How to Dress Like The Greatest Showman (P.T. Barnum)

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Best P.T. Barnum Costume Guide

PT Barnum was an American entrepreneur and showman in the 1800’s, with a career involving museums, hoaxes, human curiosities, and circus performances. In 2017 a movie called The Greatest Showman was released, starring Hugh Jackman in the role of PT Barnum, although the film was only loosely based on the real-life exploits of Barnum.

In the film, we see glimpses of his wide-ranging career, as it focuses mainly on his museum ownership and employment of ‘freaks’ to draw in audiences, his work as a circus showman, and his promotion of Swedish singer Jenny Lind for an American tour. We also see his life as a family man with his wife Charity and their two daughters, and the effect his globe-trotting lifestyle has on his family. If you want to transform into the world’s greatest showman, you’ll need to get yourself a Circus Outfit, Black Dress Shoes, Walking Cane, Gold Ribbon and a Rusty Walls Sign Shop.

P.T. Barnum Cosplay Costumes

While the real PT Barnum may have a somewhat darker history, in the name of good cinema, we don’t need to focus on that right now. What we want is the singing, dancing and acting superstar Hugh Jackman portraying one of history’s greatest showmen. The 2017 film was hugely popular with audiences, so you know you’ll be noticed if you attend your next event dressed as Jackman’s portrayal of circus legend PT Barnum.

This costume is perfect for combining with friends too. Get everyone involved, and have your pals join you as playwright Philip Carlyle (as played by Zac Efron), or Barnum’s wife Charity, as played by Michelle Williams. We would love to see photos if you run away to join the circus in this great PT Barnum costume, so don’t forget to upload your photos here to our 2024 Costume Contest!

P.T. Barnum Costume Tips & FAQs

Step into the dazzling world of P.T. Barnum from “The Greatest Showman” with our enchanting costume guide FAQ. This section will guide you through the process of recreating the flamboyant and charismatic style of the legendary showman, perfect for capturing the magic and spectacle of his character.

P.T. Barnum's signature look in the movie is characterized by a vibrant and theatrical outfit. The main elements include a bright red tailcoat with gold embellishments, a black top hat, a white dress shirt, and a black bow tie. He also wears black trousers and a vest, often with a pattern or texture, under the coat.

To recreate Barnum's red tailcoat, look for a bright red jacket or coat, preferably with tails. You can add gold trim or braid to the lapels, cuffs, and back seams to mimic the ornate style seen in the film. This detail is crucial for capturing the showman's extravagant look.

P.T. Barnum is often depicted wearing a black top hat, which is a staple of his showman attire. Choose a classic top hat with a smooth, satin-like finish to complement the theatrical nature of the outfit.

To enhance the authenticity of your P.T. Barnum costume, consider adding a cane, a pocket watch with a chain, and a colorful vest under the tailcoat. These accessories contribute to the 19th-century showman aesthetic and add depth to the character portrayal.

Embodying P.T. Barnum's persona isn't just about the costume—it's also about capturing his spirit and charm. Here are some memorable quotes from the film: "The noblest art is that of making others happy.," "No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.," "This is the greatest show!," "I am not a stranger to the dark." and "Every night I lie in bed, the brightest colors fill my head. A million dreams are keeping me awake." Using these quotes can help you channel Barnum's visionary and inspirational demeanor, making your portrayal more dynamic and engaging.


About P.T. Barnum

In the 2017 film The Greatest Showman, PT Barnum is played by the multi-talented Hugh Jackman, who brings to the big-screen this character who was both loved and hated throughout his career. In the film, we meet Barnum as a young circus performer and get a glimpse of how he met his future wife Charity as a young boy. Barnum purchases his first museum after losing his dreary job as a clerk, and after poor sales to see the museum’s wax sculptures, he decides to bring human ‘freaks’ into the show to boost sales.

While taking his circus on tour to the UK, he meets Swedish singer Jenny Lind and brings her to America, promoting her tour and becoming alienated from his old performance troupe as he wines and dines with the upper class of society. After losing everything, he realizes what is most important, and he rebuilds his original circus before handing control to playwright Philip Carlyle so that he can spend time with his family.

P.T. Barnum
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