Depending where you live, it might be necessary to cover up your thoughtfully constructed Halloween costume, which can, plainly, really suck if you spent time and money putting something ah-mazing together. I spent my college years in Boston and nearly all of my post-grad time in New York City, so I’m familiar with the predicament (though I’ve also forced bare legs to work a time or two by fortifying myself with wine). Before I share my list of go-to toppers, allow me to break it down into two camps.
There are the jackets and cover-ups that add to your costume and those that are there purely for warmth. Either one works, and it might be about how much creative energy you have left to figure out the former. For the latter, you simply need to find something that will give you coverage while fading into the background. Unless you’re rocking a costume that has a total makes-sense jacket option (like, say, you’re going as an ER doc and can bundle up with something that looks like a lab coat), read on to figure out which category your spooky, sexy, or sweet ensemble fits into.
A wide scarf that’s made of a thin knit, not a thick or chunky wool, can work with pretty much anything. In a perfect world, shop one that matches your costume’s color so it doesn’t compete for attention. The light layer isn’t going to fight a snowstorm-level of chill, but it’ll give you some comfort while you buzz from party to party.
Costumes to top: ballerina, pirate, Disney princess.
A short jacket is a smart and easy touch for any getup that falls into the glam category (think princess, executive, or famous character from the past who lived the high life). The style’s gotten popular in recent years, so there’s a high likelihood you’ve got a friend with one to borrow.
Costumes to top: socialite, sexy bombshell, classic actress.
The only type of costumes that don’t really work with this tailored staple would be flighty, romantic numbers taken from fairly tales and the like. Unless you’re something like a fairy or ballerina who relies on light-as-air layers, grab whatever you already have hanging in the closet and go.
Costumes to top: Kate Middleton, politician, any character on TV.
If I could buy stock in the leather jacket, I would. It’s a forever classic that works with almost every single outfit I can think of, Halloween combos included. Since the majority of styles are black, it’s the best bet for covering up something that’s similarly dark. On top of a light- or bright-color costume, it can’t help but become part of the look.
Costumes to top: superhero, model off-duty, Kim Kardashian.
For anything that the leather jacket feels too harsh for, try your trusty jean jacket. It has the same classic, goes-with-anything feel but works for more casual ensembles.