Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My Little Edie Grey Gardens Costume

 After I saw the Gray Gardens HBO movie, I knew I wanted to be Edith Bouvier Beale or “Little Edie” (she was named after her mother who everyone called “Big Edie”) for Halloween. This year husband and I are going to a Halloween party in the Short North, our arts district. If anyone should know who Little Edie was or about Grey Gardens, it would be this crowd.

Little Edith Bouvier Beale was known for wearing scarves to cover her alopecia. When their fortune ran out and Gray Gardens disintegrated into a filthy mess that violated every health and housing code on the books, she obviously did not have money to update her wardrobe. Instead, she wore what she had in odd combinations. Tablecloths became skirts, wildly patterned hose, sweaters became head coverings to create what she called “bohemian” or “revolutionary" costumes.

I took my cue from this clip of Little Edie describing her “best costume for the day” in the 1975 Grey Gardens documentary.

Drew Barrymore recreates this scene in the HBO Grey Gardens movie.


I routed around put together my own Little Edie costume from things I had in my closet. I wore my brown pencil skirt upside down and paired it with a turtleneck and scarf. I wore patterned tights one year as part of my witch costume. I bought the bow pin at a thrift store and wore it when I played a noble at the Ohio Renaissance Festival. A pair of Assets stands in for wearing my underwear (what she calls "pants" in the video clip) as outwear. (And I get the bonus of tummy control during the party - whoo!)

Using what you have on hand to make a Halloween costume is a green way to save money. Living in real life Grey Gardens like squalor is not.

 My interpretation of a staunch Little Edie.

It also goes without saying, that eco doesn't have to be ugly!

Or boring.

Or a normal.
I’m glad I tried this on before the party because I found out that it’s hard to walk up stairs in an upside down pencil skirt. I’m going to open up the seam with a seam ripper and put it on with a few safety pins.

Then if I need to, I can always wear the skirt as a cape.

What are you going to be for Halloween?

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