Once you've identified the Drag character you want to be, it's time to make sure she lives and breathes in the world outside. That means you’re going to have to piece her together.
When it comes to Drag, there are a lot of "pieces." To start off, find a pair of good heels that you can walk in. Nude, open-toe, strappy shoes are best for those of you with big feet. They extend the length of the leg with no discerning finish to the foot. A closed-toe high heel with tons of rhinestones only says, “look at my gigantic feet!”
Walking in your new shoes can be a whole other story. I happened to discover I was born to be on a runway, but I’ve seen some Queens who look like newborn colts. That's never a good look. I recommend shoes that do not have too large of a platform, as it can be quite a balancing act. Just find a pair at least 4-inches off the ground. (And make sure they match your purse!)
Speaking of purses, you will need a sizable bag that can fit all of your makeup. Remember this rule: It is better to don a beautiful handbag with no label than to try passing off a fake designer bag in front of a room full of homosexual experts. Your Coco Chanel bag may as well be a set of handcuffs if it’s not the real thing. However, if you are a Comedy queen, then flaunt whatever knockoff bag you choose!
Regardless of the handbag you buy, the important thing to remember is to find a bag large enough to fit all of your last-minute accouterments. (I can’t count how many times I’ve left the house absolutely flawless, only to discover once I was at a show that one of my eyelashes had lifted or my lipstick was smudged.) In any case, be prepared! In your handbag be sure to bring lash glue, a touch-up lipstick or gloss, foundation powder, eyeliner, and black eyeshadow.
Why black eyeshadow? Because you'll need to enhance your smokey eye even more once you realize there’s a man with a lot of money in the room ready to pay for drinks. Forgive me, I digress...
Next on the list: your outfit!
Drag queens, just like women, come in all shapes and sizes, but it is rare for a boy to be built for women's clothing. If you are buying from a store, go one or two sizes up and have it taken in for the perfect fit. Otherwise, find a seamstress, and pay to tailor-fit your fashion.
The biggest rule of Drag fashion is to never look like you are stuffed into an outfit. Too many Queens make this mistake and end up looking like a Christmas ham that is strung and ready for the oven.
Your Drag clothes should accentuate your figure effortlessly and beautifully. If you're a bigger Queen, you can still wear fashion fabulously. Look at Whitney Paige, for example. She was a plus-sized entertainer and Drag performer who always looked svelte in everything she wore!
Regardless of your size, unless you weigh 90 pounds, you probably need a girdle. And a strong one at that! Remember undergarments are supposed to be worn UNDER your clothing. Choose a flowy outfit with a bold print, sparkle or bright colors to camouflage your undergarments well.
To pull your look together, you'll also need a wig. Choose a high-quality synthetic wig that can withstand heat for styling. That’s right, you'll need to learn how to style your wig! Don't just pull the wig out of a box and slap it on your head. You'll end up looking like a member of the witness protection program.
Caring for and styling a wig probably requires a blog article of its own. But the key rule to wig styling is this: let your hair frame the face. It's best to style a wig while it's on your head and with your makeup already applied so you can see what suits you best.
This brings me to my final part of your Drag shopping list: makeup!
You will definitely need a lot of that! Of course, I highly recommend shopping at Camera Ready Cosmetics for all your cross-dressing necessities. Not only will you be camera-ready, but you'll be stage-ready as well!
For foundation, choose a full coverage formula like Kryolan, which is the standard in Drag makeup. Kryolan foundations eliminate texture and discoloration, leaving your skin with a smooth and silky finish that is sure to deceive anyone into thinking you're a fierce female. (Which you are!)
For a finishing powder, I always use Cody powder from the drugstore. Set your foundation with this powder, and you'll notice how soft and flawless your skin can look.
You will need a good set of eyeshadows, as well. Ben Nye or La Femme are high-quality, affordable options. Then accentuate your smokey eye with a black eyeliner. Inglot 77 is blacker than Satan‘s heart, and it has stolen mine for being the best eyeliner in the business. Finish your eye look with dramatic false lashes, like the ones from Lash Pop.
When it comes to lipstick, find one that you don’t mind wasting around the glass rim of a cocktail. Expensive isn’t always best. That same statement applies to brushes. You'll need makeup brushes to apply a variety of different products, and BH Cosmetics makes affordable brush sets that can’t be beaten.
Now that you have an idea of how to get started, it's time to create a look that's all your own.
Remember, darlings, once you've completed your look for the first time, it's always worth asking for a second or third opinion from people who have good fashion and makeup taste. That means NOT to ask your best friend. It's her job to be nice to you.
Ask a successful Drag Queen who you admire. (Afterall, she just may become your Drag Mother. Don't know what I'm talking about? Read Part 1 of my blog series here.)
Or, you can always ask me: Dallas Sheraton. I may not be your mama, but I’ll always tell you the truth.
About Camera Ready Cosmetics
Camera Ready Cosmetics was founded in 2003 by Makeup Artist Mary Erickson. Having been in the makeup artist industry for 30+ years, Mary knows quality and value and understands what an artist needs. Mary is the buyer for Camera Ready Cosmetics and chooses only what she would use on set.
If you don’t find the product you’re looking for at Camera Ready Cosmetics, that’s because we have something better. Just ask us!