Famous Lesbian / Queer Women Hallowe'en Costumes

Author_Radclyffe_Hall,_left,_and_Lady_Una_Troubridge_with_their_dachshunds_at_Crufts_dog_show,_February_1923.jpg

There are lots of famous lesbians in history you can dress up as.  Here are a couple of ideas for relatively easy costumes for humans who would like to dress up as famous lesbians (and badass women who may have been lesbians).  Keep in mind that historical figures are seldom purely positive role models, but then again neither are vampires or zombies, so costumes probably don't need to meet that standard.

Florence Nightingale

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Nightingale was a nursing theoretician and educator who introduced and popularized the concept of hygiene in nursing and hospital field conditions. She may have been lesbian, having been quoted saying "I have lived and slept in the same beds with English Countesses and Prussian farm women. No woman has excited passions among women more than I have.” She shared her home with a series of rebellious female companions and was observed to have been 'entirely chaste' with men.

The costume

  • Long sleeve white shirt  – extra points for a rounded lace collar, or you could pin some lace on the jacket and hide the shirt collar beneath the jacket.

  • Old fashioned looking brooch

  • White lace square about a foot wide or Victorian day-cap

  • Long pleated skirt in old fashioned fabric

  • Old fashioned looking jacket (like this one)

  • A few layers of shorter elastic waistskirts  or a crinoline to make the skirt puff out.

  • A corset if you have one and want to wear it under your shirt like a Victorian lady. Your partner can see it later if you want to show it off.

  • Optional: a white apron with a bib – as a writer, statistician, manager and trainer of nurses, Nightingale probably didn't wear one much though.

Wet hair and/or put gel in it and part down the center as shown. If it's long enough, braid the ends and tuck them under, or bun them up at chin height. Get a piece of white lace and pin at crown of head and around bunned or braided hair at sides to look like a cap. Don other clothing as shown, with brooch at neck. No makeup needed.  Note, although often depicted in an apron and simple dress with cap, actively nursing, she was more of an administrator than a field nurse, so don't worry if you don't think you could slink a bedpan in this outfit.

An authentic looking cap would be a nice touch. Here is a picture of her actual nurse's cap. Here are instructions about how to make one. As an upper class woman, the day cap Nightingale wore in this picture was made of thin and frilly material, but she may have also had some plain ones.


Lesbian Couple Halloween Costume: Radclyffe Hall and Una Vincenzo

Early 1900's British lesbian writer Marguerite Radclyffe Hall and lover Italian lesbian artist Una Vincenzo (Lady Troubridge) are an interesting and relatively easy historical lesbian couple costume.  Photo: Top of page, Wikipedia.

The costume

  • Suit jacket, shirt and tie (Hall or Vincenzo)

  • Slacks or calf length tailored skirt (Hall or Vincenzo)

  • 20's style long dress (Vincenzo)

  • Cheek-length bob style wig, or one you can cut to shape (Vincenzo)

  • Optional: A small dog

Hall wore fairly modern butch cut suit jackets, shirts and ties (with either slacks or a plain long tailored skirt) and a slicked back short hair as shown, while Vincenzo wore similar suits in her early life but also femmed it up with 1920's style dresses at times in pictures with Hall. In both styles, Vincenzo  has a signature cheek-length dark short bob haircut with either straight or v-shaped bangs that should be easy to duplicate with a wig. This article has pictures of the two together where you can see Vincenzo as well, who has few pictures available in the public domain.

Photo credit: Wikipedia. Radclyffe Hall, right, and Una, Lady Troubridge with their dachshunds at Crufts dog show, February 1923

 
MagazineSophia Kelly