The harlequin is a classic theater character that emerged with the Italian “commedia dell’arte” of the 16th century. It represents one of the servants who always appear in this type of theater looking to deceive their masters, and is characterized by his suit with colored rhombuses and his mask, a mixture of the face of a monkey and a cat, as well as his hat her.

He is a cheerful character, playful, somewhat sly and intriguing, sometimes naïve, and always poor, hence the suit, which in principle was made from scraps of all kinds patched together. He is also a great jumping acrobat.

Due to its great showiness, it has been widely used in painting as a motif for all kinds of paintings, such as the famous ones dedicated to this character by Picasso, Degas or Juan Gris. He has also been the protagonist of operas and ballets, such as those starred in the first part of the 20th century by the Great Russian dancer Nijinsky.

Precisely because of those typical colored rhombuses of the costume, the mask and the hat, it has also been a classic choice when it comes to dressing up, to the point that it is inseparable from the Carnival festivities in many countries, and in the same way it is a typical costume at costume parties. Next, we give you some indication of how to dress up as a harlequin.

What do you need to dress up as a harlequin?

  • A two-piece tracksuit.
  • A long shirt.
  • Casual pants.
  • Patent paper.
  • Scissors.
  • Glue.
  • Sewing-thread.
  • Two sheets of cardboard.
  • Two pomp poems or tassels.
  • Two jingle bells.
  • Canvas shoes.
  • Low shoes.
  • Make up.

Instructions to dress up as a harlequin

  1. Costume. Of course, you can buy a harlequin costume at a costume shop or similar, but if you want to make it at home, you can use a tracksuit or similar two-piece outfit, such as a long shirt and casual pants, ideally in shiny fabric , satin type or artificial silk, polyester. It should be a solid color, such as green, one of the traditional colors of harlequins, or black. Then, you should get yourself some patent leather paper and cut out enough rhombuses about eight inches high, and stick them on the fabric, both on the jacket and on the pants. The diamonds should be red, although you could wear a black or white suit, and decorate it with red and green diamonds, and you could also add yellow diamonds. Another option is that you only decorate the suit with rhombuses on one of the sides of the body, that is,
  2. The belt. As a complement, look for a belt as wide as possible, and with a large metal buckle, which you must adjust to the waist. It can be black or any color of the diamonds.
  3. The hat. You can make the hat with two sheets of cardboard of the same color as the plain background color of the suit, black, green, drawing on them a sketch of a hat in the style of Napoleon, in the shape of an inverted crescent, although lengthening the peaks, according to you will see in numerous photos on the internet. Then decorate the sides that will be visible with rhombuses like the ones you used for the suit, or leave them black. Glue the opposite edges where you will insert the head, or sew them with fine thread of the same color. If you want, you can sew tassels in one of the colors of the costume, or large jingle bells, to the tips of the peaks of the hat.
  4. They ask. The classic thing is to wear a mask, although you can also cover your face with makeup. The mask, as has been mentioned, is a mixture of the shape of the eyes of a monkey and those of a cat. It can be made of leather, or felt, in black or also in diamonds with the colors used in the suit.
  5. The shoes. For footwear, look for canvas or sports shoes, but without drawings or highlights, in black, green or red, although looking for it to be the same color as the hat or the bottom of the suit, or on the contrary, in one of the colors. Colors of the rhombuses. You can also wear moccasin-style shoes, in black, but in any case with low heels.
  6. The makeup. If you add appropriate makeup to the costume itself, the result will be spectacular and you will stand out from the rest of the participants at the party or event you attend. Apply a white foundation all over your face, or half soft and half black. On them, draw a rhombus over one eye or both, it can be in the opposite color, that is, black in the white part or white in the black area. Or you can use another color, like red or green. Be creative, and maybe you could apply sparkly makeup, dots that imitate crystals or jewels… Finish off by painting the lips in a deep red color or in black or white, in contrast to the rest of the makeup.

Tips for dressing up as a harlequin

  • You can make the hat with strong fabric or felt, and then sew several rhombuses also made of fabric in the chosen colors.
  • The harlequin costume can be worn loose or tight to the body, although the classic is to wear it somewhat loose. But with the belt well-adjusted to the waist.
  • The hat may have another design, in the style of that worn by court jesters, with several conical peaks hanging from the main part, and with bells on the tips.