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Shop Your Closet: 3 Halloween Costumes You Already Own

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Pumpkin trick-or-treat pails
Photo Credit

Every year I have these great plans to come up with a creative costume and run around town one weekend to get everything I need. That has yet to happen. Usually the emotional and physical letdown from midterms gets in the way of my shopping plans, so I’ve gotten pretty good at coming up with cute Halloween costumes that are mostly made up of things I already own.

Below are three costumes ideas for you to try. Each one is based on a specific style aesthetic and can be created with wardrobe staples that are probably already hanging up in your closet. Scroll down to see them all:

1. Marie Antoinette

Easy Marie Antoinette costume
Product Info: Skirt, Sweater, Shoes, Necklace, Stacked Rings, Brass Ring Set, EyelinerPink Lipstick, Earrings

If you firmly believe that ballet flats are a wardrobe requirement (I hear you loud and clear), then you probably have the staples for a normcore Marie Antoinette look. All you need is a feminine silhouette, which is accomplished here with a form-fitting sweater, a full skirt, and flats. Pile on all the statement jewelry you own, then come up with a very well-coordinated makeup plan.

You could definitely switch up this look with a pair of colored jeans and a flirty peplum top, or even a feminine coat. This costume idea is very versatile in that way. The jewelry, however, is a must. What I especially love about the jewelry in the set above is how budget friendly it is. Even if you need to go out and buy another piece or two to really achieve that over-the-top French aristocrat appeal, you can justify your purchases considering how well statement jewelry can function in your daily looks after Halloween… just maybe not all at once.

As for makeup, the fruits of my research (courtesy of ye old Google search engine) showed me some great pictures of Kirsten Dunst, who played Antoinette in the film adaptation of her life. Dunst’s eye makeup was minimal, and what stood out as the defining components of her look was a beauty mark above her lip, pink cheeks, and a bold pink lip.

2. Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow Halloween costume
Product Info: Shirt, Blazer, Jeans, Sneakers, Glasses, Hair Ties

Rachel Maddow is a left-leaning political analyst who has her own show on MSNBC. If you have a substantial amount of professional attire in your wardrobe, this costume is ideal.

All you need is a button-up shirt, a blazer, jeans, and fun sneakers. This costume is fairly muted in terms of color, but feel free to experiment with a louder shirt or shoes. Paramount to her look, however, is a pair of black reader glasses, the likes of which can be found at pretty much any dollar store or in the accessory section of your favorite clothing store.

This costume is fairly recognizable because Maddow literally wears the same thing in every appearance on her show. That’s no slight – her intention is to make her work the focus as opposed to her outfit. If you love the idea of making a lukewarm political statement by dressing up as a sassy and extremely intelligent woman (Rhodes Scholar, look it up ladies), then I encourage you to take the Maddow blazer out for a spin.

3. ’90s Chick

'90s Halloween costume
Product Info: Flannel, Tee, Jeans, Boots, Beanie, Nail Polish, Ring

Another Halloween look composed of items you probably already own is a ’90s chick! (Cue the Icona Pop song.) Thank goodness for trend resurgence – if you’ve been shopping around lately, I have a hunch you probably own a pair of mid-rise moto boots and/or distressed jeans and/or flannel. Be liberal with your eyeliner, don’t brush your hair, tap into the deep wells of your inner angst, and you’re done.

As someone who has maybe possibly always done this look in the past, a fun thing to do is go to your local Goodwill or Value Village and pick up a grungy t-shirt you can cut up without remorse, or even distress some jeans yourself. The possibilities are endless!

What do you think?

Would you be able to recreate these costumes by shopping your closet? Anybody going to try one of these looks for Halloween? Let me know, and of course, happy shopping!

Filed Under: Shopping / Tags: , , , ,

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CF Real Talk: Domestic Violence Awareness Month


October is domestic violence awareness month

As some of you may be aware, October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. While College Fashion is primarily a fashion blog, we’re also more than that – we strive to create inspirational and relatable material to expand your knowledge and give you, our readers, a place to feel comfortable and safe. With that in mind, it’s time for some real talk about domestic violence.

Domestic violence is an issue that hits close to home for me. Since joining CF as a nail art columnist, I’ve encountered a nagging voice in the back of my head urging me to step aside from my usual column and write about this serious and – unfortunately – common situation. After all, I experienced it myself.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 3 women will encounter some form of domestic abuse, while 1 in 4 men will experience the same. To many, domestic violence is automatically associated with physical abuse, but the fact of the matter is that abuse is abuse, and can come in many ugly forms, such as emotional, financial, and sexual abuse, just to name a few.

So today, in the hopes that I can help even one person feel less alone, I want to share my own experience with domestic violence.

Emotional Abuse: My Story

(*Warning: The following may be triggering*)

My story of emotional abuse ends in a way that many stories unfortunately don’t – with me getting out. The sad fact is, many victims aren’t so fortunate.

