Sun’s Out, Fun’s Out!

Hippies are a relic from generations gone by. Their brightly colored clothing and free spirits forever live on in popular culture through cinema, music and – wait for it – themed parties! We’re halfway through May and the weather is warming up. It’s time to put away the jackets and sweaters and get ready for some fun in the sun! Whether you’re going to a 1970s party or just want to inject a little peace into your outfit, here are a few suggestions to help you find your inner flower child.



Liberate Your Hair

Whether you have long locks or a short bob, you can make your hair fit the look. A headband or flowers will immediately put you into hippie territory. If you have longer hair, accentuate the front with bangs. Bright colors are a must, so be generous with the amount of flowery accessories that make up your headgear.

Be on the Fringe

Rather, let the fringe be on you. Fringe is a big part of the hippie look – think Neil Young circa Buffalo Springfield. Leather works best, but anything will do, as long as it has fringe. Fringe! Ok, I think you get the point. Be sure to add buttons. Peace signs, smiley faces, and band pins will give it the perfect look.


Whatever you have on, make sure it is fully adorned with flowers, patches, tie-dye, etc. There is no right or wrong way to look. Just make sure to have an artistic approach and focus on peace, love, and possibly two doves embroidered on the back of your shirt.

Increase the peace!


Mulan’s Best Dresses

Given the announcement that Disney is producing a live action version of their classic 1998 tail Mulan and that Mulan herself is one of the most influential and inspiring Disney characters to date, I decided to take a look at a couple of her most well known dress style in the original cartoon.

Green Dress

Mulan Green DressIn the beginning of the movie Mulan wears a green dress (I apologize for my lack of knowledge on what her style of clothing is actually called, but for Disney princess purposes we will continue to refer to it as a dress). The green dress is casual and comfortable. It allows her to have an elegant appearance while maintaining flexibility and agility.

Pink Dress

mulan pink dress

Mulan had reached the pivotal point in her life where marriage was her only next option. Thus she was transformed by the match maker into a beautiful dolled up woman with the hope of attracting the “perfect” man.

Which dress to choose?

The green dress wins when it comes to comfort and versatility. If you are planning on moving around a lot and potentially showing off some fighting moves to protect your friends from any incoming danger then the green dress is for you.

If going all out and getting thoroughly dressed up then the pink dress is for you. It can be a lot of work especially with the make-up, but when done properly this outfit will wow your friends as well as strangers.

Revisiting Buttercup

Recently, Netflix released the third season of its critically-acclaimed series House of Cards. Robin Wright stars as Claire Underwood, First Lady of the United States of America. Nearly 28 years ago, Wright played the role of Princess Buttercup in the instant classic The Princess Bride. Today, we’ll take a look at her memorable character and review some looks that will help you get in touch with your inner Buttercup. Princesses come in all shapes and sizes, so even if you don’t look like Robin Wright, you can capture the beautiful essence of a princess!


Let Your Locks Flow

Perhaps the most notable characteristic of Buttercup is her flowing blonde hair. If this isn’t your normal style, you can always get a wig, and if you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can color your hair.


Go with a Gown

No princess is truly a princess without an elegant dress. It can be any color or style, just make sure it is worthy of a princess. Bonus points for anything that shines or shimmers!

Accessories Are a Must

If you’re going to have a gown, you might as well go all the way. Tiaras, jewelry, and fancy shoes or slippers can help complete a full-fledged princess look.

Those are just a few things you can do to put a little Buttercup into your life. If you have a beau, have him dress up as the Dread Pirate Roberts, walk around a crowded place in costume, and see if anyone recognizes your characters! Cap everything off with a viewing of The Princess Bride, remember – you can make magic whenever you want to!



Get Colonial

Presidents’ Day is observed on the third Monday each February to commemorate George Washington’s birthday (as well as Abraham Lincoln and in some cases, many other presidents). However, his actual birthday is February 22. When is the last time you paid tribute to the founding fathers? Any opportunity to dress up in costume is a good one, and Washington’s birthday is a great opportunity to have fun while honoring the USA’s first president.

Stock Photo of the Consitution of the United States and Feather Quill

Written Proof

What good is a party if you can’t remember it or who attended? Consider getting a large scroll and feather pen. Have each party guest sign their name. To ensure the party is agreeable and most people have a good time, gather around the document and create a Party Constitution.


Impress with that Dress

You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Colonial women wore corsets underneath their dresses, and those are very uncomfortable. No way I’m doing that.” You’re right, and you shouldn’t. Lucky for you, modern day costumes are designed for comfort and there’s no need to constrict your breathing just to join the fun.


