DIY Halloween costume | Dressing up as the Atomic Blonde

As I mentioned earlier this week, this is my fifth (!) year to dress up for Halloween by putting together a costume from items already in my closet. Five years of no-cost costumes!

Here’s a quick trip down Halloween costume memory lane:

Like I said, I had two costume ideas this year, both for strong women action heroes in recent pop culture movie hits. So I decided to do them both! First up was me dressing up as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince after she tried on costumes to “blend in” in 1918 London.

Next up is a totally different brand of a strong woman action hero… the Atomic Blonde! Yep, I went blonde (gasp!) for this next Halloween costume (which I plan to wear for a Halloween party this weekend). For my birthday this year, we saw the Atomic Blonde film in the theater, and I was IN LOVE with Charlize Thereon’s look and wardrobe and total badass attitude throughout. The film is based on Antony Johnston and Sam Hart’s 2012 graphic novel The Coldest City.

First, take a look at the film’s trailer to get a feel for the look and vibe that I was going for:

Isn’t Charlize Theron’s wardrobe in this film drool-worthy?! I was actually inspired while I was watching the film to put together my own DIY Halloween costume as the Atomic Blonde. I realized that I had pieces already in my closet that would echo the look and style of the title role.

Librarian for Life + Style | DIY Halloween costume, dressing up as the Atomic Blonde

Librarian for Life + Style | DIY Halloween costume, dressing up as the Atomic Blonde

Librarian for Life + Style | DIY Halloween costume, dressing up as the Atomic Blonde

Putting together the outfit for the Atomic Blonde:

The outfit I put together once again included pieces from my closet as well as pieces from my husband’s closet:

  • I started with this sweater with a grid print in black and white, along with panels of pink down the side. The pattern is so ’80s!
  • Next came my black pencil skirt and ribbed black tights and high-heeled boots (she wears a lot of boots in this film!)
  • Next I knew I would need a long coat (the coat wardrobe ALONE in this film is amazing!). I thought first of my long grey Vienna coat, seen here — but then I remembered my husband’s long, charcoal Vienna coat, seen here, and I knew that would be perfect. The lines of this coat are sharp and tailored, and it being slightly oversized on me would fit the ’80s time period well.
  • My husband’s freebie sunglasses with the hot pink sides was the perfect finishing touch!

One caveat — I did have to buy the blonde pageboy wig, as I am obviously not a natural blonde. (And nor should I be! It actually freaked me out to see what I looked like as a blonde. And I immediately felt like everyone was staring at me because of the bright blonde hair!) So it wasn’t completely a no-cost costume, but the wig only cost a few dollars, so it was still extremely low-cost.

Librarian for Life + Style | DIY Halloween costume, dressing up as the Atomic Blonde

Librarian for Life + Style | DIY Halloween costume, dressing up as the Atomic Blonde

Librarian for Life + Style | DIY Halloween costume, dressing up as the Atomic Blonde

Photo backdrops and filters:

OF COURSE it was unusually bright and sunny the day we had available to take these photos. But since the Atomic Blonde film itself has such fun with different colors and filters, I did, too!

I wanted an industrial or cityscape backdrop for the photos, to tie in with the gritty Berlin landscape of the film, and we finally realized that the top level of the parking garage by the Tacoma Dome station served that purpose very well — complete with a backdrop of downtown Tacoma and its industrial east side. On the way up to the top level of the parking garage, Sam realized it was perfect lighting to snap a few impromptu pics. (Note: I went in afterward and added a turquoise tint to the elevator photos above.)

The remainder of the photos below are overlooking the Tacoma industrial and downtown areas. I did a faded tint on the following photos, as I wanted the photos to feel a bit washed-out and gritty. I had to channel my inner badass — and my best bitchface! — for these photos, and I loved how they turned out!

Librarian for Life + Style | DIY Halloween costume, dressing up as the Atomic Blonde

Librarian for Life + Style | DIY Halloween costume, dressing up as the Atomic Blonde

Librarian for Life + Style | DIY Halloween costume, dressing up as the Atomic Blonde

These walking shots below are my personal faves of the bunch!

Librarian for Life + Style | DIY Halloween costume, dressing up as the Atomic Blonde

Librarian for Life + Style | DIY Halloween costume, dressing up as the Atomic Blonde

Librarian for Life + Style | DIY Halloween costume, dressing up as the Atomic Blonde

Atomic Blonde DIY makeup:

Even though I knew I would be wearing my husband’s pink-and-black sunglasses, I did do a full face of makeup. (I am nothing if not dedicated!) I found this video tutorial from BeautyChemCam about how to do an Atomic Blonde-inspired makeup look. The focus is all on the eyes, with heavy black eyeliner and eyeshadow, but with a neutral lip color.

And it’s the first time I’ve tried all-over black shadow on my lids — and the first time I’ve lined all the way around my eyes myself! It was a little disconcerting at first to see myself in such heavy eye makeup. I have never done eye makeup like this before, because, well, I have large eyes (and eyelids), and it always felt like I would be “gilding the lily,” if that makes any sense. But I actually kinda liked the look, and it surprised me to learn that I could actually carry off such an intense makeup look!

Also, do you like how you can see the bandaid on my finger in the pic below? I think it actually adds to the costume, as the director purposely showed in the film how the Atomic Blonde has to physically recover from violent encounters.

Librarian for Life + Style | DIY Halloween costume, dressing up as the Atomic Blonde

Librarian for Life + Style | DIY Halloween costume, dressing up as the Atomic Blonde

Did you enjoy this DIY Halloween outfit and a second — and very different! — female action hero? What are you dressing up for Halloween this year? Please leave a comment and share!

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7 thoughts on “DIY Halloween costume | Dressing up as the Atomic Blonde

    1. Jen @ Librarian for Life and Style Post author

      My friend Stephanie, the one who sometimes participates in SIA, also preferred the Atomic Blonde costume! Gotta say, wearing that blonde wig felt SO STRANGE. Thank goodness the top of the parking garage where we took photos was deserted, so we didn’t have to take photos in front of anyone. 😉

      Reply
  1. Mike

    Great costume and look Jen! I don’t know about “Atomic Blonde” (I had to Google it) but I’d say that you nailed the look perfectly!

    Reply

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