So what’s this all about, anyway?

Women’s history + easy DIY historical costuming = Dress Parade. That’s our whole deal. Our mission is to promote women’s history by showing people how to dress up as famous heroines, geniuses, queens, and goddesses. Without sewing!

Dress Parade isn’t a store.

We’re not selling any of this stuff. We’re a non-profit educational resource guide: we come up with the costume design, explain what you’ll need to pull off the look, and provide links to the various components we used. Our overall approach is about creating great costumes by hacking together stuff that is either already in your closet, on sale at Amazon or some other retailer, or in stock at a costume store.

Though we think sewing is a wonderful skill, none of our costume designs require it. Our aesthetic is more lo-fi—think safety pins, glue, scotch tape. In fact, most of our costumes require absolutely no crafting at all; just a judicious selection of items. See our “How to use this website” page for a quick rundown on how it works.

We are the world…

Since we launched in 2010, we have become the leading online resource for women and girls’ DIY historical costuming. People use our site for occasions all year long: Women’s History Month, Black History Month, Halloween, Purim, Mardi Gras, the Mid-Autumn Festival, Diwali, Hai Ba Trung Day, cultural festivals, special school events, historical reenactments, and more. Educators even use our site as a novel way to teach history. We get millions of visits from all over the world.

We take seriously our responsibility to provide accurate information and a positive, empowering experience. When a girl or woman goes online to find out how to dress up as the great queen Nzinga, for example, she finds our site. If she wants to dress up as the mathematician Ada Lovelace, or the flying ace Bessie Coleman, or the feminist Sor Juana, or the pirate Ching Shih, she finds our site.

Because the commercial costume industry doesn’t begin to accurately reflect women’s history, many of our DIY designs have been specifically requested or commissioned—such as our design for the Trung Sisters. We continue to add new costume designs as time allows. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that everybody can find their heroines and heritage represented.

Our name

We originally started this site back in 2010 as, with a vision for a more empowering, creative, and inclusive version of Halloween. In a world of Sexy Hamburger costumes, we had a different idea: why not use the occasion to dress up as a great woman from history? Why not be queen for a day, or channel the goddess, or just try on some Old Hollywood glamour?

We still love Halloween, and we still host an online costume contest every year in autumn. Everybody’s welcome, from professional cosplayers to third-graders wearing helmets made out of kitchen tinfoil.

But we moved beyond just being a Halloween site many years ago. Our audience is global and our designs are used in countless contexts that have nothing to do with North American trick-or-treating. So we changed our name.

“Dress parade” is a term from our theatre days. Dress parade usually happens the week before opening night. All the actors parade across the stage wearing their brand-new costumes for the first time, while the director and costume designer sit out in the house and confer. It’s exciting—and nerve-wracking. A little like running this website.

Who we are

Dress Parade was created by Suzanne Scoggins, a writer and feminist specializing in women’s history.

Contact Suzanne at for more info, or with any questions or comments about the site. Happy costuming!