Halloween is fast approaching, and while there are those who think the whole costume thing is for kids, chances are you have that one friend who really loves the season and will put together some kind of spooktacular with apple bobbing. If you want to put a little more effort into the holiday than just some vampire teeth, we have a few menswear-focused costumes you can probably cobble together from clothes already in your wardrobe (or at least with a quick run to your preferred department/ thrift store). Putting together an easy costume allows you to be appropriately festive without having to rely on some overpriced costume kit. It may even free you up to combine some elements you normally wouldn’t, allowing for some stylistic experimentation.
If you’ve been keeping up with fashion journalism, you’ve probably encountered the new trend of the “Scumbro.” Yes, fashion isn’t the game of your Beckhams or Pharells anymore, the new style icons are Jonah Hill, Justin Bieber, and Pete Davidson. The look is something of athleisure meets Supreme meets neon lunacy, all with a high fashion sheen. It’s an interesting look to witness and read about as fashion is deep within its Spencer’s Gifts phase, and while the items you see from Balenciaga are prohibitively expensive, you can make the look on the more budgeted end. Try some Patagonia shorts, a tie-dye or graphic tee, and some high socks and sandals or a chunky sneaker. Top it off with a pencil mustache and maybe a colorful wig to resemble a bleachy dye job and you got it.
A Tan France Makeover
The new Queer Eye is an uplifting series of both outward and inward makeovers, and those makeovers will involve MANY colorful shirts. Yes, Tan France, the resident style expert, has the task of turning men who never thought much about clothes into, well, people who think about clothes a lot, all with the cameras rolling. Tan often opts for colorful button-ups often unbuttoned quite low, “smart” denim or chinos, and some fancier sneakers, which it’s pretty safe to say are common enough in most menswear enthusiast’s closets. Styling your hair in a pompadour can be tough, and it will require time and hairspray, but it is the sort of hairstyle that you might want to indulge in at least once in your life (kind of like a mohawk). Check YouTube for pompadour tutorials. If you wear this costume, you are also free to critique everyone’s outfit the rest of the night. Oh, right, and don’t forget the French Tuck.
With the recent documentary that makes everyone weepy to the currently in-production Tom Hanks film, public awareness of Mister Rogers has been at an all time high. Capitalize on it and everyone’s warm feelings by dressing up as the public television saint. Mister Rogers’ outfits always prized comfort and warmth, so even when he was wearing a tie he still felt relaxed and at home. Wear your favorite bright cardigan, OCBD, some slacks, and a pair of canvas sneakers. Fred himself preferred Keds. If you can get some sort of a hand puppet, all the better. Whether or not you can keep up the positive attitude and liking everyone just the way they are is up to you.
Sailor Gene Kelly (or generic WWII sailor if you can’t dance)
The whole “sailors coming ashore to get laid” was a surprisingly popular subject for movie musicals back in the day, and Gene Kelly was likely in them, often with Sinatra. I find Gene Kelly to be an underrated style icon, and this is probably his most iconic look outside of being soaked in rain. On The Town or Anchors Aweigh are great films and great examples of the costume — and the midcentury sailor look is easy to put together with a combination of Riviera-appropriate francophone clothing. Wider leg trousers have been gradually replacing slim fits lately, so wear a pair of those in a light hue. Doubtful you have white trousers on hand, so beige is totally cool. Add a Breton or an otherwise striped shirt, jauntily tie a bandana around your neck, and strap on your dancing shoes. If you want an even more francophone look, you can toss on one of those berets with the pompom.
1960s NASA Mission Control
Let it not be said I don’t practice what I preach, because that picture is me a couple Halloweens ago. Photos of NASA employees in the ’60s showed a pretty specific uniform, something of a more polished engineer’s outfit. All it takes is a white short sleeve button-up shirt, some dark slacks, reading glasses, and a skinny tie, preferably with tie clip. I went a bit further and fashioned myself a faux NASA ID to pin to my chest, which was pretty easy to slap together with Googling and basic Photoshop. I’ll admit that the white button up isn’t really a menswear necessity and is often relegated to the bleaker end of business casual, but your local thrift store or Target is loaded with them and they never run too high a price.