Costuming and Cosplay: Gwen Stefani
Screencaps from the video clip for “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt + notes from when I came up with the idea for the costume + the finished product [polaroid version].
A couple of weeks ago, Glenn and I flew to Sydney to attend Sarah’s “Timeless 18th” birthday party. With the theme “If I Could Turn Back Time”, we were encouraged to come dressed as people/characters/things from the past. Despite my love of costumes and cosplay, I just couldn’t think of anyone to dress up as. I haven’t been working much lately, so I needed to be able to put together the costume fairly cheaply – and all of the ideas that I was coming up with were way too elaborate for my tight budget.
With only a few days to spare, I found inspiration while watching old No Doubt clips on YouTube [as you do], and decided to dress as Gwen Stefani circa 1995. My look was very much inspired by the video clip for “Don’t Speak”, as well as the Tragic Kingdom album artwork. Here’s how I did it.
This part of the costume was the easiest to put together. For the cropped top, I bought two cheap singlets from K-Mart [a plain cut one in black, and a racerback one in white], layered the white one over the black one, and then cut them with a pair of scissors, leaving the black one a centimetre or so longer than the white one. Had I had a little bit more time, I would have hemmed them a little better [either sewn, or at least with some tape], but as this was a very last-minute costume, I left the edges raw. The trousers were a pair of camouflage print cargo pants that Glenn found at the back of his wardrobe. As you couldn’t really see what pants she was wearing in the video clip, I didn’t worry too much about making sure they matched. The cargo pants ended up looking pretty authentic, I thought.
In this photo, you can see the lovely uneven edges where I cut the singlets [in my defense, I was using right-handed scissors and in a hurry], and my handmade jewellery. Photo taken by Glenn.
When you need such a high amount of rhinestones, costume jewellery can be surprisingly expensive. I made most of what I was wearing by sticking cheap jewels [such as these ones] from the craft section of a $2 shop onto pieces of plastic, and securing them with duct tape. The jewels were self-adhesive, so I didn’t use any other glue, but if I were to do it again, I’d probably use a bit of cheap superglue or something, to stop the gems from shedding throughout the night.
The hair and make-up:
When I came up with the idea for this costume, I thought finding the right Marilyn Monroe-esque wig would be the easiest part. It really wasn’t. I ended up buying a Madonna wig [like this one] from the party shop near the Queen Vic Markets, and removing the bow. It doesn’t look too ridiculous in these photos, but it really wasn’t the best wig, and my head was in quite a bit of pain by the end of the night. For the make-up, I kept things simple: foundation, red lipstick, and liquid eyeliner. If you were looking to replicate this look, you could probably throw on some mascara or fake lashes, but I didn’t have either of those things handy. I stuck one of the leftover rhinestones on as the bindi, and drew a teardrop shape around it with the eyeliner. Simple, yet effective.
“Pouting with orange” photos are mandatory when wearing this costume. Photo by Glenn.
One more tip for this costume: don’t forget the orange! I had a bit of a last-minute panic when I realised that I hadn’t bought one, but thankfully Dad saved the day…
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