Heath Ledger's Joker is my favorite film interpretation of any comic villain ever, and his costume is my favorite outfit for the Joker. I wanted to recreate his costume from the moment I saw the trailer for The Dark Knight, but I knew I didn't want to cross-dress and emulate the costume exactly. The reasons for this are two-fold:
1) I am horrible at cross-dressing, even with the aid of multiple layers of clothing and grotesque clown paint.
2) Several of Heath Ledger's inspirations for the character, such as Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange or Sid Vicious, struck me as rather aggressively sexual, and I didn't want to downplay that in my interpretation by making myself look more androgynous.
I knew I wanted to gender bend the costume, but I wanted to make sure it was still a practical outfit, rather than making a more cute female variant with a skirt or heels. I wanted to make something practical that the character might still wear as a female anarchist terrorist. I chose alterations mostly by using similar patterns designed for women, along with the addition of wedges, capris, and the hair flower decoration so it would be obvious that I had altered the gender, rather than just wearing the Joker's clothes without binding.
(Note: I misplaced my camera for a period of a few months and didn't find it until earlier this week in the incredibly obscure hiding spot of right on my dresser in plain sight , so I have almost no in progress pictures for the sewing or wig. I'll try to explain them in great detail to make up for that.)
I took a blonde Femme Fatale wig from Amiphigory, changed the part, colored the majority of the hair strands with Sharpies of varying shades of green, sprayed the wig with alcohol, rinsed it, and curled. If you plan on dyeing a wig with Sharpies at any point, definitely make sure you do so in a very well-ventilated area. Preferably outside. I learned the hard way that the fumes will give you a terrible headache otherwise.
The flower hair clip came from Hobby Lobby. I toyed for a bit with the idea of rigging it up to shoot water, but I couldn't work out how to aim it or hide the tubing, so I dropped that idea.
The pants, shirt, vest, and coat were all sewn by me. The pants were the most difficult, as I used a 19th century pattern (the only pattern I could find with a button fly) and it was very different from any modern sewing patterns I'd used. I altered the length, removed the back pockets, and merged the back waistband and legs into one solid piece. I wanted to merge the waistband into the front fabric as well, but I couldn't work out how to add in the fly and pockets, so I kept them separate. It took me a week of hunting online to find a purple pinstriped fabric.
The shirt was a Butterick pattern that I didn't alter beyond changing the button holes from horizontal to vertical. The fabric came from Hello Cosplay. It's not entirely accurate, but I did start compiling resources as an unemployed college student, so it was the best I could afford.
The vest and coat were Simplicity patterns, though the coat was anything but simple after the addition of the vents in the back, the removal of the belt, and the altering to open the sleeve cuffs. It didn't help that I bought just slightly less of the lining fabric than I really needed, and had to cut very conservatively and sew the hems much narrower than usual. The vest was much easier, although I couldn't find the lining color I wanted in the right fabric, so I decided a fabric designed for raincoats would work just as well. It turned out that the fabric fought the sewing machine on every stitch, and I could only sew it by sandwiching the lining between strips of newspaper as I sewed.
The tie and suspenders, I purchased from Indy Magnoli, and they are glorious. The socks were ordered from Tabio, and the gloves and shoes were lucky finds at Target from months before I even started assembling costume pieces.
The scars and makeup:
The makeup is Maybelline Royal Red on the lips, Kryolan Aquacolor Black on the eyes, and Mehron Clown White on the rest of the face.
The scars, I am still struggling to perfect. Originally I planned to mold the scars out of liquid latex and apply them with Pros-Aide, but once the scars were molded the makeup test went something like this:
Bottle of Liquid Latex/Body Glue: Test this before you smear it all over your face or terrible things could happen.
Me: Pfft, I don't need to do that. I've worn latex gloves hundreds of times without a problem, and what could possibly go wrong with glue?
It turns out that explaining to your coworkers that you got those scars from chemical burns/rashes caused by your own stupidity and unwillingness to test makeup products properly is not fun at all.
So after that bit of failure, I switched to molding the scars out of a gelatin/glycerin/water combination and decided to adhere them with spirit gum. And yes, I made sure to test for allergies this time. Unfortunately, as I discovered this morning while getting ready for the office Halloween party, despite following the spirit gum instructions to the letter and blending the edges of the scars with witch hazel, I still could not get the scars to adhere at all on the edges. So I had to forgo them for today. Since I have no pictures of the scars on my face, here's a few of them in and out of the molds (and if you have any suggestions for adhering them in the future, I would love to hear them!):
And here are some more pictures of myself out and about in the outfit, proof picture included:
One note about this costume: It is extremely warm, indoors or out. Staying hydrated is a must, even if it means fighting through eight fly buttons and six suspenders buttons every time you go into a bathroom.