For the last few years, I have had the luxury of ordering gorgeous costumes for my kids from Chasing Fireflies and similar sites, choosing the cutest, the girliest, and the most adorable ones I could find. That is why Lola went as a Cupcake Fairy one year and Little Bo Peep another, complete with pink staff and stuffed lamb. At least I have the pictures, because those days are behind me. This year, after weeks of waffling and flipping through costume catalogs, my girls finally chose costumes, neither of which I was happy with, and then I promptly lost the catalogs and forgot to order them. So, last weekend, we found ourselves in a costume store, as a family, where we all attempted to select costumes in one trip. We split up, with Kevin taking Eva while I helped my indecisive Lola. She promptly dismissed all of my choices (Victorian princess! Japanese princess! Egyptian princess!) and went straight for the off-limits Monster High section. After much deliberation, we settled on a Monster High outfit that had nothing to do with Monster High. Instead, it was an adorable fur trimmed mod-print dress with fur leggings and arm coverings. We called it the Adorable Snowgirl, but other people called her an Ice Princess. Crisis averted. Or so I thought. We caught up with Kevin and Eva to find her proudly displaying her choice of costume: Captain America. My girly, dimpled little 4-year-old, who has always been obsessed with superheros, finally decided to become one for the day. And I didn’t have it in me to break her little heart. She actually looked adorable in it, her long dark hair flowing out from underneath her little mask, and so even though I never did find the red and blue tutu I planned to add to glamorize the costume, I decided to roll with it. My husband chose a Western bartender costume, which was cool, and spent quite a bit of time settling on just the right props. But with all due respect to superheros and snow princesses, my costume was my favorite – simply because it was so simple! I chose to be Audrey Hepburn. I already had the little black dress, the pearls (in my case, gumball sized), the dark hair. All I needed to add were elbow-length black satin gloves and a long cigarette holder. It was easy, fun, and totally wearable – perfect for a Friday night Halloween party. While I wound up holding Eva’s mask and Lola’s fur legwarmers, my costume stayed intact. It was the first costume I’ve had in years, and so easy that when Lola suggested, as I was tucking her in tonight, that I also wear my costume when we go trick or treating, it was easy to say yes!
So, for those last-minute parties, your role as the coolest classroom mom ever, or just to take the kids down the street for some candy, here are some simple, fashionable costume ideas using items from your own closet!
1. Barbie: Short-ish dress. High-ish heels. Blue-ish eyeshadow. If your hair is blonde, you are already halfway there. If, like me, you have to don a blonde wig and dub yourself Malibu Barbie (because of my natural tan – ha) then it’s a little more effort. It helps to have a Ken.
2. Annie Hall: When Annie Hall famously wore her own eclectic wardrobe for this 1977 movie, she started a trend that inspires to this day. Pair your baggy, wide-legged pants and white button-down, with your husband’s vest and tie, add a floppy hat, oxfords, and some plucky charm.
3. Marilyn: The thing about dressing as Marilyn is that there is no way to do it halfway. You have to bring it! Blonde fluffy wig, pleated georgette dress, strappy heels, pouty lips. If you have these items in your closet (I used to have a Marilyn dress in red from Ann Taylor) and a hefty dose of confidence, go for it!
4. Mad Men: Prim, sixties-style shifts, mid-heel pumps and a serious ‘do to play Peggy, or a wiggle-dress, glamorous pumps and serious curves to play Joan. Icy perfection, in the form of a full-skirted cocktail dress and pearls, for Betty. Add a scarf and sunglasses and you have Grace Kelly.
5. Flashdance: Slouchy one-shoulder sweatshirt. Big hair. Leggings. Anything neon. All available at a trendy store near you, or maybe even in your closet.
Other Simple, Stylish Ideas:
Bonnie & Clyde: Snug sweater. Beret. Attitude.
Belle du Jour: Subtle sixties style. Impeccable blonde hair.
The Great Gatsby: Flapper fashion, floppy hats, and fringe.