Nerd Costume Ideas: How to Make a Homemade Nerd Costume
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I heard you wanted nerd costume ideas to satisfy your hunger for an awesome outfit this year, fellow Earthling. That's excellent because I've got some nifty tips for you right here! Jeepers, isn't that swell?
As far as qualifications go, well, I was on the math team and in the chess club for eight years. I hope that's enough to establish my "nerd cred!" To all you nerd-lovers out there ready to get up in arms: yes, this costume involves stereotypes, but that's what costumes are all about! And if you want to explore the other end of the spectrum, check out my punk costume article.
No nerd costume is complete without big geeky eyeglasses. I found mine at a local Goodwill thrift store.
Time to modify: 5 minutes.
- Buy a pair of cheap glasses at a thrift store or drug store. I got mine for $2 at Goodwill.
- If you have a mini-screwdriver, you can use this to loosen or remove the little screws keeping the lenses in place.
- Heating the glasses with a blow-drier or warm (not boiling!) water can also loosen the lenses.
- If that doesn't work, use a screwdriver or awl on the lens edge to pry out the lenses.
Pro tip: To truly make these glasses scream "Nerd!" