BAMF Style’s Guide to Halloween

9 Days to Halloween!

Do you wear a costume on Halloween? If so, do you go for something scary, witty, or low-key (I’m thinking three-hole-punch Jim…), or do you prefer something recognizable from pop culture?

I tend to aim for the latter, if for no other reason than I can usually dig into my own closet to find something comfortable. Usually one or two additional pieces need to be thrifted or bought online, but channeling my favorite movie or TV characters has always made Halloween costume hunting a relatively stress-free process.

With Halloween parties kicking into high gear this upcoming weekend, I want to provide a helpful guide for BAMF Style readers in search of costumes based on some of my own experience. For example, I’ve learned to avoid the esoteric (like my 7th grade Halloween costume when I was Robert Redford in The Sting) and embrace costumes with character-defining props, be it Don Draper’s pack of Lucky Strikes or Thomas Magnum’s Detroit Tigers cap.

My goal was to set you up with the elements you need for an easy, comfortable, and – most importantly – stress-free Halloween costume! (Plus… many elements from these costumes can be worn independently and thus expand your wardrobe! Win win.)

BAMF Style Halloween
As Amazon Prime guarantees the speedy shipping required to get these items to you in time for your Saturday party, I used that as my main source for researching pieces to order for your costume, but you should feel free to look for even more inexpensive avenues first, such as borrowing, thrifting, or even finding things from your own closet. Many of you would already have a few starters for many of these costumes, such as a white dress shirt, khaki t-shirt, blue jeans, or boots!

All prices listed for the below items are current as of October 22, 2018. Keep in mind that the below suggestions are for budget-minded Halloween costumes rather than actual outfits. Clothing you wear on a more regular basis should be a more meaningful investment.

James Bond

As played by Sean Connery in Goldfinger (1964)

Specifically… his iconic white dinner jacket worn during the opening sequence (as seen here.)

Ideal for: a “nice” house party with better photo ops and a lesser chance of spilled beer ruining your white jacket.

Sean Connery as James Bond in Goldfinger (1964)

Sean Connery as James Bond in Goldfinger (1964)

What he wore: A tailored ivory dinner jacket with slim self-faced peak lapels and a red carnation pinned to the left lapel, a white satin-striped dress shirt with gold cuff links, a slim black bow tie, midnight blue pleated formal trousers with button-tab side adjusters and satin side stripes, black loafers with elastic side-gussets and black dress socks, and a vintage Rolex Submariner dive watch on a black, olive, and green-striped NATO strap.

What you can wear:

  • Ivory dinner jacket with slim, self-faced peak lapels. Since white dinner jackets shouldn’t have silk-faced lapels (despite the Tom Ford garment that Daniel Craig wears in Spectre), a one-button suit jacket could work in a pinch. After all, this is Halloween, not a fancy dress ball.
    • Dinner jackets from Amazon, even of lesser quality, are around $99. Try thrifting.
  • Red carnation, pinned to left lapel
    • Synthetic carnation lapel pin from Amazon: $14
  • White satin-striped shirt with French cuffs
  • Gold cuff links
    • Cuff links from Amazon: $9.90
  • Black bow tie
    • The Tie Bar bow tie from Amazon: $21.99
  • Midnight blue or black pleated formal trousers with silk side braid
  • Black slip-on loafers, preferably with elastic side gussets
  • Steel dive watch with black rotating bezel and dial on a black, red, and olive NATO strap
    • Barton NATO strap from Amazon: $18.50

What to drink? Bond’s famous “shaken, not stirred” vodka martini needs no introduction, and the lemon peel adds both a zesty – and character-appropriate – touch. Enjoy in a stemmed martini glass.

Take it to the next level with…

A seagull. A replica Walther PPK may be the obvious choice for a 007 prop, but to truly convey the spirit of the scene – and stand out from any other Bonds at the party – having a seagull strapped to your head would really get heads turning at your Halloween soiree.

...especially if said party has a pool.

…especially if said party has a pool.

While not ideal, perhaps this seagull hat available through Amazon Prime could be cleverly manipulated to add a Goldfinger-esque touch to your Bond costume.

