Pre-Makeover Pretty Woman: The One Skimpy Costume That Actually Makes Sense

Even if some rich dude wanted to give me a makeover, I’d be all, “I’ll take luxurious bubble baths in your hotel suite that’s bigger than my apartment building but I’m keeping this wig on.”

I can’t be the only person who saw Pretty Woman as a kid and totally wanted to be a prostitute when I grew up, right? I’m not sure what it says about me, but I’m gonna go ahead and decide it says more about my mother, who sat me down to watch the movie with her more than once while cooing, “It’s so romaaantic! Richard Geeeeere!”

Pretty Woman came out the year I was born, and I can’t remember the first time I watched it, but if I had to guess I would say I’ve seen it approximately a bajillion times. I love it, seriously. I love Richard Gere’s suits, I love that Julia Roberts helps him drive Phil’s car, I love her dress at the opera, I love her best friend Kit, I love and hate Jason Alexander, I love the fairytale and “she saves him right back” and, you guys, this movie is in my top ten forever and ever, amen.

But here’s what I love most: Julia’s, aka Vivian’s, look at the beginning of the film. Her hotness may have been a significant factor in my earliest career goals, but can you blame me? Black lined eyes, red lips, a platinum-blonde wig. Oh, and that dress!

First, the costume. It’s way easy to DIY. I was intimidated about it at first, and tried to find one available ready-made online, but then I was like, “I’m mega-broke” and also, “I didn’t take Arts & Crafts as a legitimate college course for naught!” and I got myself to the mall.

And what better time to create a DIY '90s fictional prostitute costume than now in this The Year of Our Lord Crop Top. Stroll into one of those Forever-Love-Rocks-Baby-Forever-type stores. Maybe take a Valium first, because these stores are mega-stressful. There are too many half-clothes and too much neon, and the store is always swarming with grimy youths, and I usually feel like someone’s weird homeschooled virgin cousin when I walk in. But this is America, land of the free, home of the bodycon. I am the nastiest of gals. Dubstep!

So, get a tight blue miniskirt. Hey look, I found you one! I know it’s hard for some people to spend money. Not me. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s feeling in control of my life in any way. I burn dollar bills for warmth. But don’t spend a lot of money on this outfit! This skirt’s like, $8. If you never wear it again, you can donate it, and some thrifty tween will be forever indebted to you.

Also, buy a white crop top. Or you can use a plain white tank top and cut it off too. Endless possibilities. I didn’t crop my top quite as much as Vivian crops her top, mostly because my very rude and not at all thoughtful manfriend just brought me back about a dozen different chocolate bars from Europe. (JK, he is an amazing genius whom I adore and I will never feel guilty about chocolate.) Crop your top to the level of crop you desire.

Cut the sleeves off that $5 white crop top you bought. Then, grab a shower curtain ring. Put the ring slightly inside the bottom of the front of the shirt, and then use a few safety pins to pin the hem of the shirt up around the ring. Then, use some of the extra fabric from those sleeves and do the same thing at the bottom of the ring; then pin that fabric to the inside of the front of your skirt. I’m a dummy and didn’t get any photos of this process, mostly because it took all of four minutes. From the photos below, I think the construction is pretty obvious.

Then, pull on those thigh high black boots you don’t regret buying at all, and drape a big red coat over your slouchy shoulder bag. For extra details: wear a couple of big bracelets on one arm (I don’t really wear jewelry, but I did wrap a headband around my wrist), put your house key on a chain around your neck, put a safety pin in the side of your boot (“$100 an hour and you have a safety pin holding your boot up?”), keep a variety pack of condoms in your purse (being a safety girl is important at all times and not just Halloween, duh).

So here’s my costume, featuring the way my hair looks when I let it air dry in a parking garage.

I had a really good idea to take these photos on top of my favorite parking garage. (Everyone has a favorite parking garage, right?) But then we got there and I was like, “Oh, wow. It’s really dark here.” And I still had to do all my makeup. Big mistake. Big. Huge. So, I did all this makeup in the dimly and fluorescently lit reflection of the rear view mirrors on my BF’s Cadillac. It felt strangely appropriate though, don’t you think?

