I CHERISH Halloween. It’s my all time favorite holiday of the year. It’s the one time of year that I’ve always felt like I’ve belonged- no one is going to care what you’re wearing because almost EVERYONE is dressed up in costume. I was one of those kids that always wanted to do cosplay, but in my small hometown you never did- coloring your hair and wearing brightly colored eye shadow brought down notice and scorn. I didn’t have the outer shell to handle things, nor the friendship circle to hold me up, so I blended in. In college, I started to go my own way, and now I’m me. Somewhat. I’d still have what I call anime-colored hair if I could (work regulations), but I do what I can within the restrictions.
My problem now isn’t that I’m bound by peer pressure or community expectations, it’s that I’m bound by social and media expectations. I would love to walk into a store and find ready made Halloween outfits. My problem is that I am not an ideal size. I am not what Halloween costume makers consider “plus size” (which varies from size 12 to 16 to 20 depending on the brand, and those sizes are not consistent with any regular clothes maker). I’m extremely hard pressed to find anything first that fits, then that I’d like, and finally that is appropriate for work.
If it fits at the waist, the bust is either showing WAAAAY too much cleavage or the top is completely falling off. Or if it actually fits at the bust, it looks worse than this:
But I have found solutions.
Torrid is the one of the few places that I’ve found that actually understands that I like nicer clothes than patterned couch flowers. They have a nice selection of online Halloween outfits (costumes and shirts) and they carry some in stores as well. I’ve tried some on recently, and the skirts reach a nice length. If you’re like me and not comfortable with the shorter skirts, you can dress them up with colored tights or leggings and feel much better about having to bend down or doing a program.
I am ADDICTED to Polyvore. If you’ve never heard of it, it is an online global community whose users create sets or collages of fashion ideas or clothing and share them everywhere. Oftentimes they’re predicting trends, and they showcase what is hot in other areas. And, if you click through, they can even show you how to buy the look (be forewarned, some of the prices will give you sticker shock).
The reason I love this site is because I can do a little costuming in my day-to-day life without anyone really noticing. How? Get online, and type in a character or a person that you’re looking for. For example, if you type in Doctor Who and search under sets, you get 47,000+ hits. These are the three that I like from my search on 9/30:
Do I have all these exact pieces? No. The shoes alone in the Donna outfit would cause me to break my neck. But I have similar pieces, and brown boots. And next time I need clothes, maybe I’ll look for a cardigan that color.
One of the users who does this for a living is Disneybound. As the username suggests she does Disney and Disney related looks (Once Upon a Time, Marvel, etc.) but she’ll also do other looks (Doctor Who, Percy Jackson, etc.). And it’s perfect for taking a look and spinning it off into your own costume. Need a costume but have no clue? What about being TweedleDee and TweedleDum from Alice in Wonderland? Think it’s too hard? Take a look:
Or Ursula the sea witch but don’t want the tentacles?
I’m doing Mad Madame Mim from Disney’s Sword and the Stone for my vacation trip, while That Guy is going as Merlin. We’re going to have a wonderful time shooting spells and dueling each other. She looks like this:
So I purchased on clearance a purple skort (I hate skirts and we’re going to be running around a theme park), a darker purple t-shirt, and a berry colored tank top. I’ll frizz out my hair, and ta da!
Don’t be afraid to call up shops that look nice online! There are some big online retailers that have issues, but they’ve directed me to small shops that have wonderful clothes that work not only for every day but for costumes as well. Dare to Wear, for example, makes Victorian-inspired shirts and dresses- wear it to work and wear it as pirate gear, renaissance gear, or other! I’ve got a black dress from there that I’m going to take and morph into a Catwoman because that’s what a 5 year old told me I needed to be for the giant Halloween party at work this year.
Or Etsy is a really good way to discover artists and costume makers near and around you. I’ve found some shops that have made amazing accessories and jewelry.
Another site is Plus Size Costume Shop– they are expensive but they are handmade costumes, so if you know you’re going to be a certain character year after year (or need a Mother Goose or Alice or Queen outfit), this is the place to go. I’ve had this costume for years, and it has held up to abuse. I’ve taken different pieces and used it in different costumes, used it all together, taken it without the cape- years of different costumes.
So, what are you going to be for Halloween?