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How Can I Make a Benjamin Franklin Costume?

Colonial American fashion conveyed status, wealth and occupation, and Benjamin Franklin was no different in how he used it. Franklin wore the traditional Colonial suit that consisted of coat, waistcoat and breeches.

To make a traditional Benjamin Franklin costume, you might need to make a trip to the thrift store, but many materials may be in your own closet.

Making a Benjamin Franklin costume

Take a pair of old dress pants---they can either by khaki or dark blue---and cut them right below the knee. Tuck the pants into white knee-high socks, tucking loosely for a bloused effect at the knee. Get a pair of black dress shoes and attach a belt buckle to them.

For a shirt, find a white, button-up collared shirt, preferably one with ruffles. If the local thrift store is out of 1970's tuxedo shirts, just button the top collar and loosely tie a white silk cravat around your neck. A dark-color waistcoat, today known as a vest, is needed. Button all the buttons and tuck a handkerchief into the vest.

Possibly the hardest treasure to find is a long coat that reaches the knees. One that matches the vest will work best. Since the French regarded Franklin as a humble American and a backwoodsman, the coat does not have to be fancy.

Most pictures depict an old Benjamin Franklin with long, white hair balding in the middle. If shaving the top of your head is too much, a white wig that hits shoulder length shall suffice. As for Franklin's famous bifocals, he is seen wearing glasses only in his later portraits--so depending on whether this costume is for old or young Franklin, the wire-rimmed glasses are optional.

Franklin penned "Poor Richard's Almanac," contributed to the Declaration of Independence and printed newspapers, so pocketing one of these objects will help in recognition. To take it the extra mile, carry around a kite with key attached.

The only thing left is to take on Franklin's persona. He was Infamous for his drinking and flirting, so whoever impersonates him completely will electrify any party.