I started the look wearing only a light layer of CoverGirl Clean Whipped Crème Foundation.

The first part of the look is the eyes. They’re simple. I smeared some white shadow from NYC’s Individual Eyes Palette (Smoky Charcoals) onto my lids. Then I lined my upper line with e.l.f.’s Cream Eyeliner using a small angled brush.

I wasn’t feeling entirely capable in my lining skills at this point, so I switched to a pencil for the bottom line.

I used Rimmel’s Soft Kohl Kajal Eye Liner Pencil to line my waterline as well as a line right below my lashes. I used my fingers (sorry!) to smudge up the lines, and to bring the bottom line to the top line at the outer corners of my eyes.

Then I applied several layers of Marc Jacobs Lash Lifter Gel Volume Mascara on my top and bottom lashes. I’ve heard some negative reviews of this mascara, but I’m all, haters to the left, because I love this mascara.

OH, and fun story: At this point, the location of our shoot changes entirely because security was all, “You can’t be here!” and while my status as a certified PYT can usually help me evade any and all law enforcement related situations, my apparel seemed to negate my adorable dimples and childlike nature. So, if you’re wearing this costume at midnight downtown, maybe don’t trespass on private property. I then went to another parking garage and security FOLLOWED me and my posse and was all, “We will take you to jail,” and I was all, “Fifty bucks, grandpa,” while smacking my gum and twirling my hair around my middle finger. JK I was like, “Yes, sir. Right away. So sorry.” And then as we drove away, I side eyed him and his golf cart so hard I pulled an ocular muscle.

So then, using my fingers (sorry, again!), I rubbed some Tarte Cheek Stain in Natural Beauty onto my cheekbones. Then I lined my lips with CoverGirl Lip Perfection Lip Liner, and I drew the line out just a bit beyond my natural lip line.

Then I filled it all in with OCC Lip Tar in NSFW. Even though you obviously won’t be kissing on the lips while in character, you don’t want your lipstick to come off while you’re doing other things… like eating strawberries and drinking champagne! Or flossing!

See how bleary my eyes look? They’re super-sensitive, and the combination of liner, chilly wind and Officer Buzzkill had my eyes watering and turning really red. Which didn’t help the whole, “I’m not doing anything illegal, I swear” argument. Anyway, be nice to your eyes.

And then, I pulled my hair back into a low pony, and tucked it all under my trusty wig. I got this wig on Amazon for about $15. While, as a recovering musical theatre kid and a fan of Drag Race, I do appreciate a good quality wig, I feel like you can use a lower-quality wig on Halloween. When you’re dressed as a hooker.

I actually really like this wig. It came as a long blonde wig, but I chopped it off to the length I wanted. Most of the “bob” wigs I found in costume stores were too short and looked way cheaper than this one.

I sprayed the wig a bit with some Oscar Blandi Pronto Texture & Volume spray to make it look sort of messy and less polished. Use a wig cap, or some nude pantyhose, if you have tons of hair.

I don’t know about you guys, but I think this look is hot. Even if some rich dude wanted to give me a makeover, I’m not sure I’d let him. I’d be all, “Dude, I’ll take luxurious bubble baths in your hotel suite that’s bigger than my apartment building but I’m keeping this wig on.” But yeah, I’d still totally take his credit cards for a spin down Rodeo Drive. I could spend a profane amount of money. We’re talking really offensive.

Walking around the city like this is mega-fun. You know how Tinkerbell needs you to clap or whatever so she can survive? That’s basically how I am, except with slack-jawed dude stares and shade from basic bitches.

This wig maybe went to my head. I was strutting hard. I think I’m gonna wear this to go shopping at some stuck-up boutique soon.

So, in conclusion, everyone should dress up as Vivian Ward for Halloween because she is crazy hot and Pretty Woman is the greatest movie ever made.

Do you prefer the post-makeover, opera version of Vivian? (You’re wrong.) Is this also your favorite movie? Did you also learn everything you know about womanhood from Julia Roberts films? Do you floss?

OK, go listen to that Roy Orbison song while you make this costume happen and then post pictures for me.