Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloween 2014: The Bronzino Gown, Again

Originally, my Halloween costume for this year was going to be Demeter, the Greek goddess of the harvest. I got the idea nearly a year ago from Take Back Halloween, a site that provides hundreds of easy DIY costume ideas for women who don't want to wear a sexy costume. The Demeter costume was refreshingly easy: take sheet, pin sheet at shoulders, cinch with belt, wear flower garland. I wanted to take it a few steps further by creating an Ionic Chiton instead of a Doric Chiton, and embroider the hem of my green sheet chiton with acanthus and grape motifs.

Doric Chiton via Take Back Halloween
Ionic Chiton via Melina Design Studio
In the weeks leading up to Halloween I began to search for affordable greenery for the garland sash, cornucopia, and wreath crown. In order to have a decent attempt at Demeter I'd have to spend much more than I wanted to. Then the forecast for that week was cold, cold, cold, and I decided to just toss that idea and opt for the more cold weather-friendly Italian Renaissance Bronzino gown I made last year.

I was very disappointed with how my hair turned out last year, and for me the hair prettymuch ruined the look. My fine hair kept sliding out of the braids and was a total mess. This year, I showered the night before, blow dried my hair and then periodically moistened it with a spray bottle, and braided my hair in almost a dozen small braids. The day of, I just undid the braids, combed my hair gently at the scalp to cover up the "seams" between the braided sections and put my hair in a ponytail. I gently loosened the ponytail, split my hair, and tucked the ponytail in. It was very easy, relatively quick, similar to hairstyles in mid 16th century paintings, and held all day!

A few stray hairs, but I love the overall texture and historically "unwashed hair" look this style gave me!

Back view of the tucked ponytail
I also tried not wearing a lightly padded bra this year, as last year it caused unsightly wrinkles in the bodice and the straps kept slipping into view. Without a supportive undergarment though, I felt very "flat" and like my boobs had become "lost" in the bodice...perhaps I should have worn a tank top with a shelf bra to prevent the "sliding" sensation...

I love wearing this outfit (for the 4th time! I'm really getting use out of this $25 investment!) and feel so beautiful, no matter how "flat" my chest looks. I feel graceful and elegant and sexy in that grace and elegance, in the dignity and power associated with the dress of a woman of considerable rank. I also think that my physical features really "work" with the Italian Renaissance: I'm of Meditteranean descent (Portuguese) and my olive skin and angular face just won't look right with a robe a l'anglaise (though I'll make 18th century clothing anyway). I put on this whole getup to hand out candy, and certainly the best part was seeing the children get excited about my outfit. Several parents even asked me to pose in pictures with their children!

Mmmm...beautiful fall foliage in the background!

What did you dress up as for Halloween this year?


  1. Absolutely beautiful!! You did an amazing job on the dress and I love the color!! This dress is actually one of the reasons I started following your blog. I can't wait to see what else you come up with.

  2. Oh, I absolutely love this dress, you did an amazing job and the color is so beautiful on you!

  3. That gown looks lovely on you! You did a fabulous job making it! :)