Oh Halloween! How I love you! Everything about it pretty much my favorite. I love horror, costumes, candy, crafting and of course, not being myself. That is pretty much my favorite part. This year I really wanted to bring it since I was having a Halloween party, and oh my friends, it has been brought.
I decided to be Marie Antionette for Halloween. Every year I see about 1,000 Marie Antionette costumes that seem to cost a lot and look like crap. Usually they are about half a costume with a crazy short skirt, which gets points for sexiness but just kind of looks like you are wearing half a dress. I’m all for sexiness and weirdness if it’s done right, but mostly it just looks cheap.
I scoured the internet tirelessly and did a little bit research about Marie Antionette and came up with what you see here. It was super fun but also took a ton of work, research, a couple of makeup tutorials and a bunch of sewing. Was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY!
My initial goal was to go with the cheapest version of the best thing I could find, and just kind of make repairs, which worked pretty well, but oh man did I make repairs.
I got my dress from Victorian Choice. It’s a historical/reenactment clothing store out of Washington state. It might have been a bit pricy for a Halloween costume, but it was roughly as expensive as a ‘premium’ halloween costume from a regular Halloween costume store and looked much better.
Usually, reenactment costumes go for hundreds of dollars (I even saw some Marie Antionette dresses that were in the thousands,) but this stuff stays roughly in the $100-$150 range, which is much more doable. That being said there were a few drawbacks, mainly being that it didn’t fit that well. The fabric itself was good quality, but you really need someone’s specific measurements to get everything to fit correctly.
I went with a medium dress, but probably should have gotten a small. I ended up moving the buttons over and putting a large dart in the back to make the top smaller. I also moved the bow because it seemed like it was up too high and took out the lace on the neckline. Sure, the lace could have stayed, but this is Halloween and I’ll be damned if I don’t show at least a little bit of skin. I wanted to look like Marie Antoinette, not a nun dressed as Marie Antoinette. I also added the cameo pin to the bow because I had it lying around and cameos were a thing back then.
Now, onto the question I was getting all night. How do you make your dress stay up? The answer? These guys!
They are called panniers and were worn underneath those famous giant Marie Antionette ball gowns. These are kind of a half assed version of the real thing that I bought off of eBay. I bought it off of someone who made historical reenactment costumes. They came late and when I got them they smelled like cigarettes. The fabric of my dress was pretty heavy so they didn’t really hold up the dress that well so I had to stuff them with old throw pillows.
In addition to the panniers, I actually wore an old halloween costume with a hoop skirt underneath my dress. The dress itself is deigned to be worn with a floor length hoop skirt, and its super long, so you can’t get away without wearing one. In retrospect, I should have just gone with a full hoop skirt instead of panniers, but I was going for accuracy.
It’s easy to find hoop skirts online pretty cheaply (look at eBay or Amazon) BUT they all come factory direct from China, so you need AT LEAST a month shipping time. You’ve been warned.
During the French Revolution the upper class loved to powered the crap out of everything, which is why their faces always look so white. For my makeup I bought the lightest foundation I could find and dabbed some white face paint on top of it. I wanted to look pale but not cartoonish. I didn’t do much with my eyes except use a brown eyeliner and a light pink eyeshadow. Then I put on a crapload of creamy blush (Milk Makeup Lip & Cheek in Perk) on and did bright pink lips.
I had the prosthetic scar from an old costume, and I sewed the blue ribbon into it so it looks like my head was stitched back on. I also dabbed it with some fake blood.
There are tons of great makeup tutorials out there for historical and headless person makeup. Here’s one that I found most helpful. It goes through a bunch of makeup history, so it’s a pretty interesting watch.
Now, onto one of my favorite things: WIGS! Again I scoured the internet in attempt to find the perfect wig. Halloween wigs you get in a costume store aren’t usually great quality. Cosplay wigs and wigs from wig stores are usually your best bet and aren’t that much more expensive. I got this baby from Wilshire Wigs in California.
Again, wigs are one of those things that can get incredibly expensive (I saw a few Marie Antionette wigs that cost around $400,) so I bought a mid-priced wig and decorated it myself. The damn thing was huge but the front hair curls were so close together you could barely see my face. I had to cut the thing up and sew it back together to make it fit, but it did work pretty well.
During the French Revolution, hair styles went nothing short of fucking insane. The bigger and taller your hair was the better and it was decorated with all manor of craziness. From birds and butterflies, to bride and groom ornaments, political figures and model ships, people would stick damn near everything in their hair.
I went the more traditional route and used a bunch of floral stuff, bird Christmas ornaments, hair jewels, pearls and feathers for my wig. I wanted to do more with it but I ran out of time. Fear not! I plan on reusing and redecorating the wig for next year’s Mermaid Parade, (in which I will be Mermaid-Antionette!), so you’ll see it again.
And there you have it! My costume from start to finish. I had a lot of fun putting it together but there was really a time crunch at the end. There’s some things I would have done differently but over all, I really liked the way it turned out. The party was great (right up until that brownie kicked in) and everyone had a great time (except everyone who ate the brownies.)
A word to the wise though, getting out of this kind of costume is damn near impossible when you’re fucked up.