I’ve been in Israel for 3 plus years. That means I’ve had the opportunity to dress up for Purim for the past 3 years.
So what makes these past three Purims really special for me? The fact that every single year I’ve had a costume for Purim, I’ve made the entire outfit myself out of my own clothes.
Although they sell them in the stores and on the streets, one doesn’t need to buy an elaborate costume to look good on this holiday. A few accessories and good makeup will suffice.
This year, I made my best outfit yet. After a friend saw my clothes, she came up with the idea that I should be a mime. I took a black and white striped bodysuit from Castro and an American Apparel pocket skirt. I also found some sheer black tights and those black and white Steve Madden oxford flats that unfortunately I almost never wear.
I bought suspenders, cheap white gloves (they ripped after two wears) and a black bowler hat. When I could’t find the white face paint I wanted, I researched online and found that baby powder mixed with water works just as well. Except it didn’t. So I just caked the white baby powder all over my face…and it worked. Painted some marks with black eyeliner and VOILA! My amazing Purim costume for Purim 2011!
Last year, I had two Purim parties to attend. For the annual Purim party at my regular bar, I decided to be an 80s girl, because I realized that my clothes are very 80s–loud, colorful and I love neon. Of course, I typically downplay loud decorative leggings with a black shirt, but not this time! Purim really is the only time I feel I can go all out. While I pride myself on having style, unfortunately I’m more afraid to take risks than I would like. Not on Purim though.
I worked my outfit around my American Apparel leggings. Then I used a face-emblazoned t-shirt from Castro (starting to see a trend?) I covered it with a neon pink mesh tank that I typically wear underneath another black mesh tank from H&M (they’re a matching set I bought when I was in Amsterdam). Purple leg warmers, bangles and a green sequined bow (which didn’t really go anywhere) were the finishing touches.
That same year, I was invited to a Shushan Purim party in Jerusalem (Purim there happens one day after Purim in the rest of Israel.) It was at the house of religious friends and so I had to be modest…and still dress up! I remembered a bright red peasant top that I bought from Alloy, and paired it with a long tiered skirt from Express. Then I borrowed decorative scarves from my roommate (you can find them easily at Shuk HaCarmel and in Yafo) and tied them around my skirt and my long locks. Bangles and a borrowed tambourine completed the look…and I was a gypsy!
The first time I styled my own costume for Purim was in 2008. That year, I decided to rework an old Halloween costume from the past, because I loved menswear and I knew I had the pieces. I was a gangster, taking a cap-sleeved white button down from an Israeli label called Jump and pairing it with a short, floppy pinstripe skirt from Express in America. I bought suspenders (love those! I should start wearing them constantly) and a red tie and picked up a pinstriped Fedora from a store on Shenkin St. I made sure to add my crocodile-textured black leggings from American Apparel and played up bright red lips and heavy eyeliner. And I was set.
The moral of this story is…you don’t have to spend tons of money on finding a costume for Purim…or Halloween. Just check out your own closet!