Kostüme Kulture

Kostüme Kulture

When writing about the ins and outs of Kölner Karneval two things came to mind. What real resources are available for people to get inspired and where does one go to get their official costume? I have been working on a resource page for the better part of year and I do have an extensive collection of tried and true costume & party supply stores listed. I have been holding it in draft status because there is still so much missing and it is a labor of love. It will never be complete as the K.Dot has become so transient lately with businesses shuttering, coming and going in the blink of an eye. But I think people really need to know what stores offer what as to not waste time procuring their costume, props and accessories. So I'll do a Karneval sneak peek of resources below. I also created a Pinterest full of facetious pins. I was clearly bored when I creating it and it too is a work in progress. Some people play "Candy Crush Saga" and I like pinning. My boards aren't quite ready for an official Pinterest button but you can see what I am up to here. You may be inspired or see that I am laughing with you on your journey to finding the right disguise for the days ahead. 

I will say when we first arrived in Germany it was only a few months out from Elften Elften. And I found myself scrambling at the 11th hour for an appropriate costume. I decided the best way to do my first Karneval was to have my costume custom made. I first began by scouring local stoff depots and I found several materials and finishes within my budget. I then set out to walk the streets for a decent looking tailor. The guy I found spoke no English and barely any Deutsch but he was able to write down six meters stoff and 180 Euros for a one piece jumpsuit. He did this without measuring me or scaling my vision as described in sign language, Denglish and stick figure drawings. I came home with my post it note and my husband told me to never go back there again. Now that I know what I know being Rihanna from "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" music video was not only unrecognizable but not functional for Kölner Karneval shenanigans. Imagine me walking in a heavy drawstring ponytail, in a lurex bodysuit with no zipper and silver stilettos down Zülpicher. Besides the hair alone with all the intricate diamanté pins and barrettes it was going to cost me. In total this would have been a 400 Euro plus disaster and people would have said I was some inspired version of Missy Elliot. If you have a better idea that can be executed in time for the festivities we do have fabulous fabric and crafting stores all over the city. I will include the Stoff places below but be aware as you should be well versed on the metric system, crafting and Deutsch. If not, you may need interpreter to not only get the materials but sew it up for you. Also factor in the costs for appropriate zippers, buttons, pulls and ties. If you are wondering what happened I wound up wearing some elaborate Fenty Season One pieces along with some Six 3 Euro cat ears. I was two all white Fila dinostompers from being an IT girl and it totally worked. I have since avoided 11:11 and only attend events later in the season with well thought out creations. 

The kulture IS preparing for Karneval throughout the year. Monitoring fabrics or package deals when they go on sale mid summer and just before Halloween. Shopping second hand, flohmarkts and craft stores to assemble a look. You want to build up a tiny Karneval arsenal so that as random invites appear you can just whip something up. The body paint and lashes can come from a DM all year round or a specialty shop once you have a social calendar. Do get leg warmers or tights. Do get some sneakers you don't mind ruining. Do invest in a solid mini backpack or crossbody to carry your stuff. And buy some hand sanitizer and taschentücher because Porto Potties are awful during Karneval. It's also being able to take your look from inside to outside, day to night, casual to formal without second guessing you decisions. In that respect being a Sunflower is just plain easy. You won't feel guilty about the choice. It will be lighter. It will translate. Leave the overdone stuff to the pensioners who can afford the time and money for a luxurious costume. For your first, second or third Karneval just show up and take it easy. Visit friends with a bag of sugary Berliners and a chilled liter of Coke. Go to the smaller processions in and around the Schildergasse to prepare yourself for Rosenmontag. Wonder the LGBTQIA strip visiting the smaller bars instead of being stampeded near the University. Spring for a Colonia or Radio Sabor ticket to dance the night away. Do not sweat the small stuff like running your mascara or being rained on. It is Karneval and you are supposed to not care about anything at all! 

Below are my top faves for getting it right in all categories... please go to Google or Yelp and search their exact locations, hours, reviews and visit their websites for available offerings 


Jot Jelunge - Lindenstr.
the most unique selection of costumes - staff is very knowledgeable and they are open year round

Kölner Kostümkiste - Bonner Wall
a pretty good selection of costume needs at a much lower cost than competitors

Der Karnevalswierts - Köln City
a way better value than Dieters without all the hype

Dieter's - Heumarkt
the monopoly of costume stores usually multi levels, over crowded and grossly overpriced


Stofferia - Hohe Str.
Kardstadt - Breit Straße
Stoff & Stil - Auf Dem Berlich
Stoffmüller - Offenbachplatz

Kunst/Arts & Craft

Ortloff - Zeppelinstraße
Idee. - All Locations
Tedi - All Locations
Tiger - Neumarkt Gallery

Schminken & Haare/Beauty

Sephora - Schildergasse
Primark - Neumarkt Gallery
Jot Jelunge - Lindenstr.
DM - All Locations
Kölner Kostümkiste - Bonner Wall
G&T World of Beauty - Scaafenstr.
Müeller - Kalk/Hürth
Kiko - All Locations
Asian & Afroshop Lebensmittlel (Beauty Supply next door) - Barbarossa Platz
NYX - Köln Hohe Str.,  DM Rudolfplatz in Köln
Kyrolan - Köln
Rossman - All Locations