Shopping as a plus size woman can be difficult on a good day. Add on the stress of wanting to find a very specific look — let's say for a plus size Halloween costume — and it can be a real challenge. From my experiences shopping at pop-up Halloween costume stores with friends in years past, it's often easier to find a fat suit than an actual Halloween costume for a fat person.
For people who want a pre-made, put together look, retailers like Torrid and Hips & Curves are making ready to wear plus size Halloween costumes that take the stress out of putting something together piece by piece on your own. As a designer myself, however, I prefer the more stressful DIY method for my costumes. More often than not, I don't even have to set foot into a costume store to put them together.
There are a few benefits to the DIY costume method. The first being that shopping at everyday stores means you can buy pieces that you are more likely to integrate into your wardrobe again. It also gives you an excuse to indulge in an item that you've long wanted, but didn't have a real excuse to buy (like a rainbow faux fur coat). Here are just a few ideas for how to use plus size items from your favorite stores to make a badass Halloween costume.
1. Fat Twiggy
Shift Dress With Caged Sleeve, $53, ASOS
Sabine Suede Platform, $128, Nasty Gal
Vintage '90s Large Sunflower Statement Earrings, $15, Etsy
Fashion is cyclical, so choosing a decade-inspired costume based on current trends is a really easy way to avoid the costume store. I love the idea of adopting a traditional representation of beauty standards and making the look plus size, so Twiggy was an obvious choice when I thought of doing something mod. High collar shift dresses are mod staples and paired with platforms and big statement earrings, all you need to complete the look is fake eyelashes. Why not purchase some authentic vintage ones?
Vintage 1960s Fake Mod Lashes, $25, Etsy
Gracie Skelton Bodycon Dress, $32, Boohoo
Skeleton Hand Chain, $12, Torrid
Funtasma X-Ray, $32, Shoes
Skeleton themed dresses, tights, jewelry, and shoes are all pieces you can re-wear in everyday life. Paired together with some skeleton makeup, however, you've got yourself a costume.
3. Joan Holloway
Dominique Plus Size Dress, $118, igigi
Pen Necklace 1960s Inspired, $21, Etsy
Women's Jane Buckle Pump, $25, Payless
Since 2007, Mad Men costume designer Jane Bryant has been killing it when it comes to '60s fashion inspiration across the decade. Now that the show has wrapped up its final season, it's probably your last chance to go as the series' curvy star Joan Holloway, played by Christina Hendricks. When I saw this wrap dress from IGIGI, it screamed Joan to me.
4. Sexy Cat
Lace Ears, $13, Hips and Curves
Carmella Mesh Bodysuit, $58, Monifc
Luella Over-the-Knee Boot, $150, Eloquii
I totally believe in dressing sexy whenever you want, as much as you want. Considering slut shaming is still very much a reality, though, the old Mean Girls adage that "Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it," might still ring true in some circles. Either way, I am happy to find any excuse to get these sexy pieces in my wardrobe. Even the lace ears would make a cute headband in the future.
5. Plus Size Spice Girl
Nicole, $140, Courtney Noelle
Cyber Barbie Faux Fur Coat, $260, Isolated-Heroes
"British Invasion" UK Flag Fashion Box Clutch, $27, Reb Dolls
If there's one decade trend that's taking over fashion right now, it's the '90s. As soon as I saw this halter dress from indie designer Courtney Noelle, I immediately thought of the Spice Girls. Since each Spice Girl had her own unique style, there are so many ways you (and maybe four of your closest friends) can go to bring '90s girl power back to life.
Urban Mermaid Tee, $27, Adorkable Apparel
Mermaid Leggings, $49, Chubby Cartwheels
Skinnydip Mermaid Shell Crossbody Bag, $38, ASOS
Mermaids are right at the top of the list with pizza in terms of pop culture items that make for some rad gear, so wearing these items year round is a really easy sell. The best part is that both the leggings and the tee are available up to a size 5X. Score!
7. Cookie Lyon
Animal Print Fedora, $50, Seventh Avenue
Plus Ruched Sheath Dress, $134, Lord and Taylor
Leopard Diamond Crossbody Shoulder Bag, $22, Amazon
There's a lot of fun to Cookie Lyon's wardrobe on Empire. She doesn't shy away from a print, for one. In fact, she isn't afraid to wear prints head to toe. Empire's costume designer Rita McGhee described Cookie's style as "queen of the jungle" to Footwear News, and that means a lot of fabulously colored fur and animal print everything.
In a culture that hasn't yet fully embraced plus size folks when it comes to Halloween-wear, you can definitely count on the brands that cater to fuller-figured babes all year long to help you sort you out.
Want more Halloween inspiration? Check out the video below, and be sure to subscribe to Bustle’s YouTube page for more excitement!
Images: AMC; Courtesy Brands