To begin, I was in a relationship with someone I had known for six whole years. Six years of constant communication and friendship with someone I believed I had connected with on every level. And then one day, everything just snapped. I discovered he had cheated on me numerous times while we’d been living together, and after months of unnecessary grief and anxiety, I finally understood that there was nothing left to fix. So I ended it. But he didn’t see that line of thinking.

Due to financial instability, I was forced to continue to live with him, and with that came a side of him that I never could have imagined. Because I had begun to pull away, he began to fight, using anything he could to keep me there. He would guilt me every chance he could, saying that I was becoming a different person, that I was abandoning him, that I was weak and pathetic. Anger and jealously would overflow and cause him to scream and yell at me, yet as soon as he would see I wasn’t falling for it, he’d begin to talk about hurting himself because I didn’t care, causing me to comfort him. Whenever his anger didn’t work, he’d switch to a different method to keep me under his control. The more I pointed out his tactics, the more he would try to disillusion me and claim that I was crazy, that it was all in my head, when not more than five minutes before, he had been calling me obscene names.

For months, I became increasingly brainwashed by his actions. Day after day, I would allow him to yell, to make me feel small, to make me feel as if I wasn’t even a person anymore. All his manipulation made me into a shell of my former self, and made me believe that everything that had happened was my fault. And so I stayed with him. Even though we had broken up, I let the “relationship” continue.

It wasn’t until a friend stepped in, and pointed out that everything he had done was abusive, that things finally turned around. At first, I shot down the idea. “No, this isn’t an abusive relationship,” I would think to myself. “He’s just upset.” I would make excuses for him, until it finally dawned on me that his words and actions were, in fact, abusive.

And with that truth, I learned to stick up for myself. I no longer allowed him the satisfaction of control, and instead I started to build my self-confidence back up so that he was unable to knock me down again. His anger grew as he realized his control was slipping, causing him to sink to attempts at scaring me. He would punch walls, kick over chairs, and block the door whenever I tried to leave, and even threatened suicide if I left. But no matter how difficult things became, the thought of finally being able to escape kept me going.

After an entire year of manipulation, lies, guilt, and verbal attacks, I was finally able to leave.

Yet, if I hadn’t been aware of emotional abuse, I don’t know where I would be now. Forms of abuse like this are easily overlooked and difficult to recognize, which is why I wanted to share what I went through to promote better understanding of what to look out for.

As stated by HelpGuide.Org’s article on domestic abuse,

“Domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only: to gain and maintain total control over you.”

Abusers will do absolutely anything and everything to keep control, no matter what. Recognition is the first step towards ridding yourself of a poisonous domestic relationship, and although it may take time and hard work, always understand that you can do it. Don’t ever believe that you are in it alone. Whether it be friends, family, hotlines, or websites, there is always someone there who will listen and who will help.

How to Seek Help for Domestic Abuse

If you think you are in an abusive relationship, or know someone who might be and want to know more about signs and how to handle it, The National Domestic Violence Hotline has a great site dedicated to all forms of abuse and how to get help. Also, here’s a great PDF from the American Psychological Association targeted towards high school and college students. Remember, there’s always a way out.

Help Raise Awareness for Domestic Abuse

If you want to help the cause or read more about domestic violence awareness, visit the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

In addition, the NNEDV is sponsoring events all throughout the rest of October. Tomorrow, October 23rd, is #PurpleThursday – to participate, wear purple tomorrow and share a photo or update on social media to raise awareness. They also accept donations, and every cent helps.


Have you or someone you know been affected by domestic violence? Have you successfully ended an abusive relationship? Do you think domestic violence awareness deserves more coverage? (We do.) Do you have any questions about my experience or how to leave an abusive situation?

This is a safe space – we’d love to hear from you in hopes we can inspire others to seek help. (Feel free to comment under a fake name if you want.) Leave a comment below and let’s discuss.

Filed Under: College Life / Tags: , , ,




Looks from Books: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow


Welcome to the latest edition of Looks from Books, which aims to prove that you can look smart, while still being book-smart, too. Fashion inspiration can be found between the pages of your favorite stories, on well-designed book covers, and in your favorite characters… if you read closely enough.

This week, we’re taking inspiration from an appropriately thrilling tale to herald the arrival of Halloween… and the Headless Horseman! Here’s Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow:

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
Cover via Amazon

Inside Cover

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is an iconic American short story written by Washington Irving and published in 1820.

The story is set in a Dutch settlement in 1790 New York, in the secluded village of Sleepy Hollow, where schoolmaster Ichabod Crane pines after the lovely Katrina von Tassel.

After a harvest celebration, where scary stories were told, his competition for fair Katrina’s heart, Brom Bones, along with other members of the town, preface the superstitious suitor’s encounter with the local spirit, The Headless Horseman, while riding home.

The ghost of a Hessian soldier separated from his head, The Horseman chases Ichabod through the woods, racing for safe passage over the bridge the legendary phantom is unable to cross. However, the story ends with the townspeople baffled by Ichabod’s unheralded disappearance, with only a smashed pumpkin lying on the road next to his deserted hat, left behind from his flight through the forest.

