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Romany Costume Ideas: Go Boho Without Spending a Fortune

Updated on December 7, 2016
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Susan believes that playing dress-up is one of the best parts of being a kid. Her creative costume ideas help bring out the kid in everyone!

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Boho Bellydancer Dress Costume Ideas for Girls and Women

Boho bellydancer, Bohemian vagabond, Roma nomad... although the word "gypsy" is now considered a racist term, that's what we're talking about. Need some ideas on how to put together a great costume? We've got 'em! These are fun to make and wear for Halloween or a costume party any time of the year. Plus, the Bohemian (Boho) look is stylish and very popular for everyday wear right now. I love it!

We'll show you how easy, fun, and fast it can be to raid your friends' closets, mom's or grandma's jewelry box, and even the local thrift store to find interesting clothing and accessories to create an inexpensive, original, and unique homemade costume.

Don't have time to sift through closets to assemble your outfit? This page includes suggestions for costumes and accessories you can buy. Choose your favorite (remember to shop early), place your order, and getting ready for this season's Halloween or costume party will be a piece of cake—errr, pumpkin pie!

Read on for tips to help you get the look DIY as well as for a selection of costumes available for purchase.

Everything you need to get that Boho look.
Everything you need to get that Boho look.

Your Romany Costume Supply List

Here's the short list. Read on to learn how to put it all together for a great look.

• Start with a long, or even a short, full skirt. A ruffled petticoat is optional but fun.

• Add a peasant blouse.

• Layer on scarves and shawls.

• Don't forget the jewelry— dangly earrings and strands of beads.

• Wear boots, sandals, or simple shoes, your preference.

• Apply bright makeup.

• Carry a tambourine for music—or for collecting treats!

Mood Music: A Song to Help You Brainstorm

"Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" by Cher. Perfect choice!

Putting It All Together

Ideas and suggestions for putting together your own Boho costume, piece by piece.

The most important ingredient of any homemade costume is creativity. Start with our list, but use your imagination and get creative to end up with the best costume of the night!

We have examples of most of these items, so scroll the page so you don't miss anything.

Prefer to buy a costume? We have those further down the page, too. Continue to scroll down the page to take a look—or check this link for a huge selection of Boho costumes to buy.

Start From the Top With a Headscarf and Wig

One of the most distinctive parts of this costume is the headscarf. If you already have long hair, choose a pretty scarf from your local discount store or a consignment shop; most have plenty of scarves on hand. Refer to the video above to learn how to tie your scarf depending on its shape. Give it a try, it's easy!

If you don't have long hair and really want to change your look, consider this awesome wig.

Smiffy's Women's Long and Curly Black Wig, One Size, Glamor Wig, 5020570421499
Smiffy's Women's Long and Curly Black Wig, One Size, Glamor Wig, 5020570421499

To really change your look (unless you already have long, black hair), here's an inexpensive and absolutely fabulous wig that will help transform you into a sultry Boho dancer for about 15 dollars. Wear this pretty, shiny black hair with a colorful scarf tied around it and people won't be able to take their eyes off of you!

 

Invest in a Bohemian Skirt Fit for Everyday Wear

These skirts come in a variety of lengths and styles.
These skirts come in a variety of lengths and styles. | Source

Next, add the most distinctive part of a Boho outfit: a long, full skirt in a print, stripe, or solid color. The brighter, the better. Consider layering a shorter ruffled skirt over a long one for a very unique look. Asymmetric hems add visual interest, as seen in the skirt below.

This is a beautiful long skirt that would make a great starting point for your costume—and you can wear it later, too. Mix or match the colors with the other components of your outfit.

Milumia Women's Bohemian Floral Print Wrap Skirt Summer Long Maxi Skirt Red L
Milumia Women's Bohemian Floral Print Wrap Skirt Summer Long Maxi Skirt Red L

This adorable maxi skirt is rayon, so it will flow beautifully and look great as part of your costume. The quality is such that you'll be able to make this part of your regular wardrobe as well. Very trendy, very tribal, and the color is just perfect. I like it with sandals, as in the picture, or it will look awesome with a trendy pair of boots, too. Love this choice!

