how to make a Ugly Betty/Jenny costume
Hello All! So this is my first post. I wanted to share about my experience with making my Ugly Betty Costume this year. I decided to be Betty this year because I love America Ferrara and I love the show.
About the Look:
So the look I decided to go for was Betty’s vintage 70’/80’s inspired mode work attire look. Rather then don the typical
Betty Guadalajara Poncho look (which she wore for a very short time in season 1), I wanted to do something different. I am an avid watcher of the show so I decided to try and find looks that were inspired by items of clothing she wore through out the episodes of the show. I went searching for the items in various racks of thrift stores. I figured they would have looks that were both outdated and befitting a Betty look-a-like. From studying her various ensemble choices, Betty always seems to find patterns that don’t match but in one way or another have colors that match within the pattern. So if she wears a red vest both her shirt and skirt will in someway contain red. In a recent episode she wore a purple vest; both her shirt and skirt contained the color purple but absent the vest would not have matched in the least because the patterns were so different. (Although recently she’s been wearing alot of dresses with funky patterns with high collar shirt underneath or vests on top coupled with a belt and blackberry type device).
SO, in short I wanted to find a look that alone didn’t work but with an accessory like a vest, really pulled together. So I went with a teal green 70’s work shirt (which had red stripes which weren’t visible in pictures), A red vest, A red, blue, yellow and black plaid skirt, black opaque tights (I also had on black Mary-Jane’s for one party and teal blue one’s for another).
About the Accessories:
One could not have a complete Betty costume without the proper accessories! so I completed the look with a pair of
homemade braces, a betty inspired watch, a homemade Anne Boleyn replica “B” signature necklace and a pair of red glasses. The glasses weren’t a hundred percent right but when paired with everything else including the wig it really worked! I’ll get it right for next time.
How I made my accessories:
I made the braces with the help of an old
retainer, to which I snapped on silver earring backs. If you don’t have a retainer this can be accomplished by attaching earring backs to a paper clip or another flexible metal, then it must be fitted to your mouth.
The necklace was made of pearls purchased in a craft store which were strung with the use of gold thread. The charm was made of Cintra. The traditional way is to make the charm of polymer clay but, I wanted something a little more durable. So I cut a cardboard shape of the “B” then I used the shape as a guide for cutting out the same pattern out of Cintra (a type of plastic), I repeated the process again with a second piece and then attached both pieces with glue. After the pieces were bound together then I sanded the pieces and rounded the edges then painted it with gold antique paint. After it dried I used gold jewelry pins to create loops from which to hang the charm from the necklace and the tear drop pearls from the charm. Once the charm was affixed to the center of the necklace it was complete.
For the glasses I found a pair of red sun glasses which I removed the lenses from to create a pair of Betty-esque glasses.
About the Finds:
I found all of my treasures at a local thrift store (minus the retainer). I also carried a big Mexican patterned purse, which wasn’t shown in the pictures but suit the ensemble nicely.
About the contests:
People loved the costume and thought I nailed it really well. One woman even got really excited, like a fan! and went nuts over it. It got to the point where people were creeping up and snapping pictures when I wasn’t even looking. I started smiling back at them with my full metal smile eventually, just to give them what they wanted (an ugly betty shot). It was really funny, I felt like I was her and being snapped by shutter bugs… All in all it received praise and acclaim and was the winner of two contests.
But so I thought I did a good job! and I hope I was able to pull off the costume and really represent the character. Please share what you think!