Fashionology 101: How to keep your Halloween costume classy

With Dayna Bloch

October 11, 2012

October brings with it pumpkins, candy corn, cool weather, and towards the end of the month, costumes begin showing up on campus. Scary, funny, serious, sassy; just about any type of outfit you can conjure up will be seen throughout the week of the 31st.  Whether you’re going trick-or-treating or out to a Halloween party, it can be a challenge when trying to decide what direction to go with this year’s get-up. Today it seems that a costume will either cover you up completely in an inflatable bubble or show everything you got in an outfit that seems to be missing a few yards of fabric.

With costumes labeled “Sassy Sailor” and “Pochahottie” it can be hard to find something that is attractive without being too showy.  For the more conservative, these over-exposed costumes can be toned down to leave more to the imagination.

One basic rule to keeping an outfit more on the classy side is to show off one thing and cover up the rest. If you choose to show off your chest, make sure it’s done in an appropriate way, and then cover up your legs. If it’s your stomach you want to show, the legs and chest should be hidden. Over-exposing too much skin can send the wrong message in any situation, especially Halloween.

Colored tights can be a life saver for any costume; they cover up the legs when a skirt has been made too short, not to mention they can keep you warm in the cool weather. Nude tights can be helpful in other situations, but not when trying to cover up skin.  They’re made to look invisible, so other than an attempt to keep warm, nude tights won’t be much help when trying to keep it conservative.  Because it’s Halloween there aren’t many rules to how an outfit should look. Whether the colors match or look ridiculous, costumes can look great with any shade of tights.

If you’re someone who works hard at the gym for the long, lean legs, or you just don’t want to be covered up, wearing spandex shorts under a short skirt can be just as effective as the tights. You want to make sure that nothing inappropriate is showing while you’re sitting down or on the dance floor; it can send a message of looking sloppy if your skirt is riding up a little too high with nothing underneath it. Spandex shorts are an easy trick to keeping yourself covered when dealing with a short hem.

For the costumes that come with low cut top, undershirts are the way to go. Turtle-necks aren’t necessary, but too much cleavage can be unattractive. Bombshell push-up bras aren’t needed if the outfit already has a plunging neckline. Camisoles can be adjusted to show just the right amount of skin without screaming for attention. There’s a fine line between classy and trashy, and when it comes to showing off the chest, a little definitely goes a long way.

Your accessories can easily tone down an outfit that may seem a little too scandalous. Tall leather boots with a super short skit may give off the wrong idea, even if it’s just for one Halloween night. Instead of the high-heeled boots, flats or little ankle booties can take an outfit from too showy to just right.

Makeup is another thing that is easily overdone on more occasions than just Halloween. Going a little more dramatic is completely acceptable but there is such a thing as too much, even for this holiday. Caking on the eyeliner, lipstick, and sparkles can quickly go from the perfect touch to border-line clown.  The “choose one” rule can be applied to showing off make-up as well as skin. Unless the costume requires a lot of over the top makeup, bold lipstick shouldn’t be paired with a bold eye shadow, and glitter goes a long way.

When it comes to showing off, whether for Halloween or just an ordinary day, it’s better to leave more to the imagination versus putting more on display for all to see. Exposing too much skin can send off the wrong message when going out. Everyone loves to dress up for Halloween but with titles like “Racy Red Riding Hood,” it can be hard to keep a costume on the classier side.  With little effort, a costume that was originally more on the scandalous side can be toned down to be attractive in the right way.

Questions or comments?
Email Dayna at


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