The best thing to do to start a costume design is to read the script a
few times. Having an understanding of the motivations, actions and
outlook of the characters is essential to effective costume design.
Often many images of how the cast should be costumed will come
to mind after these initial readings. The director and design staff
should also be consulted to understand their views of the characters.
Once the characters of the production are understood, the next step
should be determining things to accentuate and decentuate with each
character and actor. For example, if a character is heroic, it is
common to costume them such that their form is seen as triangular -- very
strong at the top. Age can be accentuated by creating the illusion of
additional body weight in different places. Young men tend to be
skinny while men in their late 20's or 30's generally start to take on
some weight. Young women are often viewed as having flowing lines
while older women are often depicted as being heavier on top. If a
woman is to play the role of a child, the top half of her body
should be decentuated (with an ace bandage).