You need a costume that expresses your unnatural relationship with your mother, your dedication to frenemies and your desire to upstage Winona Ryder. No, this doesn’t involve shoplifting. Instead, you must show your dark side by creating and wearing a Black Swan costume based on Natalie Portman’s character from the movie.
Fortunately much of Nina’s costume can be assembled from a standard ballet outfit. A black tutu and flesh colored ballet tights and shoes set off the sleeveless corset top with iridescent feathers. A corset top with feathers can be purchased online for around $50, or a plain satin corset like this one could be purchased and decorated by hand.
The key to attaching the feathers to the costume is to first attach them to a lightweight piece of fabric called an interface. A video explaining the process of making a headpiece out of feather dusters can be seen here.
The feathers are glued down with a hot glue gun all along the quill, then the sharp ends are trimmed off. The stiff, shiny feathers in the movie costume are rooster coque feathers, and can be purchased for around $10 for 25 pieces at specialty shops like this. If you are less exacting, feathers from a black feather duster will work nearly as well. After the feathers are applied to the interface, sequins or rhinestones can be glued on, and then the entire piece is attached to the corset, by sewing down the interface from the inside.
The striking make-up worn by Natalie Portman in the movie is one of the key points of the costume. An excellent YouTube tutorial can be found here:
The tiara is a slightly “off” version of a standard shiny dance tiara; the effect can be recreated by melting a plastic tiara ever so slightly with a lighter. Be very careful not to melt it entirely–hold the flame just close enough to warp the plastic shape and darken it to a smoky color.
Warning: this costume may make you feel like stabbing someone. Remember that if you do, you may only be hurting yourself. Also, since the feathers growing from under the skin was a CGI effect, if you feel tiny biting pains in your back, it’s probably just bedbugs.