Live Well, Dress Well: Last-Minute Costume Ideas

Halloween is tomorrow, and you have no plans . . . or you didn’t until two minutes ago. Now the cute guy from General Psychology class has asked you to go trick-or-treating with him and his friends, and you have nothing to wear. Not to mention that you have no money.

Fear not! You would be amazed at what can be done with the items you already have in your closet. Also, a great thing about costuming in college is that your roommates and people in your dorm will mostly likely be able to fill in any gaps in your outfit. Please note that this list includes costume ideas for both ladies and gents.

Parisian Lady (Girl)
I know a lot of girls like to still look somewhat attractive on Halloween. This is a very chic and flattering costume option for the procrastinating fashionista. It is also one of the easiest since items such as red flats, black jeans, red scarves, and striped shirts are very standard wardrobe items. The male equivalent of this could be a mime if red suspenders were substituted for the scarf and lipstick.

Bubble Gum Stuck to a Shoe (Guy or Girl, well, if he likes pink)
One of my favorite costume ideas ever. I would do this even if I had time to plan a more involved costume. It’s as simple as this–wear all pink, even gloves and shoes if you can. Then attach a shoe to an old headband and wear it on your head. Boy, are you stuck to that shoe!

Static Cling (Guy or Girl)
So cheesy, but so good. I prefer the variation of this costume that involves wearing all gray and then safety-pinning various clothing items and dryer sheets to your outfit. Don’t forget to tease your hair and hairspray it sticking straight up!

Made in the Eighties (Girl)
Teasing your hair could be helpful for this cotume idea, too, but a side-pony will suffice nicely. Pair a super baggy sweatshirt (waaaay oversized so that it covers your butt, if you can) with super skiny jeans or tights. Most any pair of brightly colored canvas sneakers will do nicely as far as footwear is concerned, but these “wedgies” were a total trend in the eighties. Add some oversized “plasticy” jewelry and, of course, a pair of legwarmers to complete the ensemble. If you do not own any, legwarmers can be made by cutting the sleeves off of a baggy sweater.

Made in the Eighties (Guy)
The baggy sweatshirt idea will still work for you, Mr. 1985 Fashionista (or fashionisto?). One with a school name or logo would be ideal. Add some ill-fitting acid-wash jeans and Air Jordans for a few more eighties references. Spiking your hair a little and adding a bandana around your head can be a nice touch, too.

Nifty Fifties (Guy)
A very shmexy costume for dudes. White T-shirt, cuffed jeans, leather jacket, and simple dress shoes are all it takes for a real show-stopper of a costume. Don’t forget to put some serious grease on that hair of yours!

Rancher (Guy or Girl)
It sounds so much more legit that ‘cowboy” or “cowgirl,” right? Besides, if you’re a rancher, people won’t expect you to have a hat, necessarily. This is obviously also a very easy costuming option. Combine a plaid shirt, jeans, and any type of western-style boot for a cute and simple Halloween look. Ladies, braiding your hair would be great for this look, as well.

Happy Halloweening!

‘If I Were Small,’ A Poem About Body Image Issues

If I were small (which I’m not, at all)
I’d fit in smaller things.
I’d wear tighter hats on my hugest of heads–
On my fingers, snugger rings.
‘Cause they wouldn’t be snug.
I’d be cute as a bug,
And they’d fit me super well–
No bulging clues
From size one and twos.
I’m big–my biggest tell.

I’d be fancy and fairy-sized,
Fit as can be,
And the whole world would linger
In “aw” of me,
If I wasn’t so tall (which I am, above all)
And broad,
And big as can be.

I feel a bit weird that this is the first self-written poem I have posted on Nine to Phive because it doesn’t give a very good representation of me. It’s a poem–a fictional work of literature only vaguely reflecting my actually sentiments. Rest assured that I have never even dreamed of “bulging” out of a size one or two.

On that note, I want to be honest and say that I have had occasional misgivings about my size. What I’ve done in the above poem is oversimplify the multi-faceted feelings girls like myself often have towards their bodies. I am typically a very confident person (perhaps too much . . . humility is where it’s at, I hear), and this carries over into my body image and my positive impression of how God has created me. Of course, being human, I sometimes have doubts about being “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Wouldn’t I be more wonderful if I was a more “normal” height? Or a size smaller? Or had a narrower waist? I sometimes muse.