Historical Context

To really have fun – and prevent duplicate costumes – assign a character to your party guests. For example, have two of your friends attend as Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. Imagine the arguments they’ll have over the hors d’oeuvres!


Wig Out

No colonial look is complete without a white powdered wig. Perukes, as they are officially known, were originally used to cover up baldness and open sores caused by syphilis. Wind the clock forward a couple hundred years and they’re a delightful costume accessory! Whatever look you’re going for, make sure you have one of these in your arsenal.


Declaration to the Nation

To add historical significance, read Washington’s Farewell Address. Washington wrote this to the people of the United States and explained why he would not seek a third term in office. He also addressed the political climate at the time and gave advice and encouragement to the citizens of the newly formed nation.

So there you have it. You never thought you’d celebrate George Washington in a big way, but now there’s no excuse not to! Happy birthday Mr. President – thanks for everything!

It’s Almost Mardi Gras!

Are you looking for an excuse to dress up, post-holidays?  Well, look no further.  Carnival (traditionally known as Carnivale, in Italian), the period of time leading up to Mardi Gras, begins after the twelfth day of Christmas, January 6th.  Traditionally, from this time until Fat Tuesday—the night before Ash Wednesday, six weeks before Easter—there was revelry.  People tried to use up all their cheese, bread, and other treats before Lent—in Catholicism, a time of giving up indulgences such as meat and alcohol.  Jambalaya, wine, and cake, anyone?  Since Fat Tuesday lands on February 17th, it’s time to get started on your costume making!


The Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, and gold (representing justice, fidelity, and power) were chosen because they were the family colors of the Romanov family—since Alexis Romanov, Grand Duke of Russia, had landed in New Orleans in search of a woman.  So there was a parade thrown in his honor, as well as a masked ball—hence the tradition of a ball, a king and queen, and the theme of royalty that still pervades festivities today.

Based on this information, there is a lot you could do toward dressing up creatively, while still fitting in one of the traditional Mardi Gras themes.  For example, you could dress all in gold, and declare yourself to be Power!  How about a scepter or wand, a gold robe or toga, golden sandals and bangles?  Athena, anyone?  Your outfit can be as outlandish or elegant as you like—it’s up to you!  If you’re at a loss for finding a golden dress or robe, there’s always gold spray paint for textiles to help transform that old T-shirt into a fabulous glittery top ready for display.

Athena Or you could dress up as a King Cake! In addition to giving out miniature pieces of cake on a tray, you could wear a crown and have a miniature baby figurine hidden somewhere in your hair or on your outfit, for revelers to find.  (The latter idea is based on the tradition of hiding a small plastic infant figurine symbolizing the baby Jesus inside the King Cake—and whoever finds the figure gets to make the cake next year.)  Just be careful with the implementation of that idea—you don’t want to invite unwanted attention!  As for the icing, go crazy with the purple, green, and gold: try bright stockings for arm coverings, legwarmers, and a fun, brightly colored wig!  Oh, and silly string: have you ever thought of a better use for it?


Remember the theme of royalty? So, think of the different roles and variations of those titles: King, Queen, Court Jester, Lady in Waiting, Falconer, Maid of Honor, Knight, Page, etc.  Perhaps you can convince a friend or two to dress up as the royal court with you!  The key to looking like an aristocratic member of the court is to dress in rich jewel tones like deep purple, ruby red, emerald green, royal blue, and bright gold.  Velvet helps, too—faux or not. Oh, and you don’t have to be male to play one of these characters, of course!  Look to Gwyneth Paltrow’s squire outfit from Shakespeare in Love for inspiration:

Paltrow as Squire

So go, revel in your mortal pleasures before the Lenten season descends upon us.  Don’t forget your mask and your beads!  And remember: Mardi Gras started with a parade.  So grab your closest friends, form a line, get thee downtown, and start your own miniature parade!  You can’t have a party without friends—so be sure to be silly with them while you can!

Out with the Old, In with the New Year

If you’re going to a New Year’s Eve gathering, you should go in style. Nothing says “I don’t like to party” like jeans and a winter coat. As far as costumes go, New Year celebrations are probably the last holiday you can dress up for without getting a funny look. However, you don’t have to put on a whole ensemble. Here are some suggestions to end the year/start the new one in style, whether you’re going all out or just want to accessorize.

Glitter Glam

One of the fastest, and most fun, ways to ramp up your look is with sparkles. Want to be noticed? Ditch your standard night-out shoes for some flashy glitter heels. Try making your own glittery design on a blank t-shirt. There’s also plenty of shimmering makeup available to help you enhance your look.


