It's amazing how the mind can contort itself to justify satisfaction of the inner child.
Yesterday I found myself drooling over a $200 piece of leather that would be perfect for a particular costume I have planned. (I'm not saying what, just yet--we'll see how it plays out.) Do I have $200? Yes, but I'm supposed to be saving for tournament. And I don't dare bank on any money I might make at the Comicon, to which I would wear said costume. I'm already betting against making back the registration fees.
Yes, by the way, I will be attending Planet Comicon on March 28-29th. Come as you aren't.
But back to my mental contortions: $200 is not the most I've spend on a costume. The original Harley Quinn was about that much, when you factor in the retail costs of spandex, the fact that I wasted a lot of fabric on developmental mistakes, and buying the makeup and foundation garments.
The most I ever spent on a costume was about $600. That was the green velveteen Darla costume. Everything about that was new and expensive to make, in part because I demanded the best and most authentic materials: corset, petticoats, bloomers, stockings, fabric, trims, boots, wig and makeup. I spread out the costs over about six months, but it was still a chunk of change. I still wear the boots, of course, and the Victorian underthings have seen use with other outfits. So it was something of an investment, but after that I vowed never again to fork out so much money.
Most of my other stuff has been super-cheap. I tend to buy fabric at a discount anyway. I think my silver-blue Victorian dinner dress was maybe $70, but it took forever to make--all that pleating on the skirt.
The Gold Gown cost maybe $30 in additional corset parts, since I made it over from my first wedding gown and its leftover fabric. (That wedding dress itself cost less than $300.)
My "Armand" costume was so cheap I don't even remember. I bought that red velvet off the clearance rack at Wal-Mart while I worked there, the shirt and shoes I already had; the vest fabric was a cheap nasty seasonal acetate I got a Sew-Fro back when Sew-Fro still existed--altogether? Maybe $35. I'm not sure why I still have this thing. Maybe I'll sell it.
Wonder Woman has been a little pricey, mostly because of the trial-and-error. I always overbuy on new projects; I try a lot of different things and discard half of them. I've bought five pieces of blue and/or star-spangled spandex, trying to find a shade and pattern I like. One, maybe two of them will actually get used. The first red pleather I bought for the bustier was not pleasing at all, so that was wasted making boot patterns. The red satin I actually used was very cheap, I got it as a remnant at Hancock Fabrics. Altogether I'd guess I've spent about $70 on it, so that's not bad, although it has been taking a long time and feels very wasteful. It will probably run another $30-$50, depending on how I handle the boots and metal parts.
The Black Cat costume I started and did not finish has been VERY wasteful. I just can't bring myself to wear PVC. I hate it. I got the suit put together, I put it on, and I hate it. I can't even make myself finish it. $30, down the drain. I'll probably cut it up and make gloves out of it, because PVC gloves are actually kind of cool and I can sell them for small profits, recoup the loss. ETA: I did take this apart, and reassembled in into a Catwoman costume. Beginnings of one, anyway.
Huh. Looking back over this list, now I'm thinking I should mark down some of the stuff in my Etsy shop.