I can realistically link my meager body image issues to two major events in my life.

  1. I got married.
  2. I started blogging.

Number 1 was a problem because I had never been trying to please anyone before. It is probably apparent, but I rarely concern myself with what others think of me. All of a sudden, I was married to the person I cared about more than anything and cared about making him happy. I cared what he thought of me, and his opinion of my physical appearance mattered. At 5’10” to his 6’0”, I began to feel that I was too tall and would make him feel self-conscious. I stopped wearing heels for awhile in an attempt to seem more petite, which I will never be. This is how I first began to become a little dissatisfied with my body.

Photo credit: Trang Huyen of Behind the Seams, Sydney Poulton of The Daybook,
and Rumi Neely of Fashiontoast

Number 2 was a problem because I had never before had reason to compare myself to anyone else. If others were shorter and thinner than me, I would say, “Who cares? I’m popular, I do well in school, I have a great boyfriend (now husband), and my friends and family love me the way I am.” Now that I am foraying into the world of fashion blogging, however, it’s easier to see the obvious trends. It’s no secret that my blog is not enjoying any kind of smashing success compared to some of the leading bloggers of the day.

Who’s to say that my inhibited success as a blogger isn’t due to my proportions being different from those of members of the popular culture?

I have worn some of the exact same styles as the adorable bloggers pictured above (purple tights and everything,) and have often come to the conclusion, “Well, I guess clothes just don’t look as good on me as they do on other people. I guess I don’t have as much to offer as they do.” This is a silly way of thinking, but it is often genuinely how I feel.

I’m not exactly sure where to go from here, because I know the role of fashion bloggers is supposed to be one of encouragement and exhortation when it comes to body image issues. We are supposed to be the voice of one crying out in a wilderness of unhealthy perceptions of beauty. We are supposed to help other cope with their insecurities more than we discuss our own. We are supposed to have answers.

Well, the only encouragement I have to offer at the moment is that, on some days, I’m there with you. I struggle with the same issues you do in my own little (or not so little) way. I have wrestled and still wrestle with my own tainted perception of beauty. I still doubt myself. I still cry sometimes.

But I still wear high heels 🙂

Awkward and Awesome Thursday: Silly Hubby


  • Joshy falling out of a hammock. He looks so cute and sad!
  • The freakin’ lady who cut my hair tonight! God bless ‘er, but she was the slowest hairdresser and the most annoying human being I have ever met! Monotone voice, awkward laugh, and everything. Good thing I saved $17 going to see her.
  • Being in the pool playing water polo when the power went out. The ref was counting down to halftime, “Three . . . two . . . one . . .” BLACKOUT! It was epic.
  • Wearing my costume all day tomorrow because Josh and I will be away on Halloween.
  • Sweet pickles. Blech.
  • NaNoWriMo. I’m kind of freaking out. Both about the impending stress and the fact that my only good ideas involve some type of adultery. Stupid Anna Karenina‘s all up in my head.
  • Oh yeah. Anna Karenina.
  • Hubby being very sleep-deprived and saying silly things all day long. I hope he catches up on the weekend.


  • Going to the haunted house with friends tomorrow night–in costume.
  • Dyeing my Princess Isabella (from Braveheart) costume today. Turns out “wine” dye will turn white velvet bright pink.
  • Joshy’s Braveheart getup. Made it myself 🙂
  • Writing an article for the Beacon and getting interviewed by three other reporters for their articles! The should change the name of this issue to the Thurston.
  • Cheap Love by Carrie and Erv Starr. I wish I could recommend meeting this adorable couple, but since you probably don’t live anywhere near here, I’ll just recommend the book.
  • Taco Bell beefy five-layer burrito without the beef. It’s been so long. I only had a teensy bite of Rachel’s. Promise.
  • Sydney from The Daybook getting ready to have her little bebe! Squeal!
  • This video. These guys are my friends from school. I had a coronary just watching this.
  • Rehearsals for “Sheltered!” Soooo funny! And Hubby is such a good actor.

Kirk Cameron Celebrity Stalked On His Birthday

Apparently, since most child actors like “Growing Pains” star Kirk Cameron who continue in the entertainment industry throughout their lives get involved in all sorts of hijinks and questionable behavior in their adult years, the media is forced to make up “scandals” about the people who remain relatively chaste as they grow up.

