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 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 the gypsy stereotypes are valid, 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 with a foundation that’s a couple of shades darker than your skin for a sun kissed glow. If you have a really pale complexion, put a thin layer of foundation on the backs of your hands as well.
Gypsy makeup #2: The cheeky bits
Dab a rose-hued blush on your cheeks, starting from the cheekbones and sweeping upwards towards your ears. Blend, blend, blend!
Gypsy makeup #3: Lip love
Go red or go dark… your choice! As a thumb rule, lighter skin tones would do well with a purple or red lipstick 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. Start by smudging a black kohl pencil into your top and bottom lash line. Rim the entire eye and just when you think the look is dramatic enough, add a couple more swipes on the lower lashes.
Then flick the liner outwards, like a cat’s eye, and go over it with a powder eyeshadow to enhance the smokey effect.
Add dark or jewel-toned eyeshadows, taking them right up to the brow bone. Fill in your eyebrows and finish with several coats of jet black mascara. Want still more drama? Add false lashes and green contact lenses.
Gypsy makeup #5: Finishing touches
Get the smallest costume jewel stones you can find (I get mine from a craft shop!) and make a “V” design in the middle of your forehead. You can use the liquid bandage that’s 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.
Gypsy makeup #6: Tress talk
Gypsies are usually portrayed as having heavy, dark and curly hair. If your strands are fine or straight, try texturising them with small hair rollers. If they are naturally curly, tie everything back and wrap it up in a boldly-hued scarf, with scattered tendril peeking through. Other gypsy hairstyling options? Wear it down and make small braids at the front of your face; or create a wavy, unruly effect by sleeping in wet braids. If you want to be even more adventurous, check your local costume or party store for a gypsy wig.
Gypsy makeup #7: Wow wardrobe
Long, flowing skirts are a staple item in every self respecting gypsy’s 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 shy away from bold colours!
Pair the flowing lines of the skirt with a fitted top. Practically, you can well make do with a plain white tee but 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 for more drama.
Gypsy makeup #9: 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 it in many different ways but for the most authentic look, fold it in half and place the middle on top of your head, then tie it in the back. 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.
Gypsy makeup #10: The pot o’ perfume
So, there you have it: gypsy makeup. What do you think? Corny or glam?