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PALIN LOOK? IT'S EASY!

Every four years, we the people of the United States of Hysteria elect a new leader just days after Halloween, that anthropological enigma where sane, tax-paying adults gather in groups to don Princess Leia bikinis, naughty nursewear and giant foam butt suits.

It's the perfect storm - a chance to unleash political aggressions or stump for a favorite candidate. Last election, I spied a dude wearing a leafy bush covered in chains. Get it? Bush-Cheney? Har!

Typically, male political costumes are dull as Robert's Rules. A mask, a gray suit, a yawn. But this year, costume enthusiasts have been blessed with a glittery beacon of hope in stilettos - Sarah Palin! The guv'na makes an easy last-minute costume. In one day of shopping, we pulled together the ensemble modeled here by St. Petersburg Times copy editor and all-around good sport Kate Brassfield. And guess what? It cost way less than $150,000! Read on, Palin fans (or foes), and find out how to get the look on your own.

THE SUIT: Red Sag Harbor blazer, $20 from Ross. The jacket came with a plaid skirt and a turtleneck, which Kate plans to donate to charity. For the costume, she paired it with a black dress from home.

THE KICKS: Red patent leather stilettos, $15 from Ross. You could slay a moose with that heel!

Or with ...

THE ARTILLERY: Toy pop gun, $2.99 from iParty.

THE ACCESSORIES: Crystal elephant pin, $5 from Wal-Mart. We had a hard time finding Palin's signature flag pins (Kate had the tiny one at home), so we made our own. The packet of patches and stick-on pin backs totaled about $10 at JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts. Kate wore her own pearls.

THE SPECS: Costume glasses, $12 from Icing by Claire's. We also found some Palinesque reading glasses at Dollar Tree, but they had magnified lenses and made things look wonky. Use with care when walking near the pool next to the guy in the inflatable sumo suit. Certain disaster.

THE PRETTY: We teased Kate's own hair into a Palin poof, brought the bangs forward and shellacked it with hair spray. If you're a towhead (or a dude), try the party store for a plain brown wig. Oh, and the lipstick came in a free gift set from Clinique. The shade is, of course, "Red Drama."

Stephanie Hayes blogs about fashion and other things that strike her fancy on the Deal Divas blog over at blogs.tampabay.com/deals. So if you want to give her what-for over this, you can find the post there.

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