In addition to all of the glorious depravity that it encourages, Halloween provides a legitimate excuse to go shopping.
Now, one route is that of the costume set, but it should be known: That road is expensive, tacky, generic and, well, I’ll just leave it at “Lycra.” I mean, what place does a policewoman micro-dress really have in your closet for the other 364 days of the year?
The style-conscious costume hunter sees Halloween as not just another night to get blotto and show some skin, but also as an opportunity to score clothing that you can actually wear again.
So what’s the lesson to be learned? Isn’t it obvious? Dress up as someone fabulous. Here are some ideas and tips I’ve concocted to serve as your inspiration.
An “it girl”
This option is incredibly simple and incredibly glam. Do some Google-ing of famous socialites like Edie Sedgwick or ChloëSevigny. Many of them seem to have a penchant for minimalist, playful clothing that’s played up by some sort of statement jewelry piece or sultry makeup. Find a mod mini dress, get a cigarette holder, channel Nancy Sinatra in the realm of hair and eye makeup, and you’re there.
Dudes: Why settle for something repetitive when you could be Karl Lagerfeld? If you’re unfamiliar, Lagerfeld is the controversial creative director and head designer at the (arguably) most important fashion house in the world: Chanel. Essentials: white hair dye, black suit, bowtie, shades, fingerless black gloves and if overzealous: a shoddy tan.
If we’re on the subject of iconic-looking fashion honchos, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour is the obvious suggestion. To dress like the ultimate ice queen is simple: blunt bangs, earth-toned or black dress, modest pumps, fur coat (though the real Anna would scoff, faux fur is definitely acceptable) and an unaffected stare. Bonus points if you buddy up and have a pal dress as her French Vogue arch-nemesis Carine Roitfeld.
Leather, glitter, fake eyelashes — the room for creativity in the rock star realm is literally boundless. So choose a favorite and roll with it. And don’t necessarily focus on your own specific gender. There could be some pretty convincing gender-bending Joey Ramones, David Bowies or Debbie Harrys. It’s all about dramatizing that hair.
I can’t reiterate enough how wide of a selection Twin Cities thrift stores allow for costume shopping. You might need some patience, but it can be well worth it (I’ve heard urban shopping legends about finding $20 Frye’s and DVF evening wear for less than $40). The last thing you want is to end up settling for an overpriced American Apparel ensemble. Tear through those racks!
Makeup is arguably my favorite part of dressing for Halloween. The lashes are longer, the lids are smokier, and the overall drama is heightened in a way that’s too intense for your typical 9 a.m. class.
Admittedly, I’ve been known to splurge on a MAC professional, but it’s not necessary. What you can do is visit your favorite makeup counter sometime before Halloween weekend and talk with an artist about technique. They’ll test products on you for free, offer their industry expertise and in return, you’ll probably temporarily spare them from the boredom and agony of working mall retail.
I’ll be going as Audrey Horne (assuming that I can find the perfect pair of saddle shoes). I’d love to hear what standout ideas you guys/gals cook up. And remember: be safe, be stylish!
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