I Got Absolutely Fabulous Halloween Costume Tips Straight from Edina and Patsy

I know it's July, but knowing how seriously you guys take Halloween, I couldn't NOT ask Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley for guidance.

I have a long mental list of dream Halloween costumes, many of which rely on a partner. In fact, I wrote about my favorite couples-costume ideas for xoJane two years ago, and even more than Buddy Holly and Mary Tyler Moore, even more than Wayne and Garth as Laverne and Shirley, I've long wanted to dress up as Edina Monsoon and Patsy Stone, the perpetually drunk, selfish, image-obsessed BFFs at the center of Absolutely Fabulous.

If you are unfamiliar with Absolutely Fabulous, it's not too late for you to became a truly more whole person. Binge-watch the BBC cult favorite on Hulu, and then go see the long-awaited (and I mean long-awaited — the original series ran from 1992 to 1996) movie when it hits theaters (in the US) this weekend. But just to summarize, AbFab follows the misadventures of PR agent and fashion victim Edina, played by comedy genius Jennifer Saunders, and former model turned magazine fashion director, Patsy, played by actual former model Joanna Lumley — and it is one of the funniest TV series that ever did air.

Obviously, this costume idea is not limited to romantic couples. I wanted to convince one of my best tall friends, Colleen, to be the Patsy to my Edina, but she had to go and move to Seattle (ugh — so far away) so that's not happening any time soon. UNLESS! Alle, are you reading this?

Anyway, due to the new movie, I have a feeling there will be quite a few twosomes dressing up as Patsy and Edina for Halloween this year. And because xoVain takes Halloween very seriously (I know some of you are already deciding on your costumes, and you have my utmost respect), when I had the opportunity to meet Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley at a Time Inc. Q&A earlier this week, I couldn't not ask the women with the most experience dressing as the characters how to create the best, most accurate Absolutely Fabulous Halloween costumes.

"People often tend to dress Patsy like trash, but she’s only been trash twice," Saunders said of the most common mistake people make when trying to dress up as Edina's fashionable best friend.

"The thing with Patsy is you have to have a huge bag, because so much stuff has to go in there," Saunders continued. (And make sure the bag at least looks designer.) "Rubber tubing, hypodermics, pills. Her whole life. And next day’s knickers." You definitely get Halloween bonus points for carrying around props like these.

"And always too-small clothes for Edina," Saunders said about dressing as her own character. "And very uncomfortable shoes. She must never be seen to walk properly; she must always hobble."

"I think Edina would be dressed in orange because it’s very eye-catching," Lumley chimed in. "And quite often it would be caught in the buttocks."

Wedgie: check.

I asked them about the best way to do one's hair and makeup to dress up as Edina and Patsy — after all, Patsy would be nearly unrecognizable without her heavy eye makeup, red lips and blonde updo, and I wouldn't be surprised if 2016 Edina would overdo it with the contouring in obsession with trying to look thinner — but the advice Lumley gave me actually ended up being wisdom you can apply to your everyday life.

"Because I was a model, in those days, we used to do our own makeup. We did our own styling, we did our own hair, our own nails," Lumley recalled. "And I realized that your face is always imperfect and the only thing beauty is, is balance. You can look fabulously interesting if it’s uneven, but what you’ve got to do is try to make your face even.

"Now, all of us have got uneven faces. So look at yourself carefully in the looking glass from each side. Then draw the most enormous mouth you’ve ever seen," she said, dramatically miming putting lipstick basically from ear to ear, nose to chin (echoing similar advice she gave on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon a few nights ago).

"Use your face as a canvas," Lumley continued, encouraging experimentation. "Try ‘good' eyebrows, try pale eyebrows, try no eyebrows; put on lashes; put plenty under your eyes, put nothing under your eyes. See what it’s like. Just use your face as a canvas."

"Above all," she concluded, "when you’re using makeup, don’t try to look like you. Look as though it’s SLAPPED ON."


  • Are you an AbFab fan?
  • Have you ever considered going with a pal as Edina and Patsy for Halloween
  • Are you already brainstorming your costume for this year?