Wear the Year

This one is exactly like it sounds. Take the aforementioned glittery substance and write “2015” on a sweatshirt or tee for a look that is both festive and comfortable. It may not be the most original idea, but it’s always a crowd pleaser.


Go All In

There are all kinds of routes you can take on your road to New Year’s costume glory. There is the standard baby look with a ‘New Year’ sash. You could also do a jeans and sweater Mrs. Claus look, to indicate she’s on vacation until late next year. For reasons perhaps unknown, a top hat is always welcome. Essentially anything that conveys excitement and hope will be a look appropriate for such an occasion.

Now that you’ve got the wheels turning inside your head, get that costume planned! Give yourself ample time to prepare and source any odd pieces that may be difficult to find. And most important of all, have fun! This is a time to fondly wish the current year goodbye and say hello to the new one with confidence.

Good Morrow: Are You Going to Scarborough Faire?

Renaissance fairs are a widely varying experience for the fair-goer, depending upon whether you are a fan or a spectator of Renaissance fair culture.  You know who I’m talking about, don’t you?  The Society for Creative Anachronism crowd or your Dungeons & Dragons-playing friends from high school would fit the bill.  Well, I confess: ever since I attended a Renaissance fair in high school and purchased a bodice and muslin peasant’s blouse, I was intrigued.

And not just because I could no longer breathe in fully whenever I wore my newly acquired outfit.

Choices, Choices

Little did I realize that many of these fairgoers take the endeavor quite seriously—especially the historically-accurate-clothing part.  I mean, there’s an entire list of merchants cited on the SCA Juried Merchants List page for Clothing & Fabric.  I noticed a considerable difference between outfits from Viking and medieval times and mid-to-late Renaissance-era times—as well as variations in outfits from different regions of Europe.  Also, depending on which class you want to represent, your costume could look dramatically different: it’s the difference between muslin and satin, linen and velvet; royalty also tended to wear brighter colors than the peasant classes, who wore more earthy or natural tones, simply because the fabrics were likely to be undyed.

To Buy or To Make: That is the Question

After browsing through of some of the outfits on these sites, I realized that historically accurate clothing reproductions are not cheap!  However, it would be easy to buy some of the more elaborate pieces, such as footwear or bodices, and make the rest of your costume, yourself.  There is no shortage of patterns for medieval and Renaissance-period costumes on the web.  What better way to put yourself in a wench’s shoes than to become a seamstress for a week or two and tailor your own outfit?   Many of the patterns are relatively simple for skirts and blouses.

Shall We Conjugate, Then, and Go to the Faire?

I recommend attending a Renaissance fair in order to see various societal roles—such as cobbler, bar wench, maiden, and knight—enacted in person.  In general, though, a good guideline for a basic Renaissance/medieval-era outfit includes the following:

  • A natural/cream-colored chemise, which is a loose-fitted blouse with drawstring collar usually made from muslin or linen.
  • A long free flowing or gathered skirt — either undyed or brightly colored, depending on your character’s socio-economic class status.
  • A hat — if you like — with hair braided either way, if it’s long enough.
  • A close-fitting bodice, often dark or brightly-colored, and usually made of either twill or brocade – again, depending on your character’s profession or class status.

Fare Thee Well!

Though the list of possibilities may be daunting, there are a limited number of factors to consider, and a lot of potential fun to be had, in the process.  I hope you have a blast inhabiting the garb of a Renaissance-era woman, next time you have an excuse to dress in costume!



Film’s Darkest Characters — Who Should Your Costume be Modeled After?

Although October has come and gone, it’s never too early to plan for next year. Halloween is a unique time of celebration. What other day is it socially acceptable to dress like a werewolf at work or walk around as Wonder Woman, all while decorating your front yard with grotesque lawn ornaments?

All Hallows’ Eve brings out the inner superhero/monster/demented clown in all of us. Of course, not everyone gets excited for the occasion. Some folks prefer not to participate, and others are plagued by something else entirely – they just don’t know what costume to wear. As overwhelming as it can be, sometimes you may be thinking too hard; for Halloween inspiration, look no further than the movies.

Film antagonists make the perfect Halloween costume. It’s the one time of year you can be whoever you want without getting grief for it. If you dress up like Alex DeLarge from A Clockwork Orange on April 11th, you’re a sociopath. If you do it on October 31st, you get applause when you walk into the party.  Ever wanted to be Kathy Bates’ character from Misery? Halloween is your time to shine.

