Dark, dramatic and mysterious, gypsies have both fascinated and frightened people the world over since the 14th century. Traveling nomads indulging in eternal wanderlust, mystics who dance with bells on their ankles, fortune tellers who live life on the outskirts of society… these wanderers have the reputation for living a rugged life filled with mystery and adventure. As a teenager, I kept wanting to run away and join their romantic-looking caravans. As a fashion and beauty writer, I have marvelled at how their influence marks the runways almost every single season. And as a grownup who needs to get into a costume for Halloween (yes, it’s that time of the year already!) without looking like a complete moron, I have often turned to their exotic look for inspiration.
Because whether or not most of the stereotypes of gypsies are true, one fact remains: the gypsy theme certainly fits in well with Halloween. This is particularly true for those of us who want to give free reign to our creative fantasies and also for those who want to do the whole costume bit but still look mind-blowingly gorgeous! So, cast a spell this Halloween, without resorting to the ubiquitous sexy witch costume, by channeling your inner gypsy queen.
Start by applying a foundation that is a couple of shades darker than your skin for a sun kissed glow. If you are very fair skinned, you may want to put a thin layer of foundation on the backs of your hands as well. Dust the foundation lightly with loose powder to set.
The cheeky bits
Dab a rose-hued blush on your cheeks, starting from the cheek bones and sweeping upwards towards your ears. Blend, blend, blend!
Go red or go dark… your choice! As a thumb rule, those with a light skin tone would do well with a purple or red colour that has blue undertones. If you lean more towards a tan or olive complexion, opt for a red or purple shade with yellow undertones. These colours evoke a deep and fiery look that’s a perfect complement to gypsy style. Finish with a touch of clear gloss in the centre of your pout.
Gypsies are often shown as having exotic eyes that denote a sense of mystery, so keep the focus on this part of your face. Score their sensuous allure by smudging a black kohl pencil liner into your top and bottom lash line. Rim the entire eye and just when you think the look is dramatic enough, create even more drama on the lower lashes. Then flick the liner outwards, like a cat’s eye and go over it with a powder eyeshadow to maintain the smokey effect. Add dark or jewel-toned eyeshadows that complement your clothes, taking them right up to the brow bone. Fill in your eyebrows with dark brown eyebrow liner. Finish with several coats of jet black mascara and use. Want more drama? Add false lashes and green contact lenses.
Jewels displayed against the forehead finish off the face of a gypsy. Get the smallest costume jewel stones (you can find them in a craft shop) you can find and make a “V” design with the falling in the middle of your forehead, pointing to the space between your eyes. You can use the liquid bandage that you put over scrapes or cuts or a tiny dab of tooth paste to hold them in place.
For a dramatic flair, use an eye pencil to draw in a beauty mark near the eye or lips.
The original gypsies are usually portrayed as having heavy, dark and curly hair. If your hair is dark and straight, try rolling your hair with small hair rollers. If your hair is naturally curly, tie it back and wrap it up in a boldly-hued head scarf, with scattered tendril peeking through. Other gypsy hairstyling options? Wear your hair down and make small braids at the front of your face or create wavy, unruly hair by sleeping in wet braids. If you want to be even more adventurous, check your local costume or party store for a gypsy wig.
Long, flowing skirts are a staple item in a gypsy wardrobe. If you want to play safe, opt for a solid black skirt but it’s far more fun to experiment with bright jewel-toned colours and patterned fabrics. Be creative and don’t be afraid to try bold colours like a true gypsy.
Pair the flowing lines of the skirt with a fitted top. Practically, you can well make do with a plain white tee but something with a sweetheart neckline and some detailing will really perk up the gypsy genome. If you want a more feminine look, go for an off-shoulder top.
Finish off with sparkly accessories: flat boots or sandals with a hint of glitter will look perfect, as will a clutch purse or cross-body bag.
What’s a gypsy without the piles of gorgeous, clanky, oversized jewellery? If you have to pick one thing, go for large hoop earrings in either gold or silver – these are a staple in the jewellery arsenal of any gypsy. Add beaded necklaces and gold or silver bangles to complete the look. You can also wear a large statement ring to add more drama.
Savour the scarf
No gypsy costume is complete without a scarf, especially one that is made from a shiny fabric or has a paisley print. You can wear the scarf many different ways but one of the most authentic variations is to fold it in half and place the middle on top of your head. The, tie it in the back in a medium-tight knot. Another option is to drape the scarf over the back, top and sides of your head so that only your face shows and tie it underneath your chin.
The pot o’ perfume
Lush floral-orientals, patchouli, amber, musk, sandalwood, incense… celebrate the sensual and the dramatic with a perfume like Tom Ford’s Black Orchid, Prada’s L’Eau Ambree or Diptyque’s L’Eau.