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How do you pull off the perfect Carnival costume? We asked an expert.

If you ever balked at the idea of paying top dollar for a Tory Burch one-piece or an Agua Bendita bikini, then imagine if you had to invest a small fortune on the skimpiest of outfit you ever owned.  Add to that the fact that you might only wear it once in your life. That’s part of the game when it comes to Carnival.

Permanand has designed costumes from Trinidad to Toronto and everywhere in between. He designs the prototypes then the looks get shared through social media and his team gets to work filling the orders.

This year Permanand’s signature design is black and blue she-devil, with a barely-there bodice that leaves little to the imagination and dramatic, show-stopping featherwork, and some mischievous horns to top it off. 


You have to know who you are if you want to wear this costume for Carnival.

But before you make the commitment to a costume, Permanand explains what women need to know if they want to slay at Carnival.  

Get ready to spend some bucks


For Miami’s Carnival, the Djunction Mas Band costumes start at $350 and can be as pricey as $750. It’s still a deal, says Permanand. “You could get four costumes in Miami for what you pay in Trinidad.” Miami’s Carnival is growing every year, so stocking up on costumes might not be a bad idea.

Decide how dramatic you want to be

Move this girl to the frontline!

How much you spend on your costume obviously has everything to do with how dramatic you plan to be. A backline costume, explains Permanand, is just the basic bodywear. “You get a fully-blinged out bra in your size, with a bikini and you have a jeweled belt over it. You can build from that.” If you have a midline costume, you could add some feathers and more accessories, but the frontline costumes are the most elaborate.  That means you are in full feather regalia and you are going to pay top dollar. “This is for the ones who lead the group. They may have the full wings and the headdress.” Sometimes Permanand creates custom costumes called section leader pieces, which are the showstoppers.

Stay on trend

Cute never goes out of style, either.

What’s the trend for costumes this year? Says Permanand, “Skimpy will never go out! It’s always in the culture.” He also expects to see a lot of tassels and Indian-themed costumes, which are always popular. But Permanand is really excited about his black and blue color scheme for this year. “I haven’t used black in a long time because people love color. But I really made it stand out.”

Find a practical costume

You don’t want to be parading around in heels.

“I am big on practicality. I tell my clients if I cannot wear it, I wouldn’t make it,” Permanand says. Having the proper framework for the headdress and wings is important. “My pieces are usually very light. I know if I have a gorgeous girl wearing one of my pieces, I want them to wear it for the entire day.” Most women wear flat shoes with their Carnival costumes, too, because you are going to be on your feet dancing all day long. At the end of the day, though, everyone wants to slay. “There are pieces where you say it’s only for a day,” says Permanand, “I’m going to wear it and I’m going to suck it up.”

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