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Orphan Black Costume Guide

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Orphan Black Group Costume for 3-5 (or More)

If you love unique, untapped pop culture costumes, this one is for you. Orphan Black is a show on BBC America about a woman who discovers she's a clone, and it has gained a rabid following. I put together this guide for anyone interested in taking on an Orphan Black group costume or group cosplay. I think it will be a huge hit at conventions and Halloween parties.

The ever-talented Tatiana Maslany plays the clones of Orphan Black. By my count, there have been eight clones on the show thus far. Out of that group, five have hung around long enough to be considered main characters. I've featured them below.

Sarah Manning "Orphan Black" costume

Sarah Manning "Orphan Black" costume

Sarah Costume

Sarah Manning is the ringleader of the group as well as a bonafide badass. She has long dark hair that's often messy, paired with a rock-star aesthetic. Sarah should be played by the toughest nut in your group.

Makeup: Heavy black eyeliner/eyeshadow, aka a smokey eye. The rest of your makeup should be muted.

Hair: Three words: long sloppy waves. She sometimes will do a punk-inspired small braid on half of her head (similar to the styling in the photo above).

Clothes: Black, grey, and muted colors. Holes, rips, and tears are your friends.

Cosima Niehaus costume

Cosima Niehaus costume

Cosima Costume

Cosima Niehaus is a little crunchy granola, a little alternative rock, and hella smart. She wears dreadlocks, black-rimmed glasses, loads of hippy jewelry, and a nose ring. If you look like you fell off the UC Berkeley truck, Cosima is the costume for you.

Makeup: Use black liquid liner along the top and bottom lash line to create an "Egyptian Eye" look. The rest of your makeup is natural.

Hair: Cosima is known for her long brown dreads; they actually look like small braids or cornrows. Pull 'em into a ponytail if you fancy.

Clothes: Earth tones, jewel tones, and patterns inspired by nature, of course.

Alison Hendrix "Orphan Black" costume

Alison Hendrix "Orphan Black" costume

Alison Costume

Alison Hendrix is everyone's favorite orange-slice-toting, yoga-pants-wearing, minivan-driving, suburban mom. She's also got long dark hair, but her bangs/fringe give her a certain uppity air. Allison should be played by the most anal-retentive member of your group.

Makeup: Use soft eyeshadow or natural eyeliner along the upper lash line and the outer third of the lower lash line. Apply light blush on the apples of cheeks and a touch of rosy pink lip balm.

Hair: The perfectly pristine bangs and stick-straight hair set Alison apart.

Clothes: Alison might be one of the easiest clones to style because she wears workout clothing so frequently. Think yoga pants and tracksuits that are crisp and clean or preppy sweaters with chinos.

Helena Costume

Helena is an angry angel. She's got a Russian accent, a head full of fried blonde hair, and a ton of problems. She's the craziest of all the clones because she actually is crazy. If you can do dark and mysterious as well as you can do outright insane, Helena is your gal.

Makeup: Your skin tone and lips should be washed out and as pale as possible (without looking fake). Use some matte red/dark pink eyeshadow or blush to blend out around the eyes.

Hair: Full-on, crazy bleached mess.

Extras: Helena also has an eating obsession. For authenticity, fill your pockets with lollipops and sugar packets and snack to your heart's content.

Rachel Costume

Prim and proper with a bite, Rachel Duncan is the pro-clone clone. She's a replicant, born to assimilate into the hive. Rachel wears a perfectly quaffed chin-length blonde/light brown bob, pristinely pressed lady suits, and killer heels. Rachel should be played by the ruthless lawyer in your group—assuming you have one, of course.

Makeup: Make your foundation flawless. Do a subtle black winged liner on the top lash line and put some shimmery neutral eyeshadow on your eyelids. Curl your lashes and apply mascara. Add a red lip.

Hair: Not one hair on your head is out of place, m'lady.

Clothes: Rachel is a true business woman, so if you don't already have some slick office clothing, a pencil skirt suit is a good option.

Other "Orphan Black" Characters to Consider

You can find some great character costumes from the show outside the clone club, too.

  • Fe: Felix Dawkins is an honorary member of the clone club, and he's got tons of sarcasm and sass to boot. If you're taking on this costume, you better work it.
  • Kira: If you have a child with you, a Kira costume would be super cute.
  • Beth: Although Beth Childs is only in the first episode briefly, she is still a very important clone.
  • Katja: Also a short-lived clone character, Katja Obinger is easily recognizable. A short burgundy wig and a fur coat, and you're done. A German accent might help too.

Tips and Ideas

  • An Orphan Black group costume is best if you have identical quadruplet or quintuplet sisters.
  • I guess if you don't have any identical siblings, any group of four to five (or more) would be okay. I guess.
  • No, seriously, a mismatch of people of all genders would be a lot of fun. You could get some matching clone phone cases!
  • But if you want to get crazy, consider the heights of those in your group. If you have someone shorter than everyone else, make them either Rachel (hello pumps!) or Helena (hello giant hair!).
  • If you want to get crazier, find your long-lost twin sibling, choose your two favorite clones, and style the crap out of it. It'll blow everyone's minds.
  • OK. If you want to get absolutely balls-to-the-wall, wolf-in-the-henhouse crazy, go to one of those places overseas that clones beloved family pets and give them your DNA instead. Create an army of you.
  • Either that or see if anyone has perfected the John Travolta/Nicolas Cage Face/Off deal. Surely if they can do that, they can give multiple people your face.

© 2014 Shay Marie


Hannah David Cini from Nottingham on March 17, 2015:

I love your writing style and this is such a fun idea. Unfortunately I live in the UK where barely anyone bothers to do dress up. They almost did at the first Christmas party I was at in my old job but everyone chickened out on the night... no-one told me they had changed their mind so I turned up in a monk costume (I even had a stick on moustache). I had only been at the company a few months and barely knew anyone- great icebreaker!

I hope as a country we pick up the dress up because I would love to try a clone theme.

Eugene Samuel Monaco from Lakewood New York on July 09, 2014:

Very Creative Ideas!!! Thanks

Merry Citarella from Oregon's Southern Coast on July 08, 2014:

Great idea! Fun and usable too!

Laura Brown from Ontario, Canada on July 08, 2014:

I tossed cable TV and forgot all about this show. I wanted to like it but didn't quite get there. I watched the first season twice over in reruns on the Space channel here. But, have not seen anything of the second season.