Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cruella De Vil Costume Tutorial // DIY

*I LOVE HALLOWEEN!! For more costume ideas and my DIY (and money saving) tips and tricks check out this post! It includes links to all my other DIY costumes as well! Happy Haunting! XO - Alexandra*

It's that time of year again! Time to think of a creative (often last minute!) costume for Halloween. Last year I resolved to decide on and pull off a costume in advance of Halloween... but the week of I was scrambling around again trying to pull together a costume.

Luckily, Cruella De Vil is just the costume for a last minute decider (like me)! 

Read on for some DIY inspiration and variations, and see how I pulled off this entire look for just $70 (but you could do it for less!). 

First off, why do we love Cruella?

She's mean (cruel is in her name after all), she's pushy, she blows smoke in everyone's faces and she wants to skin a bunch of puppies for a coat! What's to love there? - Nothing. But, sometimes the most ridiculous (and awful) characters are the most iconic. Cruella is fashionable and unmistakable amongst other villains. The black and white hair alone makes us think of no one else.

So, how to we nail down her style? -first, by taking a look at her portrayal in the movie versions of 101 Dalmations (yes, it was a book first!).

Classic Cruella from the (beloved!) 1961 cartoon version of 101 Dalmations is always dressed in the same slinky black dress, oversized fur coat, pointed shoes, red gloves and (furry) handbag. She's got crazy hair, gray skin, yellow eyes, dramatic makeup, an evil laugh, and green smoke constantly pouring out of her cigarette. If you pay close attention, you will also notice the slit in her dress, the panty hose, and the jade jewelry.

Glenn Close in the 1996 and 2000 live action movie versions of 101 (and 102) Dalmations took Cruella to the next level by varying her ensembles throughout the films. You will find Close in fur, feathers, hats, capes, cloaks... every animal print. But ALWAYS over the top. Keeping closely to the color scheme of black, white, and red. Close opted to look a little more like an eccentric woman of high fashion than a graying corpse. She didn't look like her skin was dying, her eyes were not yellow. Instead, she showed off a very fair complexion taking cues from the original Cruella's exaggerated makeup. While her hair is always black and white, her wigs varied throughout the film, which is great for people searching for a costume wig! --Anything black and white goes!

So how do you achieve so much, at last minute for this costume? -- follow this formula, and you can't go wrong!

Cruella's look, (while over-the-top) is very easy to achieve with these basic items: A black and white wig, faux fur, a slinky dress, heels, fancy jewelry, and some animal print. Luckily, these are things are easy to come by, relatively inexpensive, and best of all: can often be found in your own closet!

In depth detail & variations:

The Dress: To start pick out any slinky dress in black, white or red that hits about knee length. Most women own an LBD of some sort--I chose red because I ended up finding the perfect dress for me at the thrift store! If you use a black or white dress, just remember to use red accessories.

The Shoes: Pair the dress with heels (or pointed toe flats!) again in black, white, or red work well. -- And again, most women own some basic dressy shoe! I already had the red heels from my Poison Ivy costume a few years ago! --this is also a great place to add animal print or snake skin!

'Fur': Top the dress and shoes off with some sort of fake fur accent, a convincing fake fur coat is hard to find and kind of expensive. Luckily, the 'fur' look has been fairly trendy, so finding 'fur' scarves, hats, gloves, vests etc. isn't too difficult. It's certainly something that you could own already, but if you end up purchasing something try to make sure that you can wear it again. I found this 'fur' infinity scarf at Target for $25 last year, which also looks really nice with winter sweaters! Twisting and draping it a little allowed me to wear it as more of a shawl for this costume, which is much more 'glamorous' looking.

Jewelry: Cruella is certainly a lady of luxury, so finding oversized costume jewelry is a must. I happened to have a ($2) flapper-length string of fake pearls from a party a few years back, so that worked perfectly in this case. However, diamond-y statement jewelry can also fit the bill! If you are wearing black or white, this could also be a time to throw in a pop of red! Really anything goes here!

Animal Print: It doesn't hurt to throw in animal print for good measure. I chose to do this in my handbag mostly because I already had this bag.... but animal print isn't hard to come by. You could probably find a cartfull of animal print at the thrift store that would work if you don't have something already. You could also do this in the print of your shoes, leopard print or snake skin print would also work well!

The Wig: The wig is probably something that you don't currently have in your closet... (I'm just guessing here...) so just see what you can find! I found this one at a local costume store for just $20. There are many options online and in stores, just find what works for you. I loved the price of this one, but not the style (it is actually 3/4 black in the back and 1/4 white in the front, not quite right), so I used bobby pins and hair spray to 'style' it into a Glenn Close Cruella-esque style. -Just have fun with it!

Want to take your costume to the next level? Including some of these extra items can really add to the illusion. - and I bet you own at least one of them!

If you would like to make your Cruella look more detailed, adding one or more of these items can create that depth in your ensemble. Most of these items and their variations are very inexpensive! Be creative! 

Gloves: Long silky gloves are a fun (and inexpensive!) way to make your costume look more glamorous. I purchased my white pair for just $10 at a costume store. Depending on the color of your dress this is another item that would work in either black, white, or red. Red is especially great if you are wearing a black or white dress and shoes. --Bonus: these can be worn with other costumes later!

Cigarette Holder: A cigarette holder is an easy and extremely inexpensive item you could add to your costume. I purchased mine for just $2 at the costume store. -- This could also be used with several other costumes later, like a flapper or Holly Golightly. 

Feathers: Including feathers is another way to add extravagance and exaggeration to your costume. Glenn Close's Cruella De Vil often wears feathers, both in addition to and instead of animal print. So, think of this as an alternative if you'd like! Feathers could be purchased at a craft store and added to existing pieces (like a handbag). Or you could purchase an item such as a hat, handbag, boa, earrings etc. with feathers to complete the look. I happened to have this fun little hat (that I'd never worn), and it ended up being the perfect occasion to wear it! 

Tights: Cruella is often wearing panty hose or tights. Adding a cheap pair of fishnets or sheer black tights can be an easy way to amp up the glamour. But feel free to be creative! Black lace, two toned, poka dotted, lined etc. would all be great options!

Lipstick: Lastly, adding some red lipstick finishes off any Cruella costume. You probably already have some, but if you don't it is inexpensive, easy to come by, and can be fun to play around with for your everyday looks. Pair it with a smoky eye and bold blush for that over-the-top Cruella look.

Just $70?!? 
(and it looks a heck of a lot better than these more expensive options- which can't be worn again!)

Really the only non-reusable piece is the wig. That is pretty much a Cruella-only item. But for $20 that's really ok with me!

What do you guys think? 

I hope that this post helps you create a Cruella De Vil costume that both looks good, and is easy on the wallet! 

What has been your favorite DIY Costume?




  1. Love it!! Funny thing is, my 4 year old has been asking to be Cruella De Vil for halloween. We'll see if it happens- these are some great ideas :)

  2. Very fun costume idea!!

  3. Thanks Sarah! I was really surprised by how easy it was. It looks so complicated, but it is made up of easy to find/already have/cheap items. Good luck with her costume! XO

  4. Thanks Sarah! It was fun to be her for a night.. :) XO

  5. Love it! Villain costumes are the best!

  6. Thank you Hilde! It was super fun! :) XO

  7. **gasp** this is WONDERFUL! you're so creative!

  8. Thank you so much!! I had so so so so so much fun in this costume! :) I love to thrift up elaborate ideas, so I'm not breaking the bank, have a project, and a fairly elaborate costume. XO


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