Nothing Short of Chic: Chic Hallowe'en Costumes At No (Extra) Charge


Chic Hallowe'en Costumes At No (Extra) Charge

Autumn Essentials for the Chic | Nothing Short Of Chic

Don't pay a cent (more) - just use what you have.

It's Hallowe'en season, and depending on your lifestyle, that could mean any number of things - from chic get-togethers to trick-or-treating with your sister's children (or, in my case, a Hallowe'en concert featuring a costume parade) - but the one common thread between these is, you guessed it, a costume. Whether you like to go all-out or are fine just wearing a crazy hat and some lipstick and calling it a night, dressing up is fun and exciting. And expensive. It's always bugged me that we buy a special costume - even a $10 one - for this one night of the year and then donate or toss it after the fact. So, I put together this idea list for costumes that don't require purchasing anything - and each costume suggestion is customizable based on the contents of your specific, unique wardrobe.


Dress Up As: Your Favorite Style Icon

Audrey Hepburn-Inspired Hallowe'en Costume | Nothing Short Of Chic

This is such an easy costume, because if you absolutely love somebody's style (anyone from Jackie O to Tori Amos) you probably have quite a number of similar pieces as they do. In my case, it's Audrey Hepburn, so a simple 1/2-sleeve striped top with close-fitting black pants, ballet flats, and cat-eye sunglasses plus a sleek updo channeled her with minimum effort on my part. If you don't know your icon's style very well, browsing Getty Images will surely help.

Dress Up As: Bird/Cat/Raccoon/Other Furry Thing

Fur, Feathers, and Lace for a Wholly Unique Hallowe'en Costume | Nothing Short Of Chic

If you (or your mother/grandmother/aunt/sister) has any fur (faux or otherwise) in their wardrobe, it's time to pull it all out. Between the fuzzy textile and some artful makeup, it's easy to emulate your favorite furry/feathery creature in the most fashion-forward way. If you choose to be a bird, as I did, grab a feather boa and raid every wardrobe in sight for any and all textures you can find, in the color of your choosing (fur/lace/fishnets/chiffon/wool/etc).

Dress Up As: Children's Book Character

Chic & Easy Cat in the Hat Hallowe'en Costume | Nothing Short Of Chic

Here I'm clearly dressed up as the Cat in the Hat from Dr Seuss' famous rhyme book, but you could be Alice in Wonderland, Pippi Longstocking, or anyone else of your choosing. Simply pull out all of your non-typical hosiery - it's the base for any good costume in this vein. My mother, for example, has a thing for stripes, and though I've never seen her wear these socks, they were the inspiration for the cat suit (haha!). If you have crazy-colored tights, don some pigtails and be Pippi! If you have a pinafore and long white socks, be Dorothy! Seriously: it's time to re-evaluate your sock drawer.

Dress Up As: Your Favorite Fashion Blogger

Dress up as a Fashion Blogger for a Satirical Hallowe'en Costume | Nothing Short Of Chic

You can always look to your favorite (or least favorite, if you're going for satirical) fashion blogger for inspiration, in a non-intended way. Depending on your blogger of choice, wear their signature outfit, carry a DSLR, and pause for an annoyingly long time to take pictures of random things (if you're at a dinner party, be sure to hold it up so you can "capture the moment!"). Yes, I'm poking fun at myself, but I'm not your typical blogger. Wear a printed jumpsuit and stiletto mules if your blogger is West Coast; wear black and white (the fanciest, most "fashion forward" you can manage: bonus points for designer) and super-high heels for East Coast or Australian; and wear good-fitting jeans, a blouse or striped shirt, low-heeled pumps, and a red lip for a European blogger. Done.

Dress Up As: Secret Agent

Mysteriously stylish secret agent/spy Hallowe'en costume | Nothing Short Of Chic

Like all the other costumes, you have to adapt this one to your specific wardrobe. I know that most people don't have pleather trench coats - wear a normal trench if that's what you have. Choose classic pieces in dark colors: A-line midis, trousers, and sleeveless turtlenecks in black, greys, and shades of navy (if you choose a skirt, make sure to wear dark opaque stockings!). Add a hat, leather gloves, and your darkest glasses (and a briefcase if you choose) and you're good to go.

Dress Up As: Chic-ified Witch/Ghost/Werewolf 


Chic, modern, cheap, and easy witch Hallowe'en costume | Nothing Short Of Chic

Of course, if a more traditional "scary" costume is more your thing, there are plenty of ways to be creepy and chic without buying anything extra. Here I'm dressed as a witch (no hat necessary!) with my typical LBD and another pair of my mother's striped stockings, but with a furry brown coat (and Kate Bosworth's mules!) or a flowy white dress and some 18th-century makeup, you could just as easily be a werewolf or ghost with pieces left over from summer.

Dress Up As: No-Costume-Needed Hallowe'eny

Orange and black outfit inspiration for the no-costume-costume look | Nothing Short Of Chic
Photography by Annika Cleland-Hura

Or you could simply eschew a costume in favor of your chicest black-and-orange outfit. Pull out all the stops: the spiked belt you never wear; the buckled spike-heeled leather ankle boots; the skull-printed scarf; the cut-out skeleton-backed t-shirt; the pumpkin-colored sweater you've always loved but never known how to wear. I literally pulled out every orange piece in my closet (I would actually really love a pumpkin sweater) and added black where necessary. It's a great way to give a nod to the holiday without dressing up, per se (unless you're a huge fan of both OITNB and puns). Also, you'll be the most put-together, hands down.

I hope you find some ideas in this post - if your costume is inspired by this guide, feel free to tag me (@nothingshortofchic) on Facebook or Instagram or @nikiclelandhura on Twitter so I can see – I might even repost.

If you really like a specific costume, I'll be doing more detailed "get the look" posts for most of these over the next few days, so look out for an outfit-of-the-day-type breakdown for Audrey, the Bird, the Cat, the Secret Agent, the Witch, and the Orange & Black.

Happy early Hallowe'en/Day of the Dead/end of October!

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