Sunday, 11 October 2015

Five Tips To Help You Nail Plus Size Halloween Costumes

Halloween-often the one time in the year you might get an invite to a fancy dress party and often the one time of the year otherwise confident plus size women start to feel a bit anxious about what to wear. 

The reason for this festive worry? Simples, the average fancy dress costume outlet doesn't cater to anything over a size 16 meaning it can feel like even the most straight forward outfit (witch, Bride of Frankenstein, zombie) feels off limits. I know in years gone by I have resorted to constantly turning up as a "Sexy cat" aka black leggings a vest and cat ears but like everything else with some confidence, imagination and the links to the few outlets who do cater to cosplay chubs you can literally dress up as anyone you want.
Here are my tips to help you make Plus size Halloween fancy dress up your bitch.

Tip#1 Think outside the Halloween box

I've started with this costume as it illustrates something I feel really strongly about-if you want to dress up as a character from a film who was originally represented by a slimmer person don't be put off. I love the film Legend especially when the character Lili is kidnapped by the Lord of Darkness so knew I wanted to recreate it. Sure its not your usual Halloween get up but that made it even more exciting.
 As a costume it was surprisingly easy. I brought a plus size vampire costume from ebay (this range already went to a size 22 and the dress had loads of stretch and a lace up bodice so would have fitted up to a size 26 easily) removed the more vampire aspects and made a stand up collar out of cardboard, black fabric and attached it to my costume with velcro. I created the pointed fringe by reshaping a clip in fringe and got the amazingly talented Diablo Jo to make the headdress. I'm aware that lots of people wouldn't know who this is but you can use the same dress to create a vampire, queen of the night or Morticia.

Tip #2 Use clothes you already have
If the traditional route of fancy dress lets you down consider creating a costume with a dress you have already. I wanted to dress up as a glamorous badass vampire like Gemma Atherton in Byzantium and the outfits I found in my size were just all a bit nylon and revealing (Elvira has a lot to answer for) so  I decided instead to use a red silk swing dress I had already from LindyBop,commissioned a necklace from bete Noire and used my hair and make up to really nail the whole "Queen of the damned" look.

This week I created a costume emulating the character of Nancy from the Craft using a skirt, top and knee socks. Sometimes you just need to use your imagination.

Tip # 3 Let your make up do the talking

Want to be a zombie, a demon or a monster let your make up be the star of the show. I created a really easy Zombie make up (Read my tutorial here) and then used the styling of the zombies you see in The walking dead and simply dusted a maxi dress and jacket with flour. A plastic brain prop and I was ready to go.

Tip # 4 Ignore The Gender

Halloween costumes as with everything else seem to follow strict gender lines, so all men must be Freddy Kruger and all women must be a witch. Tip this on its head and you suddenly have access to costumes which run in much bigger sizes. Proof in point is that I badly wanted to dress up as Judge Dredd, this costume didn't actually exist anyway so I needed to find the components to make it. I brought a male cop vest costume which I sprayed yellow to make my body armour (and which because it was made for a man was big enough to fit my chest)  and brought a plus size catsuit which on its own was a bit terrifying but with the body armour and belts I added looked amazing.

Tip#5 Make friends with your local fancy dress store
Most local fancy dress shops are being totally squeezed by people buying costumes from supermarkets and online. If you give your local store a little notice they will often hunt down outfits in your size, go through the catalogues with you and advise which outfits run big and stretchy. My local fancy dress shop is Party Paraphernalia and they absolute rock. They have sourced me Batgirl, Weeping Angels, Wonder Woman and so much more. Just because they dont stock the XL+ sizes doesn't mean they cant get them in for you.Similarly find a dressmaker who digs cosplay. My Poison Ivy costume was made to my measurements by SewStellar for a lot less than importing a costume from the states.

Last years weeping Angel from Doctor Who costume

So there you have it, my recipe for Plus size Halloween costume success. A cunning combination of creativity, rule breaking and if possible shopping local. Whatever you dress up as this year never let your size dictate what you wear, the only limitation should be your imagination.

A final word about Sugarskull make up
So long term readers of my blog will know I'm obsessed with Frida Karlo, Mexican folk art and all things day of the dead and a few years ago my Halloween costume was a Frida/Sugarskull complete with monkey on my shoulder.
However in recent times I have seen more and more disquiet voiced by people I consider very sensible about the use of this make up as it is considered by many to be culturally appropriation and disrespectful to those who celebrate Dia de los Muertos as  a sacred tradition and holiday.
I have read so many articles about this and quite honestly was still confused so sought the counsel of a fellow body positive wise woman Pesky Chloe McGenn who was one of the first people to openly discuss this on her facebook page. Amongst lots of very enlightening things her perspective was  that if you are concerned something you  do will upset or offend, even if your intentions (as mine were) are respectful and creative then perhaps reconsider. She also suggested  I should use this image to encourage people considering doing day of the dead make up to familarise themselves with the arguments.So I wont be doing a new Sugarskull make up this year but my obsession and love for this art and culture burns just as bright.
Make up created with a love for a culture but I now realise  open to a different interpretation


Big News at  Nicky Rockets  our new Halloween Tee is now available to order and we have new hats and Curvy as Hell and Zombie pants!

Only £15,designed and made in the UK my tee shirts are  a celebration of the power of the curvy woman.Available in sizes small-5XL in a range of cuts and styles Shop here

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