How did I do? Poorly. The one time I ever dressed as James Bond for Halloween was in 2008, my sophomore year of college, when I still had plenty to learn about real style, and I won’t even show you here. I wore a black single-button dinner jacket with broad grosgrain-faced peak lapels (good), a white pleated-front shirt with convertible cuffs (um), a black pre-tied polyester bow tie (oh no!), and – for this I truly must atone – black chinos with a belt. My watch was a strange Timex conglomeration of a digital sport watch on a metal link bracelet (at least it wasn’t Velcro). In a shoulder holster, I also carried an airsoft Walther P99 with a prop silencer… probably not the wisest accessory at a college party.

Don Draper

As played by Jon Hamm on Mad Men (2007-2015)

Specifically… a gray business suit like he wore in the pilot episode (as seen here) and throughout the 1960s-set series.

Ideal for: the office party, as long as you don’t plan on lighting up at your desk.

Jon Hamm as Don Draper on Mad Men (2007-2015)

Jon Hamm as Don Draper on Mad Men (2007-2015)

What he wore: Tailored American sack suits in conservative gray, taupe, brown, and blue wools, white cotton dress shirts with breast pockets and French cuffs, slim ties often with a stripe or subtle retro pattern, slim belts with box buckles and leather-matching derby shoes, a dress watch, short-brimmed fedoras, and neutral raincoats short enough for a city commute.

What you can wear:

  • Gray retro-minded business suit consisting of a single-breasted, 2-button or 3/2-roll jacket with narrow notch lapels and flat front trousers
  • White linen or cotton pocket square, neatly folded into the jacket’s breast pocket
    • Linen pocket square from Amazon: $7.99
  • White cotton dress shirt with front placket, breast pocket (a must!), and French cuffs
    • Buttoned Down white dress shirt from Amazon: $39
  • Slim, straight vintage tie
    • Monochrome striped tie from Amazon: $10.99
  • Slim black leather belt with a box-style buckle
    • Savile Row belt from Amazon: $10.49
  • Black derby shoes
    • Jivana non-leather derbies from Amazon: $25.99
  • Any classic dress watch. Don’s changing styles over the seasons included a gold Jaeger-LeCoultre tank watch on a brown leather strap and a steel Rolex Explorer with a black dial and link bracelet so any vintage-minded watch should communicate the needed aesthetic.
    • CIVO quartz watch from Amazon: $18.99
  • Taupe or gray short-brimmed fedora. This should be a genuine felt fedora with a grosgrain ribbon and not one of the cheap polyester trilbies from the Walmart clearance rack.
    • Target, on the other hand, has a decent vintage-inspired fedora made from real wool with a black grosgrain ribbon and a reasonable $17 price tag. Click to see.
  • Taupe or khaki knee-length raincoat… not a trench coat.
    • London Fog (Mad Men-approved brand) coat from Amazon: starting at $85

What to drink? The Old Fashioned was Don’s signature mixed drink from the first episode on… though it can get time-intensive to keep filling your glass with the delectable combo of whiskey, bitters, and muddled cherries and oranges. Instead, consider carrying a bottle of Canadian Club and you’ll serve the dual purpose of having a character-appropriate prop while also never having to wait in line for the bar.

Enjoy in a round, silver-rimmed rocks tumbler based on Dorothy Thorpe’s iconic “Roly Poly” design.

Take it to the next level with…

A pack of Lucky Strikes in your shirt’s breast pocket. You may not be a smoker, but the red “bullseye” logo popping from under the white shirting of the left breast pocket is pure Don… at least until he vindictively switches his cigarette brand to Old Gold in the fifth season.

How did I do? Not bad. Don Draper was my costume of choice for Halloween 2011, the year before I started BAMF Style. The gray narrow pinstripe lightweight wool suit is from Banana Republic, purchased during the height of Mad Men fashion fever two years earlier. The vintage white shirt, brown cotton Van Heusen tie, and black Cardin belt all belonged to my grandfather in the 1960s with some of his own Camel tobacco likely buried in the crevasses of the shirt pocket.

Indiana Jones

As played by Harrison Ford beginning with Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Specifically… his adventurer outfit (as seen here.) For more details, check out the definitive

Ideal for: the chilly-weather outdoor party.