The story is widely considered as one of the most enduringly popular American short stories ever written. Hundreds of adaptations and allusions made to the classic tale permeate popular culture, as well as the general cultural practice of Halloween itself. The real-life town of Sleepy Hollow, New York celebrates the legacy of the “Legend” with a yearly historic celebration… and its local high school football team name? The Horsemen!

A Fashionable Literacy

Sleepy Hollow TV show
A promotional photo for the second season of Sleepy Hollow on Fox || Photo via IMDB

With a legacy spanning across multiple forms of media, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” might be most recognized via such adaptations as Tim Burton’s 1997 take on the tale, Sleepy Hollow, which starred Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci, or even Disney’s 1949 musical short, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (which brought about the Bing Crosby hit, “The Headless Horseman”!).

The most recently popularized adaptation of the short story is Fox’s Sleepy Hollow television series, which premiered in 2013. Subverting the traditional ghost story through the lens of the Biblical Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – with the Headless Horseman also serving as the Horseman of Death, and Ichabod Crane as one of the two Witnesses sent to destroy him – Sleepy Hollow was renewed for its second season after only three episodes had aired. Starring Tom Mison as Ichabod, and Nicole Beharie as his co-Witness and partner in defending the town, Police Lieutenant Abigail Mills, the series remains generally well-received by critics and viewers alike.

How to Add Sleepy Hollow to Your Wardrobe

By integrating key elements from the short story into your own wardrobe, you, too, can have a look just as fit for the fall weather as this Halloween-y hit. Just make for the bridge, with all your might!

Harvest Time

Legend of Sleepy Hollow fashion
Product Information: Scarf – Amazon, Earrings – Nordstrom, Sweater – Modcloth, Jacket – American Eagle, Nail Polish – Butter London, Boots – Aeropostale, Skirt – H&M, Socks – Charlotte Russe.

The classic tale is just one of many fall favorites that crop up this time every year. From pumpkin patches and apple orchards to hay rides or just watching the leaves crunching underneath your feet on campus, college women everywhere love to celebrate the season. The people of Sleepy Hollow celebrated their own harvest festival in the short story, so why shouldn’t you go out and have some fall fun yourself?

Channel the seasonal vibe of the short story into your own look by crafting the perfect fall outfit from some unabashed seasonal favorites. Tall brown boots, thick thigh-high socks, a denim jacket, and a cozy infinity scarf are standards for any college-aged woman around this time of year, but a graphic animal sweater, plaid wrap skirt, vintage-looking jewelry, and multichrome nail polish are updated versions of old standbys.

Isn’t it Romanticism?

Product Information: Necklace – ASOS, Dress – Modcloth,Headband – ASOS, Jacket – NastyGal, Bracelets – Charlotte Russe, Boots – 6PM, Tights – Modcloth.

One of many reasons for the enduring legacy of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” is its status as an early demonstration of the Romanticism movement in US Literature. Alongside works like Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, or the poetry of Emily Dickinson, Romanticism was a rally against the growing Rationalization movements of the time, and celebrated elements of literature – emotional thought, the beauty and impact of nature, and the presence of supernatural forces – as well as boasted the Gothic literary movement as under its umbrella.

Channel the Romanticism movement by bringing those same elements of the literature style into your outfit with elements like intricate lacework, flowy fabrics, and bright ornamentation. Chiffon is a flowy, beautiful fabric, but is a little hard to wear by itself in the fall, so layer up this moody wine-colored shift with black lace tights and a black lace open jacket. Nature comes into play with a gold leaf necklace and headband, while the outfit gets a little more grounded with tall booties and set of mixed media bangles.

The Horseman

Headless Horseman outfit
Product Information: Lipgloss – Stila, Sweatshirt – J. Crew Factory, Coat – Forever 21, Jeans – Delia’s, Boots – Overstock, Bracelet – Bloomingdale’s, Shirt – Target.

This article would be entirely remiss if I neglected to focus on the true star of this short story, and one of the most iconic villains in American literature: the Headless Horseman! This dark rider has had many incarnations through the ages – even beyond Sleepy Hollow! – and has been found in traditional tales since around the Middle Ages. Cropping up in various facets of European folklore, like the Irish “dullahan” and even tales from the Brothers Grimm, the fearsome figure of a horseman who rode carrying his own head has made its rounds.

Channel the Headless Horseman into your own easily-wearable look with all-black basics and fashionable takes on riding gear. Tall black riding boots, skinny dark-rinse jeans, and a long black coat, are all fall basics in the Horseman’s signature hue, while a plaid shirt layered under a graphic horse sweatshirt brings a bit of the legend to the real world. A gold saddle bracelet cements that status and a glaring gash of red, in the form of a long-staying lip gloss, brings a highlight to your face… even though the Horseman wouldn’t have had one!

What Do You Think?

Have you ever read “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow?” What’s your favorite ghost story? Are you excited for Halloween? What do you think of the outfits and styling tips? Let me know in the comments below! 

Filed Under: Inspiration / Tags: , , , , , , , , ,