Six easy Halloween costumes built from a white button-down

Art by Mags Ocampo
Words by Neal Corpus

Time to raid your closet.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: Halloween. Betcha didn’t notice ‘cause Scorpio season’s been a bitch so far and it’s that time of the year when everything suddenly goes by too fast — there’s just something about the “ber” months, no? We all love Halloween, and just as much as we’d all like to go all-out in a thought-out, full-on, all caps COSTUME, not everybody has the time. I mean, these are hard times we’re living in, y’all.

But not all hope is lost: you still have your trust ol’ closet to lean on. Let’s start with one of the basic building blocks of any sensible wardrobe: a white button-down shirt. If you don’t have one (how dare you), a quick trip to the mall — or perhaps the BENCH/ online store, because ain’t nobody got time for traffic — should do the trick. Easy.

Tom Cruise / Joel Goodsen from Risky Business (1983)
Let’s start with the simplest. There’s a classic scene from Risky Business where Tom Cruise dances in his living room wearing nothing but a button-down, white socks, and underwear. Pretty easy, right? An extra pro tip: blast Bob Seger’s Old Time Rock and Roll to get in the mood — and make sure you’ve got a nice pair of BENCH/ Body undies in case your shirt gets winded.


Uma Thurman / Mia Wallace from Pulp Fiction (1994)

From one pop culture canon to the next, a white button-down sure can get you a lot of different looks. Mia Wallace is another easy costume to pull off: all you need on top of the white button-down is a black bobbed wig with full bangs, a cigarette, and a dash of fake blood on your nose and shirt and you’re good to go. Make sure you put on that Uma Thurman attitude for that extra oomph.

Paulo Avelino’s Young STAR cover
You gotta admit: there’s just something about Paulo Avelino that makes all the girls (and boys!) swoon. And a true Paulo stan would know that he’s extra swoon-worthy on his Young STAR cover from the time his movie I’m Drunk I Love You came out. The look: a white button-down (of course), classic wayfarer frames, a toothbrush, and a bed head to top it off.

Britney Spears in …Baby One More Time
There are a couple of iconic Britney looks you can do, like the classic MTV VMA performance of I’m A Slave 4 U, or the red bodysuit from Oops!…I Did It Again, but really, how are you going to put those together in time? Britney’s school girl look is probably something you can find in your closet — time to whip out that black mini skirt (pleated is preferred) and gray cardigan. Put your hair in pigtails and don an “innocent” look to complete the look.

A Droog from Clockwork Orange (1971)
Impress your friends with your ~pop culture knowledge~ by dressing up as one of the Droogs from Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. Pair your white button-down with white pants, a black top hat, suspenders, army boots, and a jock strap worn on top of your pants. Top it off with fake lashes on one eye and a cane to round it off.

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