costume ideas

Something Sexy This Way Comes: 23 Hot Costume Ideas for Women

October is my very favorite month, with my very favorite holiday holding the place of honor right at the end. Yay, Halloween! Yesterday, on the group blog I share with my crew, I set out some practical hints about how to put together that sexy costume you have in mind.

Today, I want to talk to my friends who don’t have a costume in mind yet. Now is the time to start looking around and putting your outfit together. If you wait until a “reasonable” time, you’re going to be stuck with whatever’s left. Sometimes that actually works out. Sometimes you end up dressed like a crayon. It’s always better to have more choices, right?

So just for kicks, and to get those candy-coated juices flowing, I wanted to list as many costume ideas as I could think of and how to pull them on (pulling them *off* is up to you, haha). Hopefully, I can help out those of you still looking for ideas and start a discussion about things to try.

I tend to lean toward a classic, understated brand of sexy, and the suggestions reflect my preferences, so you’re not going to find many silly or outright scary ideas below. Just be warned.

Last year, I actually scored a storebought Storm costume and learned the hard way not to machine wash those things. The wig and the hairband are all that survived, but they are enough to make me Storm. (She would say that to you herself, using a very grand voice and her impressive vocabulary.) Seriously, if you see a black woman out on Halloween wearing a white wig, who else is that? The hairband will reassure doubters that you are neither Lady Gaga or Nicki Minaj, but if you want to seal the deal, pick up a Xavier School T-shirt (there’s still time if you Google it).

You can try this with all your superhero outfits, really. This year, I have my eye on the sensible but short-lived Wonder Woman costume, which would just require the bustier (or a logo T-shirt) and the accessory pack with the tiara and the bracelets. Sure, I’d love to wear the classic bustier and panties outfit, but that’s a lot of money to shell out for the chance to spin around in a circle, sing the song (“Stop a bullet cold! Make the Axis fold!”), and come down with a nice November cold. You can still spin around in a circle and sing in the sensible outfit. (If Wonder Woman were sitting next to me right now, my only question would be whether it is at all uncomfortable to fight crime in a bustier and panties.)

Logo T-shirts make your superhero life easier. Play on Clark Kent with a Supergirl shirt under your white-button down shirt (you’re Kara Zor-El now!). Some of the logo shirts even come with a cape, so it’s easy, and less expensive, to be Batgirl or Robin. The Green Lantern shirt doesn’t have a cape, but it does come with the ring (so you could theoretically make your own cape, right?).

I wore a schoolgirl outfit for years and years; it’s a classic you can put together with ease from your closet. You need a white shirt, a blue blazer, Mary Jane shoes, knee socks and a plaid skirt that is knee length at its longest (or what’s the point of the socks?). You can score a striped tie at the thrift store (I actually stole one from my brother, even cheaper), and seal the deal with gum, a lollipop, a lighter (cigarettes are expensive), and something to pull your hair up with.

With a white button-down shirt and a pair of jeans, you can start to pull on the following easy outfits:

  1. Red Riding Hood (add a red cape, sold separately this time of year anywhere from the grocery store to Wal-Mart, and a little wicker basket from home)
  2. Cowgirl (add a straw cowboy hat and a bandana from the thrift store)
  3. Biker (add a thick black leather belt, a bandana for your hair, a nice washable tattoo, and your sunglasses – a leather or dark denim jacket seals the deal)

Dress it up a little and switch the jeans out for suit pants. Now you can be

  1. In the Secret Service (wear your sunglasses and your earbuds – keep one in your ear and let the cord trail into your collar – and look absolutely humorless to seal the deal)
  2. An undercover cop (I believe you can still get a badge and handcuffs in one nifty set for very little money, although toy handguns are harder to find nowadays, with the world the way it is)

Switch the suit pants out for knee pants (I use gauchos) or even capris and you can go steampunk for the night. Bare calves are like an international signal for steampunk. Score a vest from your closet or the thrift store, and pick up some goggles, a pocket watch, and a bandolier to finish it out. Steampunk girls don’t wear flat shoes for some reason. I think it’s related to the bare calves rule.

Switch out the pants for a pencil skirt, and now we’re really talking.

  1. Pinup girl – add pearls, open the shirt, wear the reddest lipstick you can pull off, and style your hair with soft 40’s waves. Be assured that pinup girls are sexy – they are the subject of very popular tattoos.
  2. Gangster’s moll – button your shirt, lose the pearls, add a thrift store hat and a toy tommy gun.
  3. That librarian everyone quietly talked about – add some glasses to the pinup girl outfit, pull your hair back, and stop all that flirty grinning!

Be a doctor without all that pesky education – scrubs cost very little at Wally World, and if you can’t get a stethoscope from the toy section, the Halloween store has them for cheap. To me, scrubs are like the warm-weather version of sweats. You will definitely wear them again.

Don’t underestimate the power of the wig. A wig – all by itself – can take you anywhere from Marie Antoinette to Nicki Minaj. Ignore the label on the wig. Elsa Van Helsing’s wig looks just like Wednesday Addams’s hair. I wore a Jack Sparrow wig with a suit to be Unfrozen Cavewoman Lawyer. That long white wig labeled as “ghost hair” or something? That’s Storm’s hair. You also do not need a wig cap. Head to the drugstore and buy either a wrap cap from the ethnic hair area or a box of knee highs. I have always used the wrap cap to hide my hair under the wig. If you cut the bottom off a knee-high stocking, you can usually use the cuff for the same purpose. Neither of these will cut into the scalp, and they both breathe fairly well.

Even easier, try using just the accessories. I wore a pair of devil horns one year with a blue dress. I have a pair of cat ears that goes with any of my black shirts and black jeans. It only takes a little to get the job done. The year I wore the red cape over my white shirt and jeans … well, the wolf knew exactly who I was.

Let’s make this Costume Idea Central, home to all your costume suggestions, questions and quandaries! Let me know what’s on your mind in the comments!