 

Add a Peasant Blouse

A cotton top finishes out the base of your outfit.
A cotton top finishes out the base of your outfit. | Source

Add an off-the-shoulder peasant blouse in a jewel tone or your favorite color. Peasant blouses have been very popular the last couple of years, so it should be very easy to find one at a thrift or consignment shop if you don't already own something that will work.

Layer on a Hip Scarf

Tie a silky scarf around your waist and another around your hair. Look for long, wide, lightweight scarves and get creative! Tie a pretty fringed shawl around your waist or shoulders.

These hip scarves for belly dancing are eye-catching and a fabulous addition to your look. They're available in many gorgeous colors and also just might be the most popular item on this page.

Buy Home Chiffon Dangling Gold Coins Belly Dance Hip Skirt Scarf Wrap Belt (Black)
Buy Home Chiffon Dangling Gold Coins Belly Dance Hip Skirt Scarf Wrap Belt (Black)

These hip scarves are very inexpensive to buy. Stock up for those days that you're feeling in a Boho mood. (Admit it: We all have days like that, don't we?)

Note that each color has a different price, so click on each individual item on the product page to read the details.

 

Pile on the Jewelry

Wear lot of jewelry. Go for gold and dangly pieces.
Wear lot of jewelry. Go for gold and dangly pieces. | Source

Wear lots of jewelry, such as strings of beads, big hoop earrings, shiny chain necklaces, bracelets, and belts. Again, a thrift store should be able to provide you with some great choices. Go for flashy pieces as you're looking through the jewelry box. Load 'em on! A proper belly dancer can never have too many strands of beads! Even if you buy a costume, you'll want to embellish it with some "bling."

These stunning, dangling earrings are perfect for the look. Picture them with the head scarf above. Your costume is almost complete with these two items alone!

Gold Plated Q&Q Fashion® 1Pair Vintage Tribal Rare Coins Big Hoop Banjara Kuchi Belly Dance Chain Boho Gypsy Dangle Earrings,3.9",30g/pc
Gold Plated Q&Q Fashion® 1Pair Vintage Tribal Rare Coins Big Hoop Banjara Kuchi Belly Dance Chain Boho Gypsy Dangle Earrings,3.9",30g/pc

Prefer hoop earrings? Just click on through, and you'll find plenty in Amazon's jewelry department.

 

Where to Look for Boho Costume Pieces and Affordable Accessories

Think creatively when you're gathering pieces for your homemade costume.

You'll find ideas in:

• Your closet

• Your mom's closet

• Your friend's closet

• The neighborhood thrift store or consignment shop

• Mom's or grandma's jewelry box (ask first!)

Layer them on and have fun!

Poll: Make It or Buy It?

Do you prefer a homemade or store-bought costume?

Please participate in our quick poll. If you have more to add, we have a comments section for that near the bottom of the page. Thanks for voting!

Do you usually make or buy a Halloween costume?

See results

Complete, Pre-Made Costumes

Entire outfits for purchase or inspiration.

The Look We're Going for. Isn't It Gorgeous?

Includes the dress with the ruffled underskirt/petticoat, the bandana and waist sash (both with sequins), and vinyl belt, plus a half-dozen fortune teller cards to use as props.

InCharacter Costumes Women's Fortune Teller Costume Tan/Red/Blue, Large
InCharacter Costumes Women's Fortune Teller Costume Tan/Red/Blue, Large

This is a popular and absolutely beautiful ready-made costume with much of what you see (including the tarot cards) included. It's a very classy outfit, high quality and well put together.

Read the complete description and customer reviews for helpful information.

 
The author as a little Bohemian vagabond, many years ago.
The author as a little Bohemian vagabond, many years ago.

The adorable little Roma in the picture is the author of this page when she was about four, wearing her homemade costume, capturing the Boho look even before Boho was cool.

I was fortunate to have parents who took pictures, and since I'm the oldest of the kids in our family there are more pictures of me than any of the others. Many happy childhood memories are triggered when I look through my photo album. When I decided to make a page about Halloween based on my past experiences, the costume picture above immediately came to mind.

