This year, for some reason I’m more excited about Halloween than in previous years. Very weird indeed. I guess I haven’t had much to look forward to because of COVID. No travelling, no going out, having to deal with applying for citizenship and my passport being taken away for who knows how long? I needed to come up with something to occupy myself with and there’s plenty right here, like writing and creating other content that is good companion stuff for my blog – mainly my Instagram content where I take pictures of my vintage outfits and talk about different classic rockers. You can follow my personal account (selfies, cat pictures, and general life stuff): @msangiemoon and my blog account (where I only talk about rock stars): @thediversityofclassicrock.
In this blog post, I’ll be sharing my Halloween month (because why limit Halloween to the 31st?) looks and talking about my inspirations behind them as a little behind the scenes and stuff that I couldn’t share on Instagram because who wants to read a whole novel in a caption?
Why “We have X at home!” Halloween challenge for 2020?
I named this Halloween challenge after the “we have food at home” meme, which is something that hits close to home for pretty much everyone of any age or nationality. Remember going out and you’re begging mum for pizza, McDonald’s, or Chinese food and she’s like “we have food at home!” and you’re groaning because the food at home doesn’t hit the spot like pizza, Chinese food, or McDonald’s does. Well imagine you’re asking for a classic rocker and I’m the “classic rocker at home” or the discount version of them. I’m making fun of myself for not having the cosplay skills of experienced cosplayers so enjoy these crappy recreations!
The “at home” bit hits even harder because we had to spend even more time at home and not buy things like we used to because budgets are getting smaller and smaller. You mean I can’t go off and buy new clothes? I have clothes at home? Ugh can I buy something new? Not stonks!
I suppose growing up is telling yourself you have food at home and clothes at home.
What really annoys me on Instagram, YouTube, and all social media is how commercialised it all is. Doesn’t matter what scene or fandom – it’s all commodified, commercialised, full of ads. I’m gonna sound like an old fogey complaining but I remember the days when not everything online was someone trying to sell you something or someone trying to flex.
I remember when creating content for online was just fun. Now everything is about business and transactions. It especially annoys me in the vintage community because I’ve seen so many people doing undisclosed sponsorships and PR and that creates a conflict of interest and who knows how long this has been going for? I cannot trust “influencers” who constantly push product and do not disclose freebies and sponsored posts. Be honest with your audience and remember that there are a lot of young people getting into vintage clothing who aren’t savvy to things like “native advertising” and sponsored content. Get that coin, get that free swag, but be honest because by not disclosing affiliate codes, freebies, and sponsorships, you’re insulting your audience’s intelligence or you’re misleading your audience.
So to rebel against all that, I am doing a no-buy Halloween challenge where I dress up as different rock stars (bar a couple of the costumes, but the non-classic rockers are iconic I promise) by using whatever is in my closet and not buying anything new this month. What’s more rock and roll than rebelling against consumerism and the man?
So the gist of it is no new clothes or makeup. I can’t even enter a thrift shop to buy an accessory. Can’t buy any new makeup. I have to use what I have at home and get creative. That’s where the real talent is in fashion blogging, resourcefulness. Anyone can go out and buy a whole new outfit, but you know what takes even more skill? Using what you have and styling something fresh with what you own already! Shop your stash and you’ll come to appreciate the cool stuff you have. I encourage anyone to give this a try and put together cool looks with what you own.
On top of all that I’m broke and have been for some time now. Can’t be spending money stupidly and this pandemic is reminding me of that. I’m not as bad off as other people, but we do need to watch our expenses and I find these sponsored posts that push products down your throat to be quite insensitive during an economic depression with permanent job losses. So what I will do here is encourage people to shop their closet and I will not name any brands in this post. Style is about getting the look, not about labels and flexing.
