Let’s go to the hop! Not only is a ’50s poodle skirt girl one of the easiest costumes to thrift, it’s also one that you could throw together at the last minute with very little elbow “grease” (geddit?).
- Plaid, pleated wool skirt: $4.99
- Brooks Brothers pink sweater: $5.99
- Socks: We’re pretty sure you have some to spare.
- Pink flats: Author’s own, though any low-top sneakers are just as ideal
- Neckerchief: Scrap fabric
- Poodle appliqué: Pin a computer printout to your skirt
Total cost: $10.98; compare that to a $35.99 version from your local big box.
This flagrantly yellow plaid blazer, discovered at Unique Thrift Shop in Queens, was just begging to be turned into a Clueless costume. Okay, so Cher’s Caucasian and her cellphone wasn’t as boxy. As Ms. Horowitz would say (fingers forming the letter W), “Whatever.”
- Plaid blazer: $5.99
- White tank top: Author’s own
- Black skirt: Author’s own
- ’90s cellphone: Wrap a pasta box with gray paper and stick in a black pen
- Feather pen: Embellish a regular pen with gauzy scrap fabric
- White socks: Everyone has them
- Ladylike heels: Author’s own
- Question mark: Use a piece of wire to attach construction paper to a headband
- Confused expression: Optional (as if!)
Total cost: $5.99
Dressing up as a pirate continues to be one of the most popular options, but it’s also arrrrrrguably one of the easiest to do-it-yourself. If gold dubloons don’t shiver your timbers, why not pillage MP3s, instead? Just opt for a white shirt that’s more Prince than Penzance and hair that’s a bit more Boy George than George Booth (a honest-to-God pirate, if you’re not on top of your maritime history).
- Ruffly white shirt: $5.99
- Black leggings: You probably own a pair
- Brown belt: Ditto
- Riding boots: Ditto
- Hoop earring: If you don’t already have one, borrow or thrift it for pennies
- Hair sash: Author’s own from a skirt
- iPod: Optional
- Musical note, cut from construction paper: Optional
Total cost: $5.99; compare that a $56.99 version from some “costume depot” website.
THis wonderfully tacky secondhand shirt, complete with uneven shoulder pads, inspired a punny getup that Kanye West would surely approve of.
- Gold shirt: $3.99
- Black leggings: Author’s own
- Peeptoe booties: On loan from Naya
- Shovel: A cheese grater and a cardboard triangle, wrapped with foil
- Designer bag: Author’s own, but if you can get your mitts on a “baby Louis Vuitton” like the one from the song, all the better
- Jewelry: Anything gaudy and gold from your jewelry box will do nicely
- Sunglasses: Cut out a yellow dollar sign for one eye and a red heart for the other and tape them on
- “No Prenup” sign: Drive the point home with this bonus clue.
Total cost: $3.99
BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S
Unleash your inner Holly Golightly with pieces you probably already have in your closet. Throw on some fake grub while whistling “Moon River” if you really want to hammer your message.
- Classy black dress: $10 (or free if you already have this closet staple)
- “Breakfast” platter: Construction paper, cunningly fashioned into “eggs” and “bacon”
- Black pumps: You probably own a pair, but try your local Goodwill if you don’t.
- Cigarette and holder: Rolled up construction paper or two straws
- Fancy jewelry: Layer on your bijoux or visit Pippin for some excellent vintage finds
- Black sunglasses: Don’t already own them? Snag a preloved pair at I-ELLA
- Hair: Follow this video tutorial to replicate Audrey Hepburn’s famous twist
Total cost: $10
Doll up as Chun-Li from Street Fighter (the game, not the disastrous 2009 movie), a surprisingly recognizable costume that’s both girly and badass. Even better, round up a posse of pals and get a Ryu, a Ken, an E. Honda, a Cammy, and a Baraka!
- Cheongsam: Author’s own, although secondhand ones are plentiful on eBay, including one starting at 99 cents
- Bun-holders: A pair of napkins and white ribbons from a box of chocolates
- Leggings: You own a pair, right?
- Boots: Ditto
- Sash: Cut an old white T-shirt into a long strip and tie it around your waist
- Fingerless gloves (technically not part of the costume, but they pack some extra oomph and they’re easy to make): Cut the toes off a pair of old black socks and trim to the desired length
Total cost: Free or approximately $15 if you’re investing in a dress.
Ironically poke fun consumerism (and yourself, if you’re a bougie brand-name lover like yours turly) by donning a costume you don’t need to purchase anything to make.
- Clothing: Pile on whatever brand-name items you own in a haphazard fashion like you’re Joey from that episode of Friends, or get some sweet finds at unbeatable prices at Housing Works, which works to end homelessness
- Shopping bags: Dig into your stash or use a marker to write “Chanel” and “Prada” on some blank totes
- Snooty look: Optional
Total cost: Free or whatever your secondhand designer wares end up costing you (you can wear them all year round!)
The less-celebrated (and partially reformed?) Prince of Thieves is a crowd-pleaser you can scrounge up from stuff you already have lying around, which is pretty much how Lori made hers.
- Striped shirt: Lori’s own
- Black hat: Lori picked up a witch’s hat for a buck at her local Salvation Army, cut the top off and sewed it, then topped it off with a yellow ribbon
- Hamburger tie: Construction paper
- Cape: Repurposed black shower curtain
- Mask: Cut from an old T-shirt
- Running into McDonald’s late at night on Halloween and harassing burger eaters by saying “Robble Robble”: Optional
Total cost: $1
Bring one of pop art’s most famous paintings to life by channeling Roy Lichtenstein’s Drowning Girl this All Hallow’s Eve. (Brad not included, or desired.)
- Black dress: $5
- Blue shawl: Lori dyed half a yard of white fabric ($1) with blue Rit Dye ($1.79)
- Supplies for speech-bubble headband: $2
- Blue wig: Borrowed from a friend
Total cost: $9.79
Editor’s note: For more of Yuka’s DIY fashion tips and tricks, visit her website at Clossette.com