Feline frocks and cat costumes are typical Halloween wares for a reason. The Halloween cat costume is classic, the look is easily recognizable, and for those who desire a sultry, charismatic ensemble, one can turn a cat costume into a seductive outfit in a snap. However, the costume is rounding its centennial anniversary (seriously, that's how long people have been trick-or-treating), and if you ask me, needs a bit of a renaissance. After all, anyone can throw on a pair of plush ears and a tail and sashay down the street at the Village Halloween Parade as a feline. But how does one go about revamping a costume that has been such a staple of the holiday for decades upon decades?
The minute details are what will give your classic cat costume a modern twist. That downy headband with cat ears and stapled-on tail are a good place to start making your cutbacks, and if you find yourself reaching for a bodysuit covered in faux fur, it's time to step away from the costume store and find a more avant-garde inspiration for your costume. Luckily, I'm here to help. Here are seven ideas to take your cat costume from basic to beautiful.
1. SNAP UP A DESIGNER CAT EAR HEADBAND
What could be more intriguing on a simple feline getup than a pair of tricked-out designer cat ears? Maison Michel makes a show-stopping version in black lace, but a pair with a touch of sparkle or shine will have the same standout effect.
2. BEDAZZLE YOUR CAT EYE
If you recall the highlights of Spring 2013 Fashion Week, Dior's bedazzled eye makeup was an instant media sensation. Though makeup artist Pat McGrath's now-legendary look was dubbed "techno butterfly" by the artist herself, the effect could easily be called an embellished cat eye. According to Style.com, McGrath created the look by extending a thick wash of vibrant cream eyeshadow just beyond the outer corner of the eye, and applying a smattering of Swarovski crystals to top it off. You can be certain that if you choose to adopt a feline look for Halloween, you'll be the only cat in the room with crystal-embellished eyes.
3. ADD A PAIR OF CAT-INSPIRED CONTACT LENSES
If you're intent on taking the average cat costume to new heights, throw in a pair of cat eye contact lenses. Seen on Heidi Klum and Julia Restoin-Roitfeld, a pair of yellow contact lenses with narrow pupils will add a pop of unexpected interest to your costume. Prepare to transfix anyone who locks eyes with you.
4. TRY A DARK KNIGHT RISES CATWOMAN ANGLE
If the notion of a bland feline getup bores you to tears, channel Anne Hathaway's couture-centric rendition of Catwoman from The Dark Knight Rises. Posing as a guest at a philanthropic gala, Hathaway's character retains her signature ears, but adds a lace masquerade mask, a glossy bun, and a curve-hugging sheath dress. In the midst of her daily thievery, she slips on a skintight bodysuit complete with a utility belt and her signature swipe of red lipstick. Channel one of Hathaway's ensembles in the film, and you'll be left with an adoring fan base of your own.
5. HAVE A FIELD DAY WITH FACE PAINT AND COSMETICS
On a daily basis, you may shy away from a full face of brazenly applied makeup; after all, we do live in an era of the #IWokeUpLikeThis selfie and the no-makeup makeup look. But on Halloween, all rules are moot. If you adore your makeup, now is the time to break out your best volumizing mascara and oil-based paints to create a singularly unforgettable visage. Use your contouring powder to carve out a cat-like bone structure, paint on feathery whiskers with your eyeliner, and create the perfect pink nose with a bit of blush. You have our blessing to create the most outlandish cat look your imagination can muster, basic cosmetics be damned. Here's one cat makeup tutorial to get you started.
6. BECOME A COLORFUL FELINE
Who says a cat costume has to be black and white? Try a Cheshire Cat-inspired look and go with colorful cosmetics and a striped costume. Simply add a wide, enigmatic smile, and you're ready for a night down the rabbit hole.
7. MATCH YOURSELF TO YOUR PET
For the most feline-obsessed (or perhaps simply those who enjoy injecting a bit of comedy into Halloween), matching one's own favorite Grumpy Cat is a fresh and novel way to go about the cat costume. If your feline friend is a striped tabby, choose an orange and white striped costume. For those who own an enigmatic black cat, a dark bodysuit will do the trick. Bonus points for anyone who takes a selfie with their pet.
Images: torimbc, Lauren Anderson, Bryan Crump/Flickr; Maison Michel Lace Heidi Headband with Cat Ears, $505, Colourvue Cat Eye Color Contact Lens, $37.90, stylebop.com; colorvuelenses.com; Higgins Creek Lace Masquerade Mask, $12.50, etsy.com; Getty Images (2)