Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 25th
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Pretty on the Playa

camouflageOur Burning Man fashion countdown begins

The world of Playa style is vast, and, in typical Burning Man fashion, incredibly hard to define. But isn’t that the point? Clothes (or lack thereof) are but another tool for “radical self expression” at Burning Man. It is literally—cathartically and hilariously—a place where you can wear whatever the hell you want. As someone who played dress up on a daily basis as a little girl, a week of constant costumes is simply a dream come true. Needless to say, the months before the Burn have me in a full-on costume craze: from funk-ing up clothes I already have and digging around at local thrift stores, to occasionally splurging on must-have items. And, seeing as I’m far from the only one around Santa Cruz who’s neck-deep in costume preparations, it seemed only fitting to bring a little Burning Man mojo to our  popular Obsessive Beauty blog. Each week in August, I’ll be spotlighting various Burning Man digs and accessories I’ve been drooling over this year.

This week, I’m obsessing over quite a few items in stock at Camouflage, the fabulous adult store in Downtown Santa Cruz. Normally, the store’s back room (where the toys are found) is where the action’s at—but this time of year, starting with Burning Man and lasting through Halloween, the front room has plenty to swoon over. Sure, some of it’s on the pricier side compared to, say, Bargain Barn (another great place to get Playa-ready), but hey—a girl’s gotta indulge sometimes.spirithood

On top of the usual mass of hosiery, pasties, wigs (ranging from $20 to $65), tutus and corsets, they’re selling some gorgeous Playa-perfect garb, including sequined butterfly-shaped tops by Western Fashion ($36), funky top/bottom combos by Santa Cruz-based Shag Shorts (, and sought-after SpiritHoods ($150, The latter are made by an Oregon company intent on evoking the “wolf spirit” in people with their soft, faux fur headpieces (see picture). The store also has goggles (must-haves) for $10, and a whole bin of colorful pettipants (or “ruffle butts,” as owners Shannon Collins and Ken Vinson call them), and much more.

But I’m most excited about the WolfeFX face paint ($45 for the largest set), which they haven’t carried in recent years. Last year I bought a 12-set of Kryolan face paint from Camouflage, and was happy with the brand—it went on nicely, wiped off with one swipe of my trusty baby wipes, and didn’t irritate my skin. They plan to have some Kryolan on hand again this year, but Collins says to expect even better things from the WolfeFX brand. Their paints are “more pigment heavy and stay better,” she says. wolfe-fx

Another reason to love the place: On Thursday, Aug. 11, Camouflage will be hosting their third annual Pre-Playa Playdate from 6 to 9 p.m., where attendees can enjoy hors d'oeuvres, Black Rock Rum Punch, live DJ performances, and local art and crafts (think: leather masks, utility belts, feather earrings, etc.). The first 25 people in the door get a free goodie bag—and come dressed in Playa attire to be entered in a costume contest. Check out Camouflage’s Facebook page or website ( for more info, or stop in the store at 1329 Pacific Ave.

In upcoming weeks, the countdown continues with: a feature on a Bay Area designer who makes beautiful vegan pocket belts, a preview of San Francisco’s Prepare for the Playa event, DIY insights, and shout outs to a few of my favorite BM-friendly local thrift stores (one where almost everything is less than $5!).




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