Couture Your Halloween – Maven Style

I have always been accused of having a rather over active imagination, therefore, it’s no surprise really, that my favorite holiday/time of year has always been Halloween. The excuse to dress up like somebody else, anybody else, has always been an opportunity that I have relished taking advantage of! Devoid of any talents in the performing arts, costuming is where I set my sights as a young girl; and Halloween was always the perfect outlet for my talents. And my own pride and vanity has always insisted on going above and beyond. Winning Halloween is an absolute must for The Haute Maven!
To be perfectly honest, making Halloween haute (yes I just went there), isn’t all that difficult. As long as you give yourself enough time (last minute doesn’t work here procrastinators), putting together a costume that will blow everyone away is rather easy. First things first, pick a theme or character. I tend to focus on very recognizable characters, either from tv/film or history. For the sake of this article, I will use my Maleficent costumes from last year as a reference.
Once you have decided upon a costume, the next step is to start your research. Google pictures of what you want to recreate and start your search. The best sites for such things are Amazon for the simple props, and Etsy for the custom ones. I typically use a little of both to create my final look. For Maleficent, I decided to recreate two looks from the live action film with Angelina Jolie. The first look, her gown from the christening scene (from both the live action film and the animated Sleeping Beauty feature). The second was from the end of the live action film, where she is in a one piece skin tight (almost leather looking) one piece bodysuit with her wings.
As both outfits required the headdress with her horns, I started there. I researched simple costume options from well known mass production companies, but wasn’t impressed, so I opted for a custom headdress. This is where Etsy comes in handy. No matter if you are costuming yourself, planning a party or decorating a home, Etsy is an incredible site for finding handmade, customized pieces. I was able to find a woman from Paris, France who 3D printed the horns and sculpted the headdress out of leather. It looked so on point with the film version. Now, it’s important to keep in mind budget when using Etsy. As custom pieces are one of a kind, you need to be prepared to spend a little more than $29.99. If you aren’t, it’s ok to go with the store bought option. However, when putting together a costume piece by piece, if you are going to spend money on a custom piece, it’s always a good idea to put that into the most important piece. For Maleficent it was her headress, for Cleopatra it would be her collar. If you are doing Vivian from Pretty Woman it’s her midriff white and blue mini dress.
You don’t need to use custom pieces at all, however, if you don’t want to spend the money. For Elphaba, from the musical Wicked, a few years ago, I pieced together an entire costume just by looking for Victorian skirts, green unitards, corsets, turtlenecks and then picked up the hat and broom from a local Halloween superstore. It was a smash hit, just like the musical, and it looked far better than the costume in a bag versions. That’s really the key to making something look incredible and stunning, using pieces that have more substance than the see through mass produced, flimsy bagged costumes.
The rest of Maleficent’s second look was put together just this way. I had my custom headdress, so I hopped on Amazon and started searching. I found a liquid effect zip up bodysuit for $30, a faux fur collar for $9.99, black angel wings for $40, a Maleficent staff for $19.99, and I bought a little crow to glue to the top. I then pulled out my over the knee leather boots from my closet, and there it was. Maleficent in all her glory. Now seeing as I have brown eyes and she was supposed to have green, I opted to wear contacts. These can be cheap, but I wear prescription ones, so I had to spend a bit more if I wanted to not walk into walls. Then it was all in the makeup, which was copied right from pictures with regular white setting powder and black eyeshadow for contouring.
I will now admit to being absolutely insane, and telling you that for the christening gown I went custom. I wanted the full effect. So Etsy it was again. And I just wore the bodysuit underneath for quick change and had my staff and crow ready. I then added a black choker I sold at the store.
The more cost effective winged costume, however, turned out to be more of a hit. This is the one I brought down to Disney World with my children and wore to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom. I couldn’t fit the gown, which had a hoop into my luggage. Now, I am not lying, I have witnesses, I was stopped throughout the park by people who thought I worked at the park as a character. I was asked to sign autograph books and to take pictures with guests. My kids were hysterically laughing the entire time. Not to mention I had my daughter wearing a custom Sleeping Beauty dress! It was probably the most fun I have ever had celebrating Halloween.
You can even create looks using regular clothes. Just swing by THM this September & October and check out our Wizard of Oz themed window display created using clothes exclusively sold at the store. All you need to do is keep the basic theme in mind and use your imagination.
So there it is… your way to a Haute Maven Halloween. It’s really all at your fingertips and in your head. This year I’m going all out and doing 7 days of costumes, from Pretty Woman, to Marie Antoinette! So keep an eye on @thehautemaven in October, for hints on how to create more haute costumes!