For many attendees, dressing for Harvest Noir is simple – they just dress in their best, all in black, outfit. No need to be daunted by the elaborate costumes you see in our photo shoots – many of our guests show up in a simple little black dress or black dress shirt with slacks and fit right in.
But if you want to really express yourself, Harvest Noir is your chance to make a fashion statement – and then some.
Some guests at Harvest Noir go all out to dress their best in black, and the range of costumes is extraordinary. Many guests go in for the retro inspired or vintage reproduction look, including Victorian or Steampunk themes. Top hats and bowlers abound, as do fancy black dresses with fascinators. Others strut an elegant, black-tie gala look (but remember, men – no white shirts). We’ve seen costumes that run from slinky and sexy black dresses and sheer blouses to volumous Gothic Victorian formal full-length dresses. Flapper girls have made an appearance. Accessories have included hand-made fascinators and lace masks, corsets, angel wings, antlers, handlebar moustaches, monocles, pocketwatches, canes, gauntlets, and black kilts. Many guests honour the sustainability ethos of Harvest Noir by upcycling elements of their costumes, or buying vintage or pre-owned at funky consignment boutiques.
Some guests challenge each other to come up with the most elaborate costume or accessory at their table, and talented artists and costumers have designed special pieces for the event.
What all these costumes have in common is expressiveness – all in black. Don’t forget that there is an audience participation fashion photography flashmob and on the big night a much-anticipated fashion show, with fabulous prizes for most inventive costumes!
Black only, please. Guests must elegantly dress their best in black, head to toe. “Originality” is encouraged as long as it is stylish. Be creative, be bold. Men, please no white shirts. Hats are not necessary but also encouraged for men and women!
Color accents are strongly discouraged. Dark grey or faded black are acceptable complements to “all black”.
This year’s fashion theme is Industrial Chic – vintage/upcycled clothing is encouraged!
Black Coats or Sweaters & Gloves. You’ll be outdoors from 2:00pm until roughly 7:45pm, and some activity areas during Dance Noir will also be outside, so make sure you dress warm enough for the whole evening.
No white shirts. Gentlemen, no white shirts with your tuxes or coats, please.
Black umbrellas. If it looks like it’s going to rain, this year we are asking guests NOT to bring colorful umbrellas. Black only, please.
You don’t have to break the bank either if there’s an accessory you’re missing or want to add to your outfit. For example Harvest Noir organizer Samantha has picked up some of her dresses in a vintage shop for a bargain and then had it tailored for size. Ringmaster Greg also picked up his top hat, bowler, vest, and coattails in various vintage shops. If you’re out of town, consider stopping into vintage shops in big cities for the variety – Greg picked up his kilt in Seattle and his authentic vintage bowler hat in Chicago.
Hats & Fascinators: If you want to splurge a little on a hat, Samantha suggests Madeleine’s shop in the market because she has very interesting creations that you simply can’t resist trying on and she made me a Fascinator to measure! www.chapeauxdemadeleine.com. Or, you can always pick up interesting hats in a vintage or second-hand shop.
Men’s Tails, Suits, Jackets, Pants & Women’s Dresses, Blouses, Skirts, Shoes, Belts, Scarves, Gloves etc.: Vintage shops and second hand stores once again can be great fun – check out apt613’s great listing of some of Ottawa’s great vintage shops. Other consignment and thrift shops include The Clothes Secret, Value Village and The Salvation Army. Google for location nearest you.