When New Yorkers want Halloween costumes with sartorial flair, they skip costume shops and drugstores and head instead to the Patricia Field boutique in the Bowery, where glitter wigs and bondage pants are the everyday garb of Ms. Field’s regular customers.
Best known as the costume designer for the “Sex and the City” television series and films, Ms. Field said there was nothing wrong with buying a Halloween costume that comes in a box, but that her shop has become a destination for out-of-the-box, high-fashion getups. Think geisha wigs, peacock feathers and devil headbands made of rhinestones.
At Patricia Field, which has been outfitting some of the city’s most creative dressers since the 1960s, it’s hardly an unusual request to want to be transformed to Lady Gaga. One makeup artist said many customers had come in wanting to be Lady Gaga, including a mother and her daughter. Some items in the store and on its Web site, PatriciaField.com, have even been spotted on Lady Gaga herself, according to the staff, like $86 thigh-high boots with six-inch heels.
The total cost of being Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj would have been $690 and $2,479 respectively. Those eye-popping prices were a result of our being bedecked with gold jewelry and designer fashions. For instance, the $1,600 bustier selected for Nicki Minaj was handmade with gems, pearls, rhinestones and chains, and is by Tom Tom, who has designed for the likes of Lil’ Kim and Amanda Lepore.
But as any savvy shopper knows, you don’t need a rock-star bank account to create recognizable Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj looks. In fact, the essential pieces may already be in your closet.
Let’s begin with Lady Gaga. The most important item? A fitted black blazer with shoulder pads (the bigger, the better). Pants are optional. You can wear a bodysuit or hot pants underneath (see below for shopping options), but for demure Gagas, black shorts offer more coverage.
Our model opted for shorts bought at French Connection a few summers ago. To complete the costume, she added a black sequin halter, fishnet stockings and black stilettos, already part of my wardrobe. To take the look from
Bob Fosse chorus girl to Lady Gaga, the model visited Ricky’s NYC for a $19.99 “pop angel” blond wig by California Costume Collections, a Lady Gaga licensed bow clip ($12.99) and oversize sunglasses ($6.99). Total cost: Less than $40. Tip: Buy a skullcap (about $2 at Ricky’s NYC) to keep your real hair from peeking out beneath the wig. That goes for all you would-be Nicki Minajs, too.
If your closet is lacking, try Lady Gaga’s Web site, where you’ll find makeup, wigs, accessories (like $10.99 sunglasses that say “Gaga”) and costumes inspired by her music videos, including “Poker Face” (a $45 blue swimsuit), “Telephone” (an “American flag costume” two-piece for $50), “Born This Way” (a $55 “tuxedo skeleton costume” and $25 side-pony tail wig) and “Judas” (a $20 wavy blond wig and red bandanna). There are also costumes inspired by outfits Lady Gaga donned for the Grammy Awards, Video Music Awards and her Monster Ball tour.
But shop around: many stores sell these costumes, often for less. For instance, the $45 blue swimsuit on LadyGaga.com is $20 cheaper on PartyCity.com (where there are also Lady Gaga makeup instruction videos). Other retailers that carry the costumes include SpiritHalloween.com, WholesaleHalloweenCostumes.com, TrendyHalloween.com, CostumeDiscounters.com.
And think creatively. Why buy the “tuxedo skeleton costume” if you can borrow a tuxedo? Or better yet, go as Lady Gaga’s alter ego, Jo Calderone. All you need is a dirty white T-shirt, pompadour, a cigarette and an attitude.
Now onto Nicki Minaj. “In case you can’t get to Harajuku, Japan (which as any fan knows is where Nicki Minaj draws her bright, busy, doll-like style inspiration), you can still capture her look. The entertainer is often seen in candy-colored tights, tutu-inspired tennis skirts and nose-bleed shoes.
“On Ms. Minaj’s Web site you’ll find a pink wig and a ‘pink Friday’ medallion, named for her latest album. (Ricky’s NYC also sells pink wigs.) As a makeup artist at Patricia Field mentioned, applying bubble-gum pink lips and turquoise eye shadow is the quickest way to easy recognition. Any metallic-colored hoodie or bodysuit like those sold at Dancewear Solutions ($30) or American Apparel ($24).
“If there aren’t any colorful tights in your dresser, visit stores like Forever21, H & M or a specialty Web site like The Joy of Tights. Be sure to wear two pairs for the full Minaj effect. For instance, she often wears fishnet stockings or patterned tights on top of a pair of brightly colored tights.
“Layering is key with your Minaj look. She frequently turns up in ballet tutus and petticoats, which can be found at Costumes 4 Less for about $20. If that’s too much crinoline for you, you can always wear a body-conscious dress (not black!) with your hoodie. Bonus: Layer on your brother’s football shoulder pads.
“Have fun with your footwear and accessories. You can put on colorful wedges, rain boots, studded pumps. Go for it.”