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

What he wore: Brown lambskin “action back” flight jacket, khaki safari shirt, light brown twill wool pleated trousers inspired by officers’ “pinks”, khaki web belt, brown waxhide Alden 405 boots, brown leather gun belt and holster, British Army-surplus gas mask bag, and brown fedora.

Given the time and detail put into the Magnoli Clothiers reproductions of Dr. Jones’ screen-worn attire, I’m also including those links below although I understand that considerably more shipping time should be considered.

What you can wear:

  • Brown leather flight jacket with adjustable waistband tabs
    • Non-leather replica jacket from Amazon: $59
    • Genuine leather replica jacket from Amazon: $129 or $139
    • Magnoli Clothiers’ screen-accurate “Adventure Jacket”: $635
  • Khaki safari shirt with epaulettes and flapped pockets
    • Khaki shirt from Amazon: starting at $22.97
    • Magnoli Clothiers’ screen-accurate “Adventure Shirt”: $125
  • Light brown or khaki pleated trousers
    • Lee flat front chinos from Amazon: starting at $14.99
    • Wrangler pleated khakis from Amazon: $37
    • Magnoli Clothiers’ screen-accurate “Adventure Pants”: $195
  • Khaki web belt
    • Rothco “government khaki” web belt from Amazon: $5.99
  • Brown work boots
    • Bruno Marc work boots from Amazon: starting at $32.99
    • Magnoli Clothiers’ screen-accurate “Adventure Boots”: $515
  • Brown fedora
    • Indiana Jones-branded fedora from Amazon: starting at $27.50
  • Khaki canvas satchel
    • Rubie’s Indiana Jones-branded satchel: $5.99
    • Rothco khaki canvas medic bag: $16.99

What to drink? Indy wasn’t known to be much of a drinker, but when he did… whiskey shots seem to be appropriate.

Take it to the next level with…

Indy often found himself in sticky situations, so his props tend to be on the more violent side. Rather than packing a replica revolver to your Halloween party, his bull whip may be a more appropriate and less intimidating costume prop.

How did I do? I never did. Maybe next year.

Thomas Magnum

As played by Tom Selleck on Magnum P.I. (1980-1988)

Specifically… one of his Hawaiian shirts and Tigers baseball cap combos. For more details, check out this comprehensive list from Magnum Mania!

Ideal for: the warm outdoor party.

Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum on Magnum, P.I. (1980-1988)

Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum on Magnum, P.I. (1980-1988)

What he wore: A series of bright Aloha shirts including the iconic red “jungle bird” shirt, tight blue jeans with a khaki USN web belt, navy twill baseball cap (either supporting the Detroit Tigers or representing his USN service in Da Nang), black-dialed dive watch (first Chronosport, then Rolex), off-white casual shoes (either Sperry Top-Sider boat shoes or Puma “Easy Rider” sneakers), and U.S. Navy jewelry including POW/MIA bracelet and team ring.

What you can wear:

  • Tropical-printed Hawaiian shirt
    • “Funky” red Aloha shirt from Amazon: starting at $7.99
    • Paradise Found red “jungle bird” Aloha shirt from Amazon: starting at $58, or from Maui Shirts: $64.98, reduced from $90
  • Blue jeans
    • Signature by Levi Strauss blue jeans from Amazon: starting at $14.90
  • Khaki web belt
    • Rothco “government khaki” web belt from Amazon: $5.99
  • Detroit Tigers navy baseball cap
    • MLB ’47 Detroit Tigers cap from Amazon: $24.64
  • Stainless dive watch with black dial on black resin strap
    • Casio MDV106-1A from Amazon: $41.93
  • Off-white or light brown boat shoes
    • KINGSHOW boat shoes from Amazon: $23 to $28
    • Sperry Top-Sider boat shoes from Amazon: starting at $54
  • Silver cuff bracelet – you should only wear a POW/MIA bracelet if you’re earnestly honoring the memory of a service member.
    • Plain satin-finished steel cuff bracelet from Amazon: $13.99

What to drink? This is your night to enjoy something tropical and fruity out of a pineapple. Should you decide to do so, you may want to learn one or two beach cocktails to get you in the proper mindset.

