Great Costumes from the Past - When Women Looked Like Real (Curvy) Women
Don't get me started on the curvy woman's pain of finding a good Halloween costume! If you're a femme with a womanly full figure, you know all too well that "plus size" Halloween costumes in the stores too often seem to be made for Barbie dolls with water bloat - not plus-sized at all. So you're stuck with draping yourself in a muumuu...
Surely there are flattering, attractive, even sexy Halloween costumes for a larger woman out there? Yes, indeed!
I've tiptoed through history here to do the leg work for you, looking back to past eras when women with voluptuous curves were properly appreciated. Check out the feminine costume ideas here to find the best fit for your own size and style - whether you're looking for a sexy Halloween costume or one with a bit more coverage for any masquerade.
1950s Blond Bombshell
(By which we mean a Marilyn costume, of course)
Any curvy girl worth her Spanx has heard that Marilyn Monroe, perhaps the greatest American sex symbol ever to grace the big screen, was no Skinny Minnie. It turns out that chubby Marilyn is an urban myth - a bit of a disappointment for some of us, eh?
But still, our Norma Jean had padding in all the right places (unlike the hipless nymphets of today's Hollywood), and her super-feminine image is a wonderful costume for the more zaftig figure.
If you're lucky enough to have your curves arranged in an hourglass shape, then Marilyn and her pin-up girl sisters of WW2 and the post-war years are among the most sexy and flattering Halloween costumes you can choose.
Oh, yes, don't forget to practice your breathless delivery of "Happy Birthday, Mr President" - just in case.
The Famous White Dress
1940s PinUp Girl Costume
The Sweethearts of World War Two
These days, with the recent resurgence of fashion interest in the 1950 pinup icons like Bettie Paige, you'll find a fair amount of crossover between wartime and post-war honeys. For true-life inspiration, however, check out the WW2 era issues of Yank, The Army Weekly magazine, 1940s vintage calendar girls, and the fabulous aircraft nose art of the period.
1940s pinup costumes will generally favor the larger lady with an athletic build and great legs - this look is all about the just-so hair and the endless legs, with a sweetheart neckline and belted high waist in between.
Pin curls and Victory rolls, brave red lipstick, and a coy over-the-shoulder glance - that's the wartime pinup girl, the pretty morale-boosters for the boys "over there" and missing their sweethearts back home.
Ba-doomp! If you love the slinky sass of classic Mae West, that ultimate hourglass-figured femme with a razor-sharp business mind behind her extra-long lashes, you'll have a lot of fun stepping into her character for your Halloween costume.
Inspired by Mae West, of course, the Hollywood sex symbol's costume includes a long sequin gown, faux-fur stole, long gloves, and a faux award statuette to hold up for the cameras while you thank all the little people for such a wonderful honor...
Enormous eyelashes and bouffant blond wig (not included with this gown shown here) are de rigeur, if your Halloween persona will be the Mae West vamp.
There's no age limit on wearing a Mae West costume, by the way. The ultimate Hollywood vamp was still hip-swaying her way across the big screen well into her late 70s (ahem, Myra Breckenridge) and putting some pretty convincing moves on a handsome young Tom Selleck. As long as you can deliver her patented one-liners in style and sashay around in that fancy gown, you've got your Mae West impersonation down.
Here's a treat for you - a quick montage of some of Mae's best moments on film:
Channel Your Inner Zelda
(An ideal costume for those without a Mae West "hourglass" figure!)
For those of us who don't have a real waist we'd like to show off - for larger women with more of a straight up-and-down plus size figure - consider the 1920s Bright Young Thing in her sacque style flapper dress, all layers and sequins and fringe and "all that jazz"...
Accessorize with the longest leanest faux-cigarette holder you can find (jet black or mother-of-pearl if you can swing it) - you'll wave it for dramatic emphasis as you banter with the boys. Elbow-length gloves, a sumptuous feather boa or drift of silk chiffon scarf, and a long string of beads to dangle and twirl. Cropped hair or cloche and kiss curls, please. Big eyes!
Then roll those stocking tops, take to the dance floor and daringly show off your knees in a hot Charleston that will rock the Halloween party like it's 1924 - you Jazz Baby you!
1890s La Belle Epoque Costume
Gay 'Nineties New Orleans meets Hollywood Vamp
For a flamboyantly fun costume idea, take a look at Belle of the Nineties, a 1934 flick set in 1892. Our favorite bawdy bombshell stars as nightclub entertainer Ruby Carter, caught up in a plot of prize fights and diamonds as she is ardently pursued from St. Louis to New Orleans. Even the music of Duke Ellington and His Orchestra in this classic film can't outshine the curvaceous comedienne ... and it's no doubt that the lady's robust charms are set off to perfection by the ultra-feminine costumes of the (Hollywood version) 1890s nightclub world.
Big beautiful women of 2013 can most certainly bring down the house with a costume inspired by the Gay Nineties - after-hours edition! Hollywood style, this belle of the ball is all about the huge cartwheel hat, lashings of marabou, sweeping gown with mermaid hem or demi-train and ostrich trim, maybe even a swishy feather boa - and of course your enviable curves.
Of course it's not historically accurate, but for a Halloween costume? Stunning, and a whole lot of fun!
1860s Gold Rush Klondyke Kitty - Saloon Madame with a Heart of Gold
Gypsies, Tramps and... Pirate Wenches
Speaking of curves, keep reading for more colorful female characters you'd have a blast dressing up as for a Halloween party or any fancy dress affair. It takes a bold and curvy girl to really pull off the look of any of these "lawless ladies" from the more colorful pages of history.
