Style Files: DIY fashion icon costumes: from Karl Lagerfeld to Twiggy

Fashion columnist Claire Boston on Halloween’s best dress-up opportunities

If your schedule looks like mine, then I’m sure you’ve recently been logging some serious hours at Ellis studying for midterms. I’m also willing to bet that all your concern over your calc grade has made you forget that Halloween is less than two weeks away. But have no fear, costume-less readers, because two weeks is still plenty of time to come up with a perfect ensemble. The fashion world is full of personality, so if you’re looking for an easy costume that will still leave you more covered than Karen Smith in “Mean Girls,” consider taking inspiration from the fashion world.

Although it’s a relatively rare phenomenon, there are a handful of fashion designers who are as famous for their personal style as they are for the looks they put down the runway. Dressing up as a famous designer is a little highbrow, so you may go unrecognized by some, but your fashion-loving friends will certainly appreciate your effort. Try dressing as Karl Lagerfeld from Chanel with a costume that will probably cost you almost nothing. Simply put on your classiest black and white ensemble, tie your hair back in a slick ponytail (bonus points if you add baby powder to better capture the octogenarian look) and add some weird gloves and sunglasses you can wear indoors. To really get into character, practice looking austere -- Karl never smiles.

If you insist on a little color in your costume, portraying Betsey Johnson might be more your style. It’s pretty easy to shop your closet for a Betsey costume, provided you own at least one thing that is hot pink or made of tulle. Pull out your animal print and neon and mix and match until you have the nuttiest ensemble that still looks like it took some effort to put together. If you’re really invested, mimic Betsey’s platinum hair by tracking down a cheap blonde wig with blunt bangs. Cake on some black eyeliner (raccoon eyes are actually encouraged in this situation) and red lipstick to complete the look. While you have your eyeliner out, consider adding some lines on your forehead too—although her youthful style would never indicate it, Betsey is actually a grandmother.

For a slightly more recognizable look, older fashion icons also make great costume material. Try copying 1960s supermodel Twiggy’s retro attire. You’ll be comfortable and cute in a shift dress and flats, and although Twiggy’s eye makeup looks intimidating, it’s all a matter of some strategically placed liquid eyeliner —- YouTube has dozens of makeup tutorials that can show you how to replicate her look. To get Twiggy’s signature hair without a drastic chop, opt for a deep part, some strategically placed pins and a lot of hairspray. Any short blond wig will also do the trick.

As fashionable as golden-era film stars may have been, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe costumes can be a little overdone. Try a Grace Kelly look if you’re looking for a costume that’s old Hollywood inspired but also a little different. Grace didn’t have a singular iconic look like Audrey’s little black dress or Marilyn’s swishy white number, but less recognition actually makes shopping for a costume easier—just about any ‘50s-style dress or skirt will work for her look. Look for dresses and tops with deep v-necks and be sure to accessorize with pearls and perfectly coiffed hair. If you’re seriously lazy, just throw on anything that would pass as princess garb, and you can channel Grace during her days as Princess of Monaco.

If designers or icons aren’t quite what you’re looking for in a costume, you can take just about any style you admire and turn it into Halloween material. Look to movies and TV shows to find characters whose style you envy, and then hit the thrift stores to emulate their looks. You can also easily dress up as your favorite fashionable celebrity (Lady Gaga costumes have been done to death, but I would love to see someone pull off a good Nicki Minaj). At the end of the day, as long as you end up wearing something more substantial (and creative) than lingerie and bunny ears, you’ll probably be good to go.

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