Take it to the next level with…

…I’d suggest a red Ferrari like Magnum’s classic 308, but that wouldn’t do you so good beyond the party’s parking lot. (Plus, after a few tropical cocktails, you’d be best returning home in an Uber.) For a more inexpensive and enduring solution, grow your mustache! After all, Magnum isn’t truly Magnum without his iconic soup strainer… an issue for which TV Guide took the recent CBS reboot to task.

How did I do? Not bad, considering that I look more like Mario than Magnum when I let my mustache grow. My dad already owned the Tigers hat, my summer wardrobe includes a number of Hawaiian shirts, and a pair of light brown Sanuks were comfortable stand-ins for Magnum’s usual boat shoes. The costume was a fair hit when I sported it during Halloween 2016.

Tony Montana

As played by Al Pacino in Scarface (1983)

Specifically… the dressed-down and coked-up business suit he wears for the famous bloody finale (as seen here.)

Ideal for: a house party where you know the host and guests very well.

Al Pacino as Tony Montana in Scarface (1983)

Al Pacino as Tony Montana in Scarface (1983)

What he wore: Dark navy chalkstripe three-piece business suit, white shirt with open neck and French cuffs (with gold cuff links), slim brown leather belt with gold buckle, black Cuban boots with raised heels, gold Omega La Magique dress watch with round black dial on a rectangular case, yellow gold chain-link necklace, and gold diamond ring.

What you can wear:

  • Dark chalk stripe or pinstripe three-piece suit with flour (please tell me it’s flour) strategically scattered on it. Unlike more sophisticated dressers like Bond or Don, the actual details of the suit are less important for the costume than the accoutrements.
    • Stacy Adams black chalk stripe three-piece suit from Amazon: starting at $129.99 
  • White dress shirt with “bloodied” collar and top few buttons undone, revealing…
    • Van Heusen poplin shirt from Amazon: starting at $18.96
  • Gold necklace
    • Gold “snake chain” necklace from Amazon: $12.99
  • White pocket square
    • Linen pocket square from Amazon: $7.99
  • Black leather Chelsea boots or Cuban boots
    • Stacy Adams black zip-side boots from Amazon: starting at $72.62
  • Brown leather belt with gold buckle (character-endorsed leather contrast!)
    • Dark brown belt with gold buckle from Amazon: starting at $8.49
  • More gold jewelry, including a slim watch, diamond (or diamond-like) ring, and bracelet
    • Gold-finished mesh-bracelet watch from Amazon: $14.99
    • Golf-finished link bracelet from Amazon: $9.99
    • Gold-finished “diamond” ring from Amazon: starting at $4.99

What to drink? Booze isn’t exactly Tony Montana’s signature vice, so you’re more on your own. “Gin is fine”, Tony tells Frank Lopez at their first meeting, though tequila or mezcal may be a better fit with the spirit of the costume.

Take it to the next level with…

From the cocaine and blood to a prop M16, any props associated with this costume would have to be exercised with extreme caution. This actually may be a costume where authenticity would get you an arrest rather than an award.

How did I do? A relative success. I dressed as Tony Montana for Halloween during my senior year of college in 2010, sporting a charcoal double-striped flannel Brooks Brothers three-piece suit that had belonged to my grandfather and thus was slightly oversized, but the flannel suiting nicely held the carefully applied white flour (à la Tony’s yeyo) throughout the evening. I wore a white shirt with some theatrical blood around the collar, black Chelsea boots by Timberland, and as many rings and bracelets as I could dig up, including a fake gold Rolex and my high school class ring. Again, I made the less-than-advisable decision to bring a prop weapon to the party, though at least my toy M16 with the M203 underbarrel was clearly plastic.

Hawkeye Pierce

As played by Alan Alda on M*A*S*H (1972-1983)

Specifically… the Army-issued OG-107 fatigues he wears on a daily basis (as seen here.)

Ideal for: the basement party as these clothes are relatively comfortable, lightweight, and casual when compared to some others and can better withstand the rigors of spilled beer and sweat.

