When I was looking for more ideas to add to my 50 Vintage Inspired Halloween Costume article, I found a few posts on ModCloth’s blog about how to Dress for Halloween When You Don’t Like Costumes. This idea of using our normal everyday retro clothing to create a costume that isn’t too “costume-y” resonates with me. Some years I am just not in the Halloween spirit, or I run out of time to make something creative, or I simply have nowhere to wear a fun costume to. Trying to stay office attire appropriate on Halloween is a whole other challenge.
So here are 6 ideas for vintage retro Halloween costumes that use clothing you already have or could buy and wear again tomorrow. Thank you ModCloth for the idea and for sponsoring this post in 2015. It has since been updated with links to current items for sale around the web.
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The most loved nanny of all times, Mary Poppins! Her traveling costume is an easy one to re-create and modest enough for a formal work place setting. Start with a white blouse and a blue or black skirt. A long skirt is more authentic, but a shorter one like above with a pair of black stockings is a bit more youthful (and easier to buy). Next, you need a bit of red. Mary wears a red bow tie around her shirt collar, but a red belt creates the same cheerful effect. A blue or black blazer adds another layer to her costume. A small black vintage hat and black boots/heels come next. Finally, if you have them, a large leather or woven fabric “carpet bag” and an old long black umbrella are the perfect accessories.
Black and white clothes have so many costume possibilities. One of my favorite costume looks is a French mime. Almost everyone I know was a striped shirt in their closet these days as well as some kind of black skirt, jumper, or pants. Now, add a pair of black and/or white shoes, black or white gloves, and a black hat (berets are a great choice of style this year too). You could leave your back and white mime outfit alone or add one little pop of color with a red scarf, or in this case a red headband turned into a scarf. Easy, right?
One of the costumes I didn’t get to include in the 8 Classic Vintage Halloween costume Ideas photoshoot was for a 1970s boho/hippie scarecrow. I am so glad I get to include it here. At first, this outfit looks like one of my fall outfits with flared jeans, lace up boots, a plaid tunic shirt, and a belt. Adding a straw hat doesn’t even make it look too out of place. The secret to making this everyday style into a Halloween costume is in the makeup (if you choose.) Hmm, I think I might wear this outfit tomorrow.
Black and red is another great combination for endless costume possibilities. Ever since I made a Moulin Rouge Ringmaster costume a few years ago, I have been thinking of ways to make another one. This look above blends some trendy fall looks into something kind of costume-y. Striped pants, riding boots, ivory blouse, and the best part – a red military style jacket with brass buttons. To take it to a costume level, add white gloves and a mini top hat.
Here is another black and white themed costume that I just love. It is based on the movie Nightmare Before Christmas and the lead character Jack Skellington. I confess, I just watched this movie for the first time a few days ago. It is one of my husband’s favorites. I am not sure I love the movie, but I do love all the creative costumes, especially the use of stripes. For this female Jack Skellington look, start with a striped dress, shirt, or pants. You could add a striped jacket or sweater as well but for this look I fell in love a skull themed cardigan sweater instead. Paired with skull tights and a not too spooky pair of black cat heels, it is a little bit of everything Halloween.
Twice a year, Disneyland has a Dapper Day event where men and women dress in vintage clothing at the theme park. It is great fun seeing what everyone comes up with. Many women choose to dress as their favorite Disney character but with a vintage inspired twist. Take Minnie Mouse for example. She is retro already with a cute polka dot dress, petticoat, hair bow, yellow bead necklace and retro heels. She is, after all, a classy little mouse. I love the combination of red and yellow. It is so retro! For the next Dapper Day event, I hope to be there.
For more Disney inspired retro ideas, consider Snow White, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Cruella DeVille, Little Mermaid or the Frozen sisters. If you need help with any of these or any costume, please don’t hesitate to ask.
More Retro Halloween themed clothing: