Halloween for grownups

by Amanda Bedgood

Costumes high on style, short on time

At some point Halloween became an excuse for grown (otherwise respectable) women to wear thigh highs and stripper shoes. But, there are many of us that love the idea of getting in costume and keeping some class. And so, the task of finding costumes that are fun, easy and cheap became my mission.

Here are two go-to options nearly everyone can do in a pinch. The first of these is my favorite and one I've used again and again because it's so easy and because there is perhaps no character beloved by this IND Styler more than Holly Golightly. The Breakfast at Tiffany's icon requires but a few items for an ensemble that's full of panache.

Start with a little black dress, which can be long or short. Add gloves. (If you frequent costume type events go ahead and buy long black gloves. They will serve you well.) Throw on some pearl necklaces and a rhinestone bracelet or two. Put your hair in a poofy top knot and add a tiny tiara. I borrowed this from an 8-year-old and I advise hitting the toy store for a mini one to get the Audrey look just right. There's the option to wear giant sunglasses if the mood suits or you can do some giant lashes, with lots of mascara and frosty pink lips. The final touch comes by way of a cigarette holder, which you can find super cheap at Old Vogue.

Outfit number two I wore last year to The Vampire's Ball and Saints & Sinners (on the same night) and I'll call it the evil queen. Inspired by Martha Stewart's sorceress from a few years back, this is the perfect way to do a creative cocktail type of event. The key is in the details here again. Long ballgown or even cocktail dress with work. I bought a giant, floor-grazing strip of dark purple tulle and wrapped it around my neck and let it flow as I walked. I added a dramatic necklace, huge earrings and (again) those black gloves. The key to pulling off this look is in the styling. Big hair and too much make up. Look for a tutorial on Black Swan makeup or check out Susan Saradon in Enchanted for inspiration. Then get out your teasing comb and hair spray. And go to work. The bigger the better for the hair. It doesn't need to be perfect. It just needs to be over the top.

For more inspiration for turning your everyday wardrobe into a styling Halloween costume check out the brilliant ideas from the gals over at Who What Wear. (Penny Lane anyone?)