Photo credit: Lane Chaplin via Twitter

This photo went viral when someone snapped it at Cameron’s 41st birthday celebration at a church in Bellflower, California. The press was apparently appalled at the poorly attended gathering.

Oh, the horror! Kirk Cameron didn’t have a multi-million-dollar birthday celebration! With every Hollywood A-lister in attendence! Pity him! How will he ever eat all of those subs by himself?

Seriously, this seems like the least sensational piece of news since ever. People simply have nothing better to do than creep on the actor-turned-evangelist and speculate about what a terrible person he must be to have held a birthday party where hardly anyone came. I mean, I have my own thoughts about televangelists, but get some real news! And a life, while you’re at it.

The full story is coming out from party attendees (yes, there were attendees) who say that everyone was crowded behind the camera when the picture was taken. “Everyone” being 10-15 of Cameron’s friends who had organized the birthday observance.

Shocking, right?

You can get the whole story here, but I basically just told you everything. There’s scarcely a story here.

Flashback: Blue Spot

Jeans-American Eagle Outfitters, Red flats-American Eagle
(they’re not the same company, believe it or not), Flowered shirt and fingerless glove-DIY

 I haven’t done a fashion post in awhile (something I intend to begin remedying once I finish reading blasted Anna Karenina), so I fished these two images out of my own personal archives. These pictures are from a rainy day a few weeks into my new marriage and a few days into my first semester at Roberts. So much had changed, and I was craving the familiarity and routine the summerhad provided. To make things worse, I had chosen to wear . . .

The shirt.

I had worn the shirt in the above picture on my last day of work before marrying Josh in the summer of 2010. I worked as a head counselor at Sayre Summer Recreation, a local day camp lasting eight weeks and featuring a new series of workshops each week. The shirt started out as a basic white v-neck, but did not stay that way after a few moments of an Art Graffiti workshop with 80 kindergarteners through fifth-graders. Blue paint from a spray bottle struck me in the chest, and one of my favorite shirts was ruined, or so I thought.

Photo credit
Weeks later, as I sat lonely one afternoon on Roberts campus, missing the kids I had grown to love so over the past several summers, I became determined to save the shirt in which so many bittersweet memories were wrapped up. I marched outside with several bowls of watered-down acrylic paint and began painting a Monet-like masterpiece up one side of the shirt with the blue spot on the chest.

It was an attempt to cling to something that, in a way, anchored me to my concrete past instead of discarding all of that in favor of an uncertain future.

The shirt dried into something of a watercolor masterpiece. It’s now one of my favorite items of clothing, and I get many compliments on the unique garment. I only try to shy away from wearing it during those times when that blue spot shows up on my heart and I am tempted to weep for the loss of the simplicity of my younger days. On those days when it rains inside and out, I usually find it best to stick to outfits that don’t evoke emotional meltdowns . . .

Let’s try to act like a grown, married woman here 😉

For Your Inspiration: Middle Eastern Mystery

The headline on USA Today’s website read “Haider Ackermann Turns Fashion Into Art.” I cocked my head to the side and made a “Hmmmmm?” sound, not understanding. Hasn’t fashion been a form of art since its inception as a social phenomenon? Although, I do have to admit that Ackermann’s appraoch to fashion is much more grounded in the deep imaginative beauty of clothing than it is influenced by the trend entanglements of the industry.

Photo credit

I soon found out, however, that Ackermann is a fascinating character not only because he is an artist. It seems he is taking Paris runways by storm with his Middle-Eastern-inspired styles.

Photo Credit
His gowns and pantsuits are elegant and sumptuous, and more impressively, modest. It is so inspiring that Ackerman is able to channel the conservatism of diverse world cultures to bring an enchanting quality to Western runways. Models sported billowy chiffons and satins in scintillating earthy tones. Instead of the age-old stilletoes which commonly populate the fashion world, these women wore classy and gorgeous oxfords. The mystery and intrigue of the draping fabric provided an irresitible sensuality that has been lost in the revealing styles of the day.

Photo credit
I loved the world-traveled ease manifested during this year’s fashion week. Cultural literacy is so attractive to me as Josh delves deeper into the world of languages and we both look forward to a semester in a foreign country. Ackermann is a design giant for acknowledging the forgotten virtue that world cultures beyond the western world have to offer.