I love Halloween, but those words seem like a paltry way to describe my deep devotion to the holiday. Longtime readers may already know this since I’ve posted about my sometimes insanely time-intensive costumes over the years. My all-time favourite was the year I went as Prince; I won first prize. They can carve that on my tombstone.
I’ve also been a Toddler in Tiara (very scary), John Waters, a bag of jelly beans, a human tornado, Karl Lagerfeld, and a trophy wife (head to toe gold body paint, for real). However, for the first time maybe ever, it’s mid-October and I have no idea what I’m going to do in a few weeks. I’ve been too busy to make an elaborate wear-once outfit, so I’ve been thinking of creative ways to make wearable garments that will have a life outside of the funnest night of the year.
The following costumes can all be made with existing patterns and a few extra accessories. They are inspired by some of my favourite fashion icons over the last 70 years, and the main components can be worn even when you’re not binging on candy Halloween night.
My deep misgivings about Woody Allen aside, this is probably my favourite movie of all time. Annie Hall is so charming and stylish and instantly recognizable. Make a classic white Archer, a pair of khaki Thurlow trousers and you’re half way there. Accessorize with a borrowed tie, brogues, a black fedora, a straw bag and tennis racket. Even better if you add a fake lobster prop and run away from it all night.
Oh Courtney, I’ll love you forever. You never apologize for who you are and Live Through This is still one of the best rock records ever made. Pay homage to the ultimate Hot Mess with a black and white Emery dress, white schoolgirl socks, mary janes, red glossy lips, Goody baby barrettes and a tiara. Watch this impression from Molly Shannon on SNL if you want to really nail the performance.
All my nineties girls, REPRESENT. Blossom was the most stylish character on TV when I was a tween. I wanted EVERYTHING she wore. This is totally on trend right now, which terrifies me; I am now old enough to see the stuff I wore in high school cool again. Make a floral Sabrina dress from By Hand London, and thrift a crocheted sweater and denim vest. Hopefully you never got rid of your high school Doc Martens. Throw a flower on a hat and you are good to go. Bonus points if your best friend dresses like Six.
The ultimate art muse, Edie was a 60’s “it” girl who palled around with Andy Warhol and Bob Dylan. It doesn’t get much easier (or more chic) than Edie. Layer a black Nettie bodysuit over opaque black tights, and wear huge chandelier earrings and black pumps. Eyes should be as smoky as a forest fire with a nude lip.
No one has ever had a more uniquely beautiful aesthetic than Frida, and it’s such an easy costume to throw together. Make a bright floral Gabriola skirt and wear it with a simple peasant style top (alternatively you could make this Mexican dress from Folkwear patterns). The fun is in the accessorizing; make a floral crown and layer lots of bold jewelry with colourful scarves. Don’t forget a strong lip and a unibrow!
If you feel like going the sexy route, you can’t really do better than Bettie Page (I rocked this costume a few years back). Rather than prancing around in your underwear, make a gorgeous leopard print wrap dress using this Vogue pattern, and add seamed stockings and maribou trimmed pumps. You’ll need a wig unless you feel like trimming Bettie bangs. Don’t forget the whip, and some classic come-hither perfume.
Finally, channel some witchy womanly goodness through Stevie Nicks. The key to this is floaty diaphanous layers, lots of scarves and granny boots. I think a black Cascade skirt is just the ticket, but if you’re feeling more ambitious you could make this beautiful maxi dress from Burdastyle. I love this old SNL skit starring Lucy Lawless as Stevie Nicks opening a tex-mex restaurant, you know, for inspiration.
And now to decide what I’m actually going to do this year. Are you going out for Halloween? Making your own costume? I want to hear all about it!