Overconsumption is a big problem in society and as someone who is a vegan, animal lover, loves to shop secondhand, and cares about the environment, I want to think about my impact and lower it in any way that I can. Greenwashing is a real problem on Instagram and I find it ironic that influencers in the vintage community will push new products left and right under the guise of it being slow fashion and ethical and eco friendly and all that, but you know what is the most environmentally friendly thing you can do? Use what you have. Repurpose stuff that you have. Upcycle your clothes and accessories. It’s your stuff! Get creative with it and don’t buy anything new unless you need it or really really want it. Overconsumption is not green! Obviously, there’s no Halloween party this year so social distancing is a given. Not like I have any real life friends! Haha! The ultimate goal of this is to inspire you to get creative with the clothes you already have and not buy Halloween costumes you wear only once. I love seeing people get creative.
If you want to join along in the “Halloween: We have clothes at home” no-buy challenge, the rules are pretty simple. Use what you have in your closet and don’t buy anything (new or used) to create a look. If you can swap/borrow/freecycle, go for it! Swapping and borrowing is good for the environment and anti-consumerist. Doing this Halloween challenge with friends is fun, the more the merrier! Sharing is caring.
If you can make your own stuff, do it as long as you don’t buy anything for it. It’s all about using what you have and being environmentally and economically friendly. Be kind to the planet and the environment. Anything in your closet works for this challenge. Doesn’t matter where you get your clothes: fast fashion, high street, designer, vintage, thrift, DIY. Re-wearing clothes and accessories is encouraged! Who cares if you wear something more than once? Clothes are meant to be worn many times! Staple pieces are good to have in your wardrobe.
Here’s what you’ve been waiting for… The part where I show off my looks and talk about the inspirations and why I chose to dress up as them.
One thing that might surprise you is how more of my fashion inspirations are men. As feminine as I style myself, I take a lot more inspiration from men, albeit from the more androgynous eras of the 60s and 70s. I just take what male rock stars do and I genderbend it. Genderbent cosplays are some of my favourites!
1. Dave Davies
People may think that at first glance, are you dressed up like Austin Powers? Actually, no! Austin Powers got his inspiration from somewhere… like the 60s – almost certainly Peter Asher and the peacock revolution looks where guys wore a 60s spin on the dandy looks. So flamboyant, fun, and classic! I promised myself back when I was 14 that one of these days I will get a ruffly shirt and do an Austin Powers style look. A bit ago I was browsing Etsy and I came across this ruffly shirt and it wasn’t that expensive and I was like yeah I have to cop that. So I did and while flipping through pictures of bands, I came across some photos of The Kinks and I was like I have to recreate this look. I have everything I’d need.
Here’s a quote from a 2010 interview:
“When we started, me and Pete Quaife, he was our first bass player, we were as much into clothes and fashion as we were into music. Pete was a graphic artist we both used to go out and look at clothes and draw them. I drew pictures of our first band suits. It was all very much a part of it.”
Who says you can’t like more than one thing?
I took a slo-mo video of me headbanging that I didn’t post to my Instagram because it’s cringe and found this other photo and I was like oh hey, another (crappy) resemblance!
Since I can’t get enough of this outfit and I had the energy to do a mini photoshoot that day, I even made two more edits. One based on a poster from 1966 and another based on a magazine from 1966:
2. Brian Jones
People say Mick and Keith had the best style in The Rolling Stones. Hard disagree! For me, it’s Brian Jones. He deserves a lot more credit and I hate how he’s erased from Stones history and he was the original leader and founder of the band. He was clearly a talented musician and contributed to their sound on Aftermath, Between the Buttons, and Their Satanic Majesties Request and played all sorts of instruments: sitar, dulcimer, mellotron, marimba, recorder, harmonica, saxophone, and more! On “Paint It Black”, he played sitar.
He was eye catching on stage with his long blond hair and dress sense. In the early days of The Rolling Stones, his look was more mod/beatnik-ish and simple, but as the 60s changed rapidly, his dress sense became more flamboyant and still as polished as ever. Always with accessories and bright colours. It’s hard to re-create his looks perfectly, but I came across a picture of him in sunglasses, a pink jumper, and a pink feather boa and while I don’t have a feather boa, I have a hot pink scarf that can recreate the look. Some think that this is a Janis look and I can definitely see Janis rocking this!
It’s a bit of a casual look, but hey, goes to show you that with a little digging and some creativity you can dress like your favourite rock stars!