I called my mom to ask her about the costume. She thinks I was probably four years old. She says she can remember dressing me up this way, but she doesn't remember many of the details. In the '50s, women wore scarves more than they do today, and obviously we used a few to create my Boho look. My mom didn't wear big, dangly earrings, so I have to think that perhaps she borrowed at least the earrings and possibly some of the other jewelry from a friend or maybe one of my doting aunts. I wish we still had some of those fancy pieces!

I also wish the picture was in color, but in those days most people still took photos in black and white. It's pretty easy to see, though, that I was wearing some bright lipstick, and I'm sure my outfit was pretty colorful, too.

These days, store-bought Romany costumes often include a crystal ball. If my mother had one back then, I doubt it would have predicted that I'd be using this picture more than 50 years later to illustrate an article online. (Online? What's that?) My, how things have changed! But then again, how they've stayed the same. Dressing up at Halloween was fun then, and I'm guessing that most little girls today would still love to create a fancy Bohemian style dress costume like this one. Thank goodness kids still are born with imagination—and moms still like for their kids to have fun!

Thanks so much for visiting. Have fun creating your costume! Let us know how it turned out in a comment below.

© 2010 Susan Deppner

Comments? Share Your Romany Costume Ideas—Or Just Say Hello!

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      Susan Deppner 2 years ago from Arkansas USA

      She does have a wonderful voice, Adventuretravels, I agree. Have fun making your costume this year!

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 2 years ago from London UK

      Isn't Cher amazing - so self assured and confident. I love her voice. Anyway I make my own costumes because it's so much fun! Great ideas here. Thanks.

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 2 years ago from Arkansas USA

      LOL Thank you, @Sylvestermouse! So glad you stopped by.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 2 years ago from United States

      Totally awesome ideas and suggestions for a gypsy costume and that photo of "the author" is absolutely adorable.

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 2 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I was kinda cute as a little kid, lisln. My mother would have to agree. LOL So glad you stopped by!

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      LorLinda 2 years ago from Denver Colorado

      I can't get over how adorable you look in that picture of you when you were a child. Great hub Susan nice to see you again it has been awhile.

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      Susan Deppner 2 years ago from Arkansas USA

      That's so sweet, Elsie. Thank you! I love the memories that childhood pictures bring.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Awesome hub especially as halloween is just around the corner. You have a great collection and ideas for a gypsy costume. I love the photo of you all dress up and looking very happy with that smile on your face. Those are the pictures that warm the heart and make me smile. Thanks.

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 2 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Thank you, DDE. Dressing up is lots of fun!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Incredible! Such a lovely idea and sounds a great experience.

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 2 years ago from Arkansas USA

      The dance class sounds awesome, Arachnea. The belly dance hip scarves above are very popular and I suspect that many do double duty with belly dancers and gypsies or boho fans alike. It's a great look. Have fun with it!

    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 2 years ago from Texas USA

      I took a romani dance class years ago. Some of thse ideas would have come in handy for the costume part of the required performance. Much of my belly dance stuff would still work well for a gypsy costume. I may just do something this year.

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 2 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @TerriCarr: Gypsies love candy. :D Thanks so much for stopping by!

    • TerriCarr profile image

      TerriCarr 2 years ago

      I dressed up as a gypsy for my very last Halloween of Trick or Treating. I was at least 12 years old I think. Maybe 13 :-) I was reluctant to give up the candy grab.

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 2 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @DANCING COWGIRL: It would be fun to try it and see! Thanks for stopping by!

    • DANCING COWGIRL profile image

      Dancing Cowgirl Design 2 years ago from Texas

      I have never dressed up like a Gypsy but it looks like it would really be fun. I wonder if I would look anything like Cher? hahahahaha

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 3 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @Brite-Ideas: Oh, yes. I think that's part of why gypsy costumes are so popular. So many people simply love the look! Thanks, Brite-ideas!

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      these are a terrific costume idea, bright and almost retro hippie too

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 3 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @katiesnow: Sounds like a wonderful and very fun project with your granddaughter! Bet she remembers the costume for a very long time!

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      katiesnow 3 years ago

      I just love gypsy clothing, my granddaughter and I took 3 months to put together pieces for this past Halloween. They came out great and are so authentic looking, we made our jewelry from pieces found at Michaels and had a blast doing it. It will be a costume we were for the next few seasons and perhaps during our ghost walks!

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