Browse through this gallery to see costume examples from throughout the ages - if you need to think about a costume for your character, you'll find plenty of ideas here.
This gallery will be especially useful if you're taking the Performance Support: Costume Design option for Paper 2.
The toga was a garment worn by the by male citizens of Ancient Rome (625 BC to AD 476 ). Women wore stolas - a type of pleated dress.
The toga was usually worn over an undergarment made from linen. The toga was usually made of wool.
You could wear this type of costume in any classical tragedy.
The Middle Ages (350AD - 1450AD), sometimes called Mediaeval times, refers to the period of history in Europe from the 11th to the 13th centuries.
In this period most people wore undergarments made of linen, and outer garments of heavy wool, in natural colours. Only the wealthy could afford brighter colours such as red.
The Tudor period (1485-1603) was a time in English history that remains strong in the popular imagination to this day. Two of the most famous Tudors, often recreated in drama today, are Queen Elizabeth I and her father Henry VIII.
Rather like today, the wealthy people of the period would wear clothes made from luxurious materials such as silk, and bright colours. The middle-classes would wear clothes of a similar style but usually made from cheaper materials, such as wool and linen. Poorer people would wear simple clothes made from wool - tunic and trousers for men, and a long dress (worn with an apron on top) for women.
Well-to-do Tudor women wore hooped skirts with padded hips, which reached to the floor. Men wore padded breeches with stockings - not trousers. Fur was a popular trim among the wealthy.
One of the most recognised items of clothing from the late Tudor period is the ruff - a collar of lace worn around the neck. Some wealthy people wore enormous ruffs to show off their wealth.
These images show the clothes worn for the BBC production The Virgin Queen about Queen Elizabeth I. Notice how the clothes from her early life are simpler than those she wore later on.Elizabeth I and her ladies
Elizabeth I with two ladies in waiting
Elizabeth I and a lady in waiting in plain dresses
Elizabeth I in elaborate dress
Elizabeth I in two different types of evening gown
Two Tudor ladies in waiting
A lady in waiting and Elizabeth I in silk gowns
Young Tudor male and older weathier Tudor gentleman
Poor people of the Tudor period
Two maids of the Tudor period
Wealthy women of the 18th century still wore corsets to help shape their clothes, and hooped dresses were still popular, but the dresses were more low-cut than previously.
Wealthy men continued to wear three-quarter-length coats and breeches. Wigs, high-heeled shoes (worn by men and women) and elaborate embroidery were big trends of the early 18th century, but they disappeared towards the end of the period.
The following images are from the BBC adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice The book was first published in 1813.
In the later 18th century women adopted a more loosely fitting dress, known as the chemise, which was inspired by the fashions of ancient Greece and Rome. The dresses were often made of muslin, in plain colours, with a high waistline. This trend continued throughout the early 19th century.
For men, knee-length breeches were replaced by ankle-length trousers, and suits became more fashionable.
Clothing among the wealthy classes during this period became far less flamboyant in style and colour than they had been previously.
For women, corsets and hooped skirts reappeared early in the 19th century. A new invention, called the crinoline, offered women an alternative to stiffened petticoats for holding out their skirts.
Suits continued popular with men, and fine tailoring became important for those in the higher classes.
In the 1860s, bowler hats became popular among men.
In the 1870s, the fashion for women's dresses was to be flatter than before at the front, and to be padded out at the back - the 'bustle' was invented to help create this effect.
The most radical change in style for women's clothing happened throughout the 1920s. Hems rose, waistlines dropped, corsets disappeared and elaborate bead work became popular on dresses.
Middle-class men still wore suits, ties and waistcoats during the day, and the better-off would often change into a formal suit for dinner in the evening. Working men would wear suits on high days and holidays.
Clothing through the war era was practical, and affected by the rationing system. New clothes were often just re-fashioned from old clothes, and there were shortages of luxurious materials such as silk.
Women would often wear a simple knee-length dress or blouse and skirt. Mackintosh coats were popular outdoor items, and some women would wear a matching tailored suit jacket outdoors.
Men continued to wear jackets and ties as a matter of routine, although sometimes with casual trousers, not necessarily matching suit trousers. Jumpers, vests and polo-neck shirts were popular for less formal wear.
Clothing did not change a great deal through the 1950s, although there were two major trends. For women, a full skirt with netting became fashionable, while the Teddy Boy look became popular with young men.
The look consisted of tight fitting jeans/trousers (sometimes called drainpipes), a long smart jacket and a thin tie. These young men often wore their hair in a quiff (in homage to Elvis Presley).
The 1960s saw the introduction of the mini-skirt - a very short thigh-length skirt. Patterns and bold colours became popular for fabric.
This period also saw the introduction of the hippy - often a young middle-class person in favour of colourful flowing clothes, peace and free love.
In the 1970s men and women wore trousers (called flares) that were wide at the ankle, shirts with wide collars and platform shoes. Women often wore full-length skirts (maxi-skirts).
Here are some military costumes from throughout the ages.Roman soldiers
The costume of Roman soldiers
Army uniforms, as worn by soldiers from the First World War
The costume of commanding officers, as worn in the Second World War
Army uniform, as worn in the Second World War
Camouflage uniform, as worn by modern-day soldiers
Futuristic and sci-fi costumes give you a lot of scope for design. You could create a costume which is highly unusual by today's standards, or just exaggerate a popular style of today's fashion.
Fantasy costumes tend to be based on period clothing - witches, for example, often wear the sort of clothes women might have worn in mediaeval times.
If your play is based in Japan, you might want a costume for a traditional geisha - a female Japanese entertainer. They wear white make-up on their face, with bright red lips. A geisha always wears a kimono (a traditional full-length robe).
The traditional dress for an Indian woman is a sari- a large piece of cloth that can be wrapped around the body in various styles. The most common style of wearing a sari is wrapped around the waist, with one end draped over the shoulder. Most women wear a short-sleeved blouse underneath.
Traditional clothing for Indian men includes a knee-length (or longer) shirt (note women may also wear these). It's usually worn over loose trousers.
Traditional African costume varies widely across the continent, although there are some similarities. Tunics or kaftans (long shirts, usually to the floor) are popular clothing for men, worn with loose trousers. Women may wear toga-inspired garments, wrapped around their bodies. Bright coloured fabrics and beaded jewellery are popular.
African warriors sometimes wear fantastically decorated costumes, and paint their bodies.