3. David Bowie
I have a couple looks for David Bowie. One of my favourite vintage dresses I own is this blue 1970s psychedelic print dress. It was my first purchase during my study abroad year in 2014 and when I saw it on eBay I knew it had to be mine and I bought it and it’s become one of my favourite vintage items I own. I took pictures of it for Tumblr and I remember someone said it looks like something David Bowie would have worn. Isn’t that the ultimate compliment? Dressing like Bowie is something everyone should aspire to do!
Another look I did was with this prairie/boho looking blouse I bought in San Francisco in 2013. I used this one for the Scott Gorham look that you’ll see just after this one. I can’t believe I wanted to sell this a while back. I’m glad I never sold it!
4. Scott Gorham
My hair inspiration and this one will actually make sense with my hair. He’s one of the lead guitarists of Thin Lizzy and you can easily spot him with his super long shiny pin straight hair that the ladies envy. To recreate this one I had to make sure my hair was as straight as it could get, which that’s a chore because it’s curly on the bottom, but I tried my best! I combined the shirt with a suede (don’t worry it’s vintage) waistcoat. Not 100% exact, but as close as I could get.
It took me a long time to get that hair length because I dyed my hair way lighter than it is naturally and I straighten it because I have no choice otherwise I look dumb, but I’m basically there and I want to keep going! Henna and coconut oil are working wonders! Sure I will have a boring hair colour and I’ll look like a vampire, but it will be the healthiest it’s been in years and isn’t that good?
5. Paul Weller
Ah yes, how can I forget The Modfather? Like Steve Marriott was to the 60s, Paul Weller was for the late 70s and early 80s, during the mod revival. Dressing up as a guy is so much easier than dressing up as a girl. You can literally reuse so many pieces and no one bats an eye, but if you’re a girl and you repeat outfits, how dare you! In this look, I reused half of the Dave Davies look – the jacket and the black flares – yeah I know flares aren’t accurate, but they’re the only kind of trousers I look good in.
Paul Weller is an absolute style icon and music icon and being American, it’s hard to find other Americans into The Jam. Seriously though, Americans are missing out on good music. One of my favourite music videos of The Jam is the one for “Going Underground” and I had the stuff to recreate Paul Weller’s look. I remember seeing the scarf I was wearing at a vintage shop in Dublin and I was like this is perfect, very Paul Weller and I made the button that I’m wearing back when I was 17 or 18 – it reads: “Mod: A way of life”. I’m not as obsessed with the mod subculture as I used to be, but it’s something so classic and so timeless that if I have no idea what to wear, it’s a safe bet that you look put together. I’m not a partier, but the music and fashion of the mod subculture will always have a place in my heart, even if I am going around dressed like a glam rocker, hippie, dandy, witch, or rocking a fairy tale looking prairie dress.
A couple years ago I dressed up in a Cher inspired outfit, but I have to say I’ve stepped up my game since. While browsing through Instagram getting ideas for my Halloween project, I came across this photo of Cher in a star print jumpsuit and it reminded me of a dress that I have with star print bell sleeves. Jumpsuits aren’t really my thing since I have an annoying body type to deal with – you try having a long torso and having an hourglass shape and trying to find clothes that work! Before anyone says I’m insulting myself, I didn’t say my body was ugly – just that clothing companies don’t have much that works for me. These knee high boots were gift from my mum because she saw them on sale and thought they would work for me. Perfect for this Cher costume! Here’s the Cher inspired look I did a couple years ago. Not really based off any particular outfit but I know she loved striped bell bottoms and crop tops. If only I could pull it off as well as her:
Cher is absolutely stunning and has some of the best dress sense of anyone from the time period and I look like a potato in comparison, but I gave it my best shot and tried to imitate the pose, despite my bad knees. Here’s a better picture below of the outfit, better yet, I’m more comfortable!