Halloween is all about throwing the rules out the window and donning a fun new character with the colorful costume, so why not make the most of your fabulous curves with the garb of a bodacious beauty just a bit on the wild side?
Off-the-shoulder outfits make the most of upper-body attractions, not the least of which is your decolletage and rounded shoulders, and you've got several centuries of inspiration to choose from for costume ideas there. Not to mention, there are a host of character roles where you can find an excuse to wear a figure-flattering corset to nip in the waist and emphasize those feminine charms!
Reveal as much or as little skin as your comfort level and best attributes allow, leaning toward the most opulent fabrics and interesting details, then let your imagination have free reign when it comes to the accessories.
Elegant Plus-Sized Women's Costumes with More Coverage - Well-Bred Historical Ladies of Fashion
Pre-Revolution France (the era of the elegant Marie Antoinette) and England from the Renaissance through to the Georgian period are are a fine source of modest costumes for the larger lady, as are the costumes of the American Colonial era.
For the more modest or more mature among us, or for those of us who live in a cold climate and like to cover up when the October winds begin to howl, the pages of History give us even more lovely options for Halloween costumes for the curvy woman.
But a little more modest costume does not mean any less attractive - or, dare we say, sexy!
Off-the-shoulder gowns, or one-shoulder styles, are costumes with a lot of visual interest around the face and neckline, drawing the eye upward and away from any areas of your figure you might want to downplay, to focus attention on your lovely face. Similarly, a costume with an asymmetrical design element in the skirt will break the visual line on the horizontal across hips and draw the eye upward, again lengthening the overall effect. Flowing skirts on ankle-length gowns lend grace to your movement as they give the illusion of lengthening the figure, while empire waists or bodices with cross lacing are generally flattering to the curvy woman.
Women have known these fool-the-eye tricks of fashion for centuries, so every era offers a design that will suit the rubenesque beauty.
Statue-sque Woman - Are you a real woman, or a lovely work of art?
Such a clever costume! The marble-patterned gown comes with a fitted cap, gloves, and shoe covers to match. All you need to add is a bit of makeup on your face and neck - and voila! You're a work of art.
Did you find a Halloween costume idea here that appeals to you?
SilverLotus1 on July 26, 2014:
Funs lens - nice job!
Eugene Samuel Monaco from Lakewood New York on May 26, 2014:
They all appeal to me, as I just love Halloween, A very nice selection that you have assembled!!!!
Diana Grant from United Kingdom on January 11, 2014:
They're all lovely - good choice
Barbara Tremblay Cipak from Toronto, Canada on October 05, 2013:
these are fabulous! I would wear all of them - if I ever went to a halloween party!
Rick King from Charleston, SC on September 29, 2013:
Although not a curvy woman myself, I have an appreciation for all of the costumes presented here. Enough said and Happy Halloween!
awesomeinfo on September 26, 2013:
hmm good work..
anonymous on September 23, 2013:
A pirate costume suits anyone!
24hourdentist on September 22, 2013:
I wouldn't mind seeing my curvy woman in a couple of these costumes on any day of the year!
Shinichi Mine from Tokyo, Japan on September 21, 2013:
My sister would love some of these! Thanks for sharing these wonderful ideas.
anonymous on September 18, 2013:
Great costume ideas! When you have a costume party, check out my music to add elegant ambiance. Happy Halloweening!
lewisgirl on September 17, 2013:
You did your homework! Great lens!
akusphinx on September 17, 2013:
nice white dress.
Eugene Samuel Monaco from Lakewood New York on September 17, 2013:
Great ideas well done Thanks
flycatcherrr (author) on September 17, 2013:
@JennyRowling: Tsk tsk, surely a clever wench can win out without wasting the plonk ;)
Julia Morais on September 17, 2013:
Love the pirate and the statue costume. Great collection here.
Jenny Rowling from London, UK on September 16, 2013:
The pirate costume is my favorite - a woman should be able to walk freely and break a cheap wine bottle in a man's head :D
Kerry Voronoff from Sydney, Australia on September 16, 2013:
I really like the statue costume. Something a bit different.
BrownEyedGirl69 on September 16, 2013:
Great ideas. Loved the lens.
alextheally on September 16, 2013:
NoProblemmo on September 16, 2013:
This is XXeLent lens!
FrancesWrites on August 30, 2013:
I love this! Your frustration at plus size being aimed at the Barbie-dolls with water bloat - acerbic but true!This is a great selection. I had the same problem finding an outfit for a fancy dress party and found a pirate wench costume was the only one I could hire at short notice, and I'm not *that* big!
flycatcherrr (author) on August 11, 2013:
@julieannbrady: I'll bet you really looked the part of Marilyn, too - va va va voom!
julieannbrady on August 11, 2013:
Would you believe? I actually had the Marilyn Monroe bombshell costume? Yes indeed. Another favorite is a very colorful cha-cha girl with the fruit basket that sits on your head.
Dorian Bodnariuc from Ottawa, Ontario Canada on August 06, 2013:
I love the pirate costume, and the statue costume, such a nice idea.
WriterJanis2 on October 24, 2012:
Several! These are cute and sexy.
MartieG aka 'survivoryea' from Jersey Shore on October 22, 2012:
Some very nice choices! :>)