"West Side Story" Costume Ideas
By Latoya McGill, eHow Contributor
"West Side Story" is the musical adaptation of William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet". It is a classic love story about Tony, who is a member of the Jets, who falls in love with Maria, who is the sister of a member of a rival gang called the Sharks. There are many different characters in the story to dress up as for Halloween, a party or even a recreation of the play.
Riff, Leader of the Jets Costume
Riff wore multiple outfits throughout the production. However, one of his more notable outfits has a yellow jacket. To recreate this outfit you will need a yellow "members only" style jacket, a blue crew neck T-shirt, a pair of dark jeans or dark khakis and a pair of dark Chuck Taylor sneakers. Tuck your T-shirt into your pants and wear your jacket over your shirt. Make sure your pants are fitted and not baggy.
Jets Gang Member
The Jets' wardrobe was pretty simple. Put on a crew neck sweat shirt over a basic shirt. Make sure the shirt does not peak out of the bottom of the sweat shirt. Put on a pair of khakis in brown or a dark color. Cuff the bottom of your pants just slightly, maybe one or two rolls in the cuff. Add a pair of Chuck Taylor sneakers. Choose colors like dark blue, black or gray and avoid reds and greens.
Sharks Gang Member
Like the Jets, the Sharks had a fairly basic wardrobe. To recreate the Sharks' costume, choose a crew neck basic T-shirt in any color. Colors in the movie are purple, black, green and others. Put on a pair of khakis in a light shade like plum or gold. Add a black headband around your head. For shoes choose dark blue, gray or black Chuck Taylor sneakers. Tuck your shirt into your pants and finish the look off with a plain black belt.
Maria's wardrobe is a bit more difficult than the rest to recreate. If you need the costume for a play, it will be easier to create Maria's costume because you'll be able to see the young woman who is playing the role, and her costume will be seen in context. If however, you are creating the costume to wear for Halloween it will be a bit more challenging to get the idea across.
Choose a dress that falls just below the knee. Get a classy, short sleeved dress that is fitted at the waist and flares out or wear a belt the same color as the dress around your waist to achieve this effect. Wear a low heel. Wear the top half of your hair pulled back and leave the rest out in curls.
West Side Story Dress Up Ideas
By Sarah Schreiber, eHow Contributor
"West Side Story," with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Soundheim, opened at the Winter Garden Theater on September 26, 1957. The musical enjoyed tremendous success during its initial Broadway run. A film version came out in 1961. Perhaps you are looking for creative dress up ideas for a costume party. Take a trip back to the 1950s, when the musical was set, and go as your favorite "West Side Story" character.
The Jets are a street gang of young males who are New York City natives. Style your hair short to go as a Jet. Wear tight, ankle-length blue jeans. Opt for white canvas shoes to resemble the dancing shoes worn by actors in the movie and on Broadway. Tuck in your T-shirt, which could be any color other than purple; orange was the official gang color in the most recent Broadway revival, so incorporating that color into your costume could add authenticity.
The Sharks -- rivals to the Jets -- comprise recent young immigrants from Puerto Rico. Dress as Bernardo, the leader, if going solo or get a group of at least four people together and have three dress as gang members and one as Bernardo. Sharks wear black jeans, black canvas sneakers and T-shirts. Purple is the gang's color, so incorporate either a purple shirt or purple bandana wrapped around your head. If you want to channel Bernardo from the film version, wear black jeans, a black T-shirt and a tucked-in but unbuttoned red collared shirt.
Tony and Maria
If you're going to a costume party as a couple, dress up as "West Side Story"'s famous star-crossed lovers, Tony and Maria. Tony is a former member of the Jets who quit in an attempt to make an honest life. He falls hard for Maria, the sister of the Sharks' leader, after meeting at a dance. Going as Tony, a person should slick back his hair in typical 1950s style. Both the stage and screen versions of the play depict Tony in tighter blue jeans, white canvas shoes and a T-shirt and khaki jacket. Maria is typically wearing a white and flowing knee- to calf-length dress, which often has a red sash.
Jet or Shark Girls
The girlfriends of the Jets and the Sharks offer options for female character dress up. The Shark girls wore colorful dresses with flowing skirts in strong colors like deep purple and aqua. If going as a Jet girl, wear tighter skirts of about knee length and matching tops. High-heel shoes will work for either set of girls. An alternative female character to use for inspiration is Anybodys, a tomboy desperate to join the Jets gang. She typically dresses as the male members of the Jets.