The folks over at the New York Film Academy sent over this handy guide:

So, what horrifying evildoer fits your personality? Are you a mischievous and playful villain? Consider Jigsaw from Saw or John Doe from Se7en. More direct in your approach? Try dressing down to play the part of real-life serial killer Aileen Wuornos – Charlize Theron’s version won an Oscar. And although most people probably think Hannibal Lecter when you mention The Silence of the Lambs, Buffalo Bill is also a terrifying spectacle.

Whether you go as a sadistic killer, perverted stalker, or a mentally unstable grandmotherly figure bent on facilitating the next great novel, there are all sorts of options for looking scary, and thanks to the wide array of costumes available, you can do so accurately and with style – if style is something that concerns maniacs.

Mother-Daughter Costumes: It’s All in the Family

I was tooling around Pinterest (as I often do) and came across a thread that I decided would make a great post. If you ladies with daughters haven’t had a chance to put together your costumes yet, here are some ideas for you!

First, here are a couple of ideas for moms with little ones who need to be carried or who can maybe toddle a bit on their own:

Alice & Cheshire Cat (Alice in Wonderland)

Alice & Cheshire Cat

Tiny Cheshire Cat is a perfect companion for mom’s Alice.

Pirate & Parrot


Another excellent choice for moms with little ones that need to be toted about. Your little parrot will be happy to sit on your shoulder.

Web & Spider

Web & Spider

And another one for the wee babes! This one can also be adjusted for the baby to be strapped to mom’s chest with a baby carrier harness.

Padme and Leia

Padme & Leia

Oh, this one warms my nerdy little heart. Little Leia’s ears will stay warm in the October chill with those adorable bun earmuffs!

Granmamare & Ponyo

Granmamare & Ponyo

From Miyazaki’s Ponyo, this duo is just the cutest. I love the beach photo shoot for this one so much.


For older kids, here are a couple of ideas that caught my eye:

Beldam & Coraline

Beldam & Coraline

Coraline is one of my absolute favorite movies- and books! Neil Gaiman’s dark fairy tale can make for a playful mother-daughter team up.

Elinor & Merida

Elinor & Merida

I’ll admit it. I got a bit teary, watching Brave. It’s an excellent story about the love that mothers and daughters share, even when they’re butting heads. This is a great choice for moms with teen-aged daughters– if they can rope their daughter into it.

Glinda & Dorothy (The Wizard of Oz)

Glinda & Dorothy

I’ve seen versions with the mom playing the Wicked Witch, as well. I guess it’s telling which version you choose!

McGonagall & Hermione

McGonagall & Hermione

Just look at that smile! Hermione is such a wonderful role model for young girls and Professor McGonagall is the teacher we all wish we could have had. What a great idea, ladies!

Bonus for moms with multiple daughters!

Russian Nesting Dolls

Russian Nesting Dolls

Got a couple of girls of varying ages? A matching set of Russian nesting dolls could be just the thing. Pretty cute, right?


Family outfits are some of my absolute favorites to see this time of year. Mom and daughter costume combos can help bring families closer together and display that your sense of humor and creativity is genetic. Have I missed any great ones? Let me know!

When it comes to Halloween Costumes, What Defines Offensive?

I’m not going to take up too much of your time today, but I’ve been thinking a lot about offensive Halloween costumes – or rather, what characterizes a costume as offensive.

It seems to come down to each person’s individual opinion. Some people find anything marketed as “sexy” distasteful, whereas feminists (like myself) are more of the mind that a woman can where whatever she pleases. There are those that might express disgust at costumes depicting bodily functions while others find them humorous.

Personally, I take offense to two types of costumes – those that are culturally insensitive and those that make light of tragedy.

Culturally Insensitive Costume

Triple nope.

It’s amazing that in the costume industry, it’s still actively encouraged to disrespect cultural heritages. A walk through any Halloween store will see costumes with such colloquial names as “Reservation Royalty”, “Shanghai Hottie”, and “Temptress Gypsy” – all trivializing the cultures in question, making costumes that give little respect to the traditional clothing they are attempting to imitate. And don’t even get me started on blackface, because I haven’t yet been made aware of a situation where it was even mildly appropriate.

Sexy First Lady Costume

Definition of tasteless — sexualizing the suit Jackie Kennedy wore on the day of her husband’s assassination .

Tragedy comes in many flavors, from personal to National. While I’m a big fan of laughing through the tears, I’m also quite sensitive to the pain of others. Making a costume that belittles someone’s grief is one of the easiest ways to ruin a Halloween celebration. It’s also a good way to cause yourself problems – just ask the woman who wore a Boston Marathon Bombing “costume” to a work party.

I suppose the point I really want to make is this: use common sense when choosing a Halloween costume. You can’t please all the people all of the time, but you can make a concerted effort to be considerate of your fellow human beings.