Halloween is just around the corner, and this year denim will be part of many people’s costumes, according to Kendall Becker, director of fashion and editorial strategy at trend intelligence platform Trendalytics.
Here are nine Halloween costume ideas you can create with the denim already in your closet.
Barbie and Ken
Come on Barbie, let’s go party.
The cultural phenomenon and star of the summer’s highest-grossing film—whose box-office haul blew past $1.4 billion last month—is poised to take over Halloween as one of the most popular costumes this season. From Barbie to Ken, consumers can use denim to create the “perfect replicated” look, according to Becker.
From Barbie’s pink Western outfit to Ken’s coordinating denim vest and jeans, there are seemingly endless ways to put together Barbie-inspired looks with the fashion you already own.
The deluge of Barbie-themed apparel available in the market this year helps costume efforts, too. Wrangler, Gap, Zara and more have dropped fashion collections inspired by the popular Mattel toy.
“With the recent resurgence of Barbiecore fashion, Barbie and Ken are expected to be frontrunners for some of the most popular Halloween costumes of 2023, and the Wrangler x Barbie collection dropped just in time to complete the look,” said Jenni Broyles, Wrangler’s senior vice president. “The collection channels the spirit of Barbie with a western flair, providing the authenticity needed for any cowgirl outfit.”
Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake
Oh baby baby, it’s time for a nostalgic costume.
One of the most iconic red carpet looks of all time was singer Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake’s look for the 2001 American Music Awards.
The early aughts “It” couple wore matching denim fits, but with unique approaches. Spears wore a patchwork gown paired with a rhinestone choker necklace while Timberlake wore a light-wash Canadian tuxedo with a matching denim cowboy hat.
The look has since become a staple in pop culture, leading other celebrities to recreate the style with their own twist. In 2014, “Firework” singer Katy Perry walked the VMAs red carpet in a custom Versace number nearly identical to the one Spears wore in 2001. Perry’s date, rapper Riff Raff, also wore a custom denim suit similar to Timberlake’s. “Just when I thought the denim dress had retired … you bring it back!” Spears tweeted at Perry in 2014. “You looked amazing tonight.”
To recreate Spears’ look with items in your closet, grab a denim corset and a trendy maxi skirt. Add Y2K crystal accessories, like a belt and necklace, to complete the outfit. For Timberlake’s look, style light-wash jeans and a matching denim blazer or jacket. Don’t forget the sunglasses and silver chain.
When it comes to “Grease” costumes, the only rule is that there are no rules.
The 1978 film, which starred John Travolta as Danny Zuko—and leader of the T-Birds greaser gang—and Olivia Newton-John as Sandy Olsson, featured multiple iconic ensembles that still have staying power today. Even Harry Styles dressed as Danny for his Halloween concert last year at The Forum in Los Angeles.
Keep it simple like Danny by styling black jeans and a fitted black T-shirt with white socks. Don’t forget to slick back your hair. Or dig out your high-waisted skinny jeans, grab a sexy, off-the-shoulder black top, and step out in Sandy’s transformative final look.
Actress and Rivet 50 honoree Julia Fox is the embodiment of denim’s ecclectisim.
From her March 2022 double-denim look with then-boyfriend Ye to pounding the New York City pavement in deconstructed looks by indie designers, Fox delivers iconic denim looks on the regular.
“The beautiful thing about denim is that it brings everyone together,” Fox told Rivet during Pandora’s New York Fashion Week red carpet event last month.
Fox has multiple denim looks easily replicable for a fashion-forward Halloween look. Her look can even be achieved or DIY’ed by pairing unexpected items, like an underwear set and denim jacket, in your closet—as long as you embody her confidence.
Rihanna might be a “Good Girl Gone Bad,” but her trendsetter denim looks inspire fashion lovers worldwide.
The trick to pulling off Rihanna’s denim style is to play with proportions. In 2012, she paired an oversized denim button-down with embellished denim shorts and thigh-high black leather boots. Fast-forward to 2023, the Savage x Fenty mastermind donned an oversized stonewash denim cape dress and matching jeans with thigh-high slouch denim boots from Y/Project’s Fall 2023 runway.
Rihanna’s most memorable denim moments, however, might be her maternity fashion. In 2022, while pregnant with her first child—a Saint Laurent bralette, a laced Dundas minidress and Y/Project jeans were among her sartorial highlights which triggered a “whole new vibe” in the maternity fashion category.
Now, after the birth of her second child, Riot Rose, Rihanna is posing in denim with her entire family. To recreate one of her latest denim looks—taken with her two children and partner, rapper A$AP Rocky—grab an oversized dark-wash denim jacket and navy blue satin pants. To mimic A$AP Rocky’s outfit, grab a pair of loose-fit jeans and a green and yellow plaid shirt. Don’t forget to grab a baby doll for the full-effect.
It’s Mario time.
Universal’s “The Super Mario Bros. Movie”—featuring Mario, a character created by Japanese video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto in 1981—raked in $1.3 billion at the worldwide box office earlier this year, surpassing Disney’s “Frozen” as the second-biggest animated film of all time, according to Variety.
After incredible success at the box office, Mario is sure to be one costume seen on the streets this Halloween. To achieve the perfect Mario look, all that’s needed are denim overalls, a long-sleeved red T-shirt, a red hat and brown shoes. Bonus points for a Cappy.
Expensive taste might run in the Dutton family’s blood, but dressing up as characters from “Yellowstone”—America’s most popular show, according to Vanity Fair—won’t cost you a penny if you stick to what’s in your closet.
The hit TV show, available to watch on the Peacock streaming platform, stars Oscar-winning Hollywood icon Kevin Costner as John Dutton, the patriarch of the power-hungry Dutton clan, which owns Montana’s biggest cattle-raising estate, the nearly 776,000-acre Yellowstone Dutton Ranch.
To replicate the family’s trademark look, all you need is down-home Western clothing such as cozy plaid flannels or button-denim tops, a leather jacket, cowboy boots and hats, and traditional loose-fit jeans. Don’t forget a chunky big-buckle belt to tie the rugged-and-ready outfit together.
“Top Gun: Maverick”
Halloween goers are cruising into “Top Gun: Maverick” apparel this spooky season.
Last year’s nearly $1.5 billion box-office blockbuster looks to have staying power with Halloween revelers copping the easy-going style of protagonist Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, played by none other than Tom Cruise himself.
To replicate the perfect “Top Gun” look, grab a pair of loose-fit jeans, a fitted white T-shirt and green bomber jacket. Don’t forget to slip on a pair of aviator sunglasses and shoe up in brown boots or combat boots for the full silver-screen effect.
Woody and Jessie
Giddy up, cowboy. It’s time to raid the closet for Western apparel.
One Western look that movie-goers copy year after year is “Toy Story” characters Woody and Jessie’s staple outfits. Produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures, “Toy Story” has garnered massive success, becoming one of the highest-grossing animated movies of all time, according to IMDbPro’s Box Office Mojo. So, it’s no surprise fans choose these two characters to dress up as every year.
To recreate the Woody’s iconic look, start with a pair of dark-wash jeans and add a red-and-yellow plaid shirt paired with a cow print vest. For Jessie, wear a white button-down, dark-wash jeans and cow print chaps. Rounding out their looks are brown accessories, including cowboy boots and hats, belts and a sheriff’s badge for Woody.