Alan Alda as Capt. "Hawkeye" Pierce on MASH (1972-1983)

Alan Alda as Capt. “Hawkeye” Pierce on M*A*S*H (1972-1983)

What he wore: The OG-107 Type III “jungle jacket” issued by the U.S. Army from 1964-1989, worn unbuttoned over drab t-shirts ranging from green to khaki, with matching OG-107 pants, an olive drab web belt, black Army-issued “McNamara boots”, olive drab wool socks, and dog tags.

What you can wear:

  • Olive green cotton shirt-jacket with two button-flapped chest pockets and button cuffs
    • Vertx olive utility shirt from Amazon: starting at $17.51
    • Levi’s sherpa-lined shirt-jacket from Amazon: $41.02
    • Search eBay for OG-107 shirts
  • Khaki or olive drab cotton short-sleeve crew-neck T-shirt
    • Rothco khaki t-shirt from Amazon: starting at $6.99
  • Olive green cotton military-styled pants with patch-style front pockets and button-flapped back pockets (or a well-worn set of chinos, in a pinch)
    • Quality Durables Co. utility chinos from Amazon: $35.95
  • Olive green cotton web belt with brass/gold slider buckle
    • Olive web belt from Amazon: $7.99
  • Black combat boots
    • Unlisted by Kenneth Cole synthetic zip-side boots from Amazon: starting at $36.12
    • Dr. Martens black leather boots from Amazon: starting at $76.99
  • Olive drab socks
    • Wigwam olive drab wool-blend socks from Amazon: starting at $6.99
  • U.S. Army-style dog tags
    • Plain silver dog tags from Amazon: $9.99

What to drink? Hawkeye drank approximately four dozen martinis per each season of M*A*S*H, always with the homemade gin distilled right in the tent and almost always with an olive or two plopped in for good measure. As with 007 above, enjoy in a stemmed martini glass.

Take it to the next level with…

Unless you’ve got that martini basically glued to your hand, there’s little to differentiate your costume from that of Scruffy Vietnam-era Serviceman. (Yes, I meant to say “Vietnam-era” as Captain Pierce’s duds are anachronistic to the show’s Korean War setting and weren’t issued until the mid-1960s.) Thus, consider scratching the OG-107 shirt and T-shirt, keep the dog tags, and opt for a navy-and-white hibiscus-patterned Hawaiian shirt (like this one) that Hawkeye prefers for leisurely pursuits like golfing and gin-guzzling.

If you want to add a more militaristic touch, you can always wear it under an olive drab field jacket like the M-1951 that Alan Alda often wore as Hawkeye.

How did I do? Pretty well, despite the fact that my hair was considerably shorter than Alda’s scruffy anachronistic ‘do that was more contemporary to the 1970s and 1980s production and certainly not in adherence with U.S. military regulations.

Hawkeye inspired my latest Halloween costume, worn in 2017, when I sported an authentic OG-107 Type III shirt in 8.5 oz. olive drab cotton sateen cloth, unbuttoned on the front and cuffs, with an inside-out khaki cotton t-shirt, an old set of prop dog tags (though with the more contemporary black rubber trim than Hawkeye’s bare metal tags), a pair of olive washed cotton J. Crew chinos, a brown web belt, and black combat-style boots.

One comment

  1. Andrew (Bond and Beyond/Dirty Punker on AJB007)

    It’s funny you should mention Sean Connery in Goldfinger as a costume; I actually attempted it at my country’s equivalent of Halloween just last year. I went “thrifting” or the closest thing I could do, which was stalk eBay like a hawk.

    The dinner jacket was quite baggy for my smaller frame and it didn’t have as narrow lapels as I was expecting, or a boutonniere.
    I ordered some other black tuxedo trousers, even if they did have a grosgrain stripe (unconfirmed in the film), and wore the only real “good” dress shoes I have (Crockett and Jones Alex, which Craig wore in Skyfall and Spectre), a vintage Turnbull and Asser pleated shirt (complete with striping in the body, but unfortunately not at the collar and cuffs) and a no-name moire bow-tie.

    The outfit had more of a reference to every Bond era sort of thing going on, but it was very unfortunate I couldn’t actually wear my boutonniere, I had to tuck it in the breast pocket lol.
    I had a proper metal PPK without a blue holster, but it was a lighter I had bought from eBay ages ago, which I broke and out of boredom started painting white-ish cuz why not.

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