  For this, all the bands offer you different coverage options.  If you are looking for a coverage option you do not see on the website, I encourage you to contact the band directly for availability.

Monokini: A monokini is known as a one-piece bikini.   Over the past year, I have seen some absolute FIRE monokini options, and even wore one as a section queen for Miami Carnival 2021.   In other words, don’t sleep on monokinis. I believe it will be the trend in the years to come.

High-waist panty: Some masqueraders have no issues wearing a two-piece bikini set, but feel they look best with more of their stomach covered. High-waist panties provide coverage at or over the navel.

Cheeky: A panty coverage option that doesn’t expose the entire buttocks, just a little cheek.  This might also be called a “Brazilian cut”.

Slingshot: A panty option that provides coverage to just your intimate areas. This option is likely a thong or string in the back.

Wire Bra: This type of bra starts with 100% wire, and comes in various styles.  Because of the materials they are made from, it is considered more expensive than a regular bra.

Registration terms you should know

Backpack vs. Collar
Difference between a backpack and a collar. Photos from One Island Mas Band / Jam Design Concepts / Kontact the Band

Backpack: When you hear the word “backpack”, you might think about what you wear to school or work.  When it comes to playing mas, a backpack is an arrangement of feathers, gems, trim and/or other materials that starts with a wire frame. It rests on your shoulders and is secured to your back.

Collar: An arrangement of feathers, gems, trim and/or other materials that starts with a wire frame.  The wire frame usually rests on the front of your chest and wraps around the back of your neck to the other side of your chest.

Add On: Some bands offer a costume with the feather options included.  Some bands will offer “add ons”.  The add on feature allows you to purchase the base (body wear) of the costume and add options a la carte.  This option can make your experience more budget friendly if you want to be in a frontline costume, but can’t afford (or don’t want to wear) large feather pieces.  Add on options can include feather headpieces, leg pieces, collars, and backpacks.

Mas Camp: A location where bands can work on producing or selling costumes.  Alternatively, the mas camp may also serve as a distribution point.

Frequently asked questions

Will the band ship my costume to me?

– No, if you are participating in carnival, you will have to pick up your costume at a designated registration location/date/time.

I don’t want to participate in carnival, but I want a costume for (insert reason here). Where can I find one?

– Some people buy costumes for uses outside of Carnival, such as birthdays, weddings, maternity shoots or other occasions. Some places to purchase carnival costumes would include Etsy, Poshmark, and Amazon.  Alternatively, you can commission a designer to make something special.  Check out my blog here.  Another way to get a costume is to register for a carnival near you. I would prefer you get the road experience!

I registered, but now I can’t go.  How do I get my money back?

– Unfortunately, deposits toward a costume are non-refundable. A great option is to contact the band directly to see if they can help you resell your costume. If it’s paid in full, you can have someone collect and ship it to you.

I can’t get my costume at the distribution time/date.  What do I do?

– Contact the band immediately. Unfortunately, some bands may sell your costume if you do not pick it up.  You can arrange an alternate time to collect it, or have someone pick it up for you.

If you paid your costume in full, the band might be willing to ship the costume to you at your expense. Be sure to contact them to find out what your options are.

Have fun selecting a costume!

I hope this gets you started on your journey with getting a carnival costume!  If you have any questions, be sure to hit me up at hello@americanwinesmatter.com.  Alternatively, I am highly responsive in my DMs on Instagram.  Have fun picking out your costumes! I can’t wait to see you on the road.

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All About Monday Wear

By Posted on 2min read49 views

I remember the first time I heard “Monday Wear.” What is Monday wear? Where do I buy Monday wear? Most importantly, why would I want to wear it?  If you are as confused as I once was, this is the blog you want to read.

In Trinidad, the carnival costume was worn on Carnival Monday and Tuesday.  The bodywear of the outfit was worn on Monday, and the bodywear with feathers was worn on Tuesday.  Over time, people began to seek other options over wearing the same bodywear for two days.  And so, Monday Wear was born and has evolved into a staple item of revelers on and off the road.

Monday Wear ranges from an intricate design for hire, a “base” of a carnival costume, to a simple swimsuit or bikini.  It’s that simple!

Have an old carnival costume?   Swimsuits in your drawer? You already have it! But if you want to know where to buy Monday wear, this blog is for you.

Check my blog if you’re looking for cute bags to wear with your outfit.

Old costumes, purchase from a band or designer

People would traditionally throw away their costumes to represent shedding old skin and coming out new.  In current times, costumes are expensive and so intricate that many save the body wear.

monday wear
This Monday wear design was commissioned from Chez Zen Mas.

Trinidad carnival is a pretty big deal, so some may hire a designer for a particular design. Many of your favorite bands sell Monday wear options, so check out their website or inquire via social media or email.   For Trinidad 2020, I purchased an outfit from Melissa Simon – Hartman.
I’m looking forward to seeing what she might create for 2023.

melissa simon-hartman monday wear
Now that she's designing for celebrities, I hope I can afford her next year!

Outfits made from swimwear and bodysuits

Monday Wear Outfit Swimsut
Monday wear is something as simple as a bodysuit or swimwear.

If you are a fete-goer on a budget, bodysuits and swimwear are fantastic options.  Note: If you pick a bodysuit that snaps in the crotch, please have it sewn shut.  Yes, I have seen ladies unexpectedly exposed, thinking those two snaps would withstand the rigor of her kitty and the revelry.

I compiled a shortlist of super-cute swimsuits that you can wear for as low as thirty bucks.  I love a good deal!  Attached is an affiliate link, and I earn commissions from your purchases. I thank you in advance!

 

Monday Wear Ideas
Click the photo to head over to my idea list on Amazon.

That wasn’t so bad, was it?    

Monday wear gives you freedom of movement and may actually afford you an opportunity to express your individuality on the road or at a fete.  I hope this helps you! 

 

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Saint Lucia Carnival Costumes

By Posted on 2min read58 views

We all know the trophy will undoubtedly return to Trinidad next year, but the buzz around Saint Lucia Carnival 2022 is so crazy that I would argue it might be the “it” Carnival for the Island countries. You are definitely behind the power curve if you are starting to plan your trip to Saint Lucia Carnival, so get to planning! But if you want to know where to get costumes for Saint Lucia Carnival, this blog is for you. 

Be sure to check out my Saint Lucia Carnival guide here.

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Saint Lucia Carnival Costume Bands

Saint Lucia Carnival Costume
Credit: Saint Lucia Tourism Board

The good news is there are only a few bands for Saint Lucia Carnival, so you won’t be overwhelmed by the options left.  The bad news is that many options are sold out due to demand. 2020 registrants were also rolled over into this year’s production, likely making your favorite costume sold out.  But there are costumes for Saint Lucia carnival that are still available. Based on a quick evaluation, I have seen the prices of female costumes range from $700 – $1400. Check out the list of costume bands below:

St. Lucia carnival will be on July 18th and 19th this year.  The first day of Vaval will be in costume (pretty mas), followed by Monday wear on day two.

LVST Carnival released a Monday wear option for separate purchase. You can check it out here.

I am so excited to be headed to Saint Lucia this year.  Traveling to the island country has been on my bucket list for years. Throw in vaval, and I am in heaven!  If you’re coming out to Saint Lucia Carnival this year, be sure to say hello to ‘ya girl if you see her.

st lucia carnival, st. lucia carnival, lucia carnival, st lucia carnival costumes

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