7. Laura Nyro
One of my favourite singers of the 60s and some people have even said I look similar to her, especially if I have my natural hair colour. She was such a brilliant songwriter and I think her songs deserve so much more credit. Covers of her songs get a lot of credit, but her original versions are so much better in my opinion – so good that I can’t listen to any of the covers. Songs like “Wedding Bell Blues”, “Eli’s Comin'”, “Blowin’ Away”, “Save the Country”, “Stoned Soul Picnic”, and “And When I Die” have gotten me through quarantine. She’s a musician I relate to in a bunch of ways. She’s bisexual, she’s part Jewish, she was passionate about animal rights, and it’s awesome to see such an iconic woman with a similar body type to me and not the same old very tall thin beanpole look (which I think is beautiful, but I don’t look like that). I found this picture of her and I noticed I have a dress with a similar colour scheme so why not include her in the Halloween challenge?
When I put these pictures together, I like putting a song quote when I can think of one that resonates with me and this quote from “And When I Die” was something I can relate to – “All I ask of living is to have no chains on me”. It makes me think of how yes there has been progress in women’s rights, racial equality, and LGBT rights since the 60s, there’s still a long way to go and laws don’t mean attitude changes.
I still don’t feel fully free for many reasons: capitalism, racism, antisemitism, misogyny, homophobia, and ableism. In capitalism, it’s work or starve and people only care about themselves. I’ve dealt with a lot of racism for being mixed – people saying I shouldn’t claim my Native side and I shouldn’t even mention my grandfather being part Black because I don’t “look Black” or “look Native”, but if I dare only call myself white – I’ll get accused of whitewashing. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t. White supremacists would just see me as a “dirty Jew”, but full Jews would just see me as some sort of “mongrel” and fake Jew. I’ve had full Jews tell me I can’t make jokes about being Jewish. Guess I don’t belong anywhere. My experiences being mixed are exactly the same as what I experience being bisexual. I always have to justify myself. I have to explain why I married young. I have to dispel stereotypes like the fact I’m not a promiscuous person just because I like men and women. No one ever assumes straight people want to have sex with every person of the opposite sex. Ableism? Dealt with it in school and in job searches. Apparently having mild autism is “not disabled enough” because I did well in school and can speak well. I sometimes deal with condescending comments because people don’t expect much of me because of my disability. And I don’t want to get started on how women are treated in workplaces, doctor’s offices, any male dominated situations.
8. Wendy Testaburger
One of two not classic rock looks and this one is the most removed, but I’m a huge fan of South Park and I have the clothes for it and I can do my own vintage inspired interpretation of Wendy, or rather her as an art student in Paris. I mean isn’t that a very Wendy thing to do? Go to Paris and study art?
Should I do a Disneybound sort of thing with the other South Park characters where I colour coordinate looks with their outfits in the show? That sounds like a cool idea. Lately, I’ve been playing Stick of Truth and I just finished it and I had a lot of fun. The Pandemic Special was funny too.
Personality wise I see a lot of similarities between me and Wendy. Outspoken, progressive, good student, and I don’t think Cartman would like me, but that’s a good thing. Like Wendy, I don’t really care what the trends are and I’m not one to just go with the crowd and do whatever they’re doing. I’m quite happy doing my own thing and as I’ve gotten older I feel more secure. I only wish I had more confidence in my youth. Well, it’s never too late to develop it.
9. Ann Wilson
Ann Wilson is one of the rock stars I relate most to as someone who moved around a lot growing up and was an outcast because it was hard to make friends. Growing up, I struggled a bit with my weight and even had an eating disorder when I was in my late teens where I’d starve, skip meals, and use laxatives to maintain my weight at a tiny 7.5 stone (105 lb to the Americans). She’s also one of the most stylish musicians I can think of and she would put together her own outfits in the 70s, no need for a stylist. Her Little Queen look is one of my favourites ever: a black renaissance faire looking dress. I don’t exactly have that, but you get the idea of what I’m going for. Here are a couple psychedelic edits:
Naturally I’m small enough (about a US 2 or 4 depending on how much bust/butt room the clothes have), but well it’s not Halloween or classic rock unless you camp it up and turn it up to 11. Heart experienced a lot of sexism in the 70s and one of the sexist things they’d be called was “Led Zeppelin with tits” and later in the 80s they had a tour literally called The Cleavage Tour… I kid you not. Anyway to turn this look up to 11, I tightlaced so my boobs would practically pushed up to my collarbone and my waist is snatched for the non-existent gods. Sounds painful, right? Well it’s really not. If anything, I’m more relaxed and it’s way way way less painful than bras which always dig into my shoulders and ribcage.
Yeah I know you’re like “Really queen? Like Gone With The Wind and Emma Watson made it sound like absolute medieval torture.” I can handle it for about 5-6 hours before I’m like “aight imma change into my pyjamas”. As I am a responsible adult (or at least like to think I am) and I like to look out for my readers and some of you may be young and malleable, I need to post a disclaimer about corsets (as I will sometimes wear them under my outfits to enhance my shape and to relieve pain – I’ve literally never publicly disclosed this before because I didn’t want anyone to think I’m a weirdo, but I really don’t want to give people an unhealthy body image). There are good channels out there on YouTube that bust myths on historical dress like Bernadette Banner and Karolina Zebrowska.
- Please buy from a reputable shop!!! Don’t cheap out, especially on any body modifications (tattoos, plastic surgery, piercings, etc). There are brands out there that are absolute rubbish. Do your research! Know your measurements and make sure the size chart is thorough. Basically the more parts of your body any garment covers and the closer the fit, the more measurements you’ll want to know. If you’re experiencing pinching and nerve pain, it doesn’t fit! Stop what you’re doing! Don’t harm yourself. And this should go without saying, but wait until you’re 18 before considering corsets/waist training/etc. You want to be of sound mind and you want to make sure you’re totally done growing.
- Go easy and don’t obsess over numbers or compete with others. I am very close to closing my 22″ but that didn’t happen overnight (actually took a few months but I don’t do this daily or even regularly because I’m lazy and I have nowhere to go because of COVID). Even just a small reduction I could see a difference. If you rush in, then you’ll be really uncomfortable and you’ll feel discouraged and unmotivated. Like stretching your earlobes, this is a kind of body modification, go too fast and you hurt yourself. Everyone is different and don’t compare yourself to others, compare yourself to yourself (this really goes for literally anything). Progress isn’t linear so don’t freak out if you plateau or can’t go smaller. Human bodies bloat and have days where you can’t handle much. Listen to your body and know your limits.
- Don’t skip the break in period (which is about 2 weeks at 2 hrs/day, but can be longer)! To piggyback on the last point, breaking in is super important because it may not look like it but corsets are heavy because of the metal inside (trust me though when it’s on you won’t feel the weight) and need time to mould to you. This is the biggest amateur mistake and I think the reason Hollywood actresses complain so much about period costuming – no one explains this to them! With each wear it gets way more comfortable. I think of it like Doc Martens. I love my Docs but it took ages to break them in. Now it’s all good. Time for a South Park meme to drive the point home.
Anyway, let’s get back to the main topic: I dressed up like Ann Wilson for Halloween 5 years ago and I wanted to bring back this look and update it slightly with my improved makeup, styling, and editing skills. Below, you can see my look from 2015. As you can see, I’m wearing the same skirt as I did in the below photo. The top I’m wearing there doesn’t fit me anymore because well… I’m not flat chested anymore!
Sometimes I’ve been compared to Ann Wilson appearance wise and I kinda see it. As a bonus, here’s another look I did earlier in the year, when it was much nicer outside, that is similar to a look Ann wore in the 70s. I’m hoping to get another dress similar to this with gigantic sleeves. Like Ann, I’m always pouting and angry looking in photos.
Here’s Ann Wilson’s look:
10. Carl Sagan
Not classic rock, but from the era and my final Halloween look is an edit where I combine two astronomers from the 70s and combine my love of two things: space and classic rock. I’ve loved space longer than I’ve loved classic rock and I’ve probably told this story a bunch of times so bear with me, everyone who have followed me for a long time. When I was a kid, I got into space because of these educational computer games my parents bought for me and because of shows like Magic School Bus and Bill Nye The Science Guy. Later on, I found out about Cosmos and wow what a life changing documentary series. If I could do it all over again, I would have applied myself in maths and tried to go into astronomy. I let my parents and my perfectionism scare me out of it. Or maybe I’m not smart enough to be an astronomer.
One of my favourite moments in Cosmos is the part where Carl Sagan rips astrologers to shreds. It’s classic. But really, think about it. You might know a set of twins who are very very different from each other. I certainly do. If the stars really did have such a profound effect on our lives, how come twins who were born minutes apart can have different personalities and different fates in life? Perhaps it’s because these objects that are trillions of miles away actually don’t have any meaningful effect on our lives. And for the love of science, stop using your zodiac sign or Mercury Retrograde as a cop out for bad behaviour.
There’s a lot of reasons to love Carl Sagan. One other thing I really like about him is that he was pro-marijuana legalisation long before it became a popular opinion that won’t get you cancelled. However, back in the old days, he had to keep his views hidden so he would write pro-weed articles as “Mr X”. He’s said like how some people enjoy wine, he and his wife would enjoy smoking weed. It wasn’t revealed that he was the person behind Mr X until after he died. I still don’t understand why weed is illegal. I hope that in my lifetime it becomes legal worldwide. End the racist war on drugs. No victim, no crime.
Anyway, here are some more photos of my cosplay:
11. Brian May
He’s not the only classic rock astronomer, but the best known of them all for sure. Graduated with a PhD from Imperial College London decades after he left Imperial to tour the world with Queen. Before the band were famous, he got into the famous scientific journal, Nature. He was only about 25 when that happened.
Not enough people talk about his dress sense and I’ve copied quite a few of his looks and I decided to bring it back for Halloween 2020. I mean, Freddie Mercury rightfully got a lot of attention and Freddie definitely was the one who influenced the rest of the band’s aesthetic, especially in the early glam rock years. Personally, the best years of Queen both style and music wise. I really like that at some concerts Brian May will dress a bit like the old days, wearing tops with big bell sleeves. Who says because you’re old you have to dress like a grandpa?
The most challenging part of this look was the hair and I’d have to say this was the hardest look of all to achieve. I naturally have curly hair, but it’s only the bottom half that’s curly and it’s not anywhere as curly as Brian’s hair. In my immediate family my hair is the straightest, but it’s not straight (haha my hair’s just like me). My dad’s hair in his youth was kinda like Bob Dylan’s. My brother has an Afro that he will often grow out and we call him Afroman. And then there’s me… Naturally my hair looks like Jimmy Page’s or Rod Argent’s, but it was quite curly when I was a kid.
But I have a lot of family with his type of hair. My mum’s hair naturally looks like his but even thicker, but my mum obsessively straightens it. Almost all of her half siblings have the same kind of hair, but a couple of them have hair more like Slash. It’s a common hair texture among mixed Venezuelans.
I curled my hair by cutting strips of fabric from an old shirt, a technique called rag curls. Since I have nearly waist length hair and my hair is naturally straight at the top, that means the top couldn’t be curly, but I did my best and when I took out the rag curlers my hair shrunk in length to a bit longer than shoulder length. My aunt was worried I was cutting my hair! Ahh don’t worry, I spent too much time growing it out to cut it. I love my super long hair.
Sure, not 100% accurate, but remember that Brian May straightened his hair for years because curly hair was not in style in the 60s and when you straighten your hair repeatedly, it loses its natural curl pattern and it takes time for your hair to reset and go back to its true natural form. So that explains his hair getting curlier and curlier through the 70s and 80s.
I have dressed up like Brian May a lot. I mean his dress sense in the early 70s was everything and I had and still have an obsession with Queen. The outfit I picked is the same as the one I wore in the second picture – black bell sleeve top, black bell bottoms, and of course the clogs, his trademark shoes of the 70s.
And here’s a bonus meme (probably the one I’m most proud of):
Here’s the final picture where I photoshop the two 70s astronomers and to me this symbolises my love of space. classic rock, and eras of the past.
Which Halloween look was your favourite? Who are you dressing up as for Halloween? Share your thoughts in the comments section! 🙂
Shoutout to my friend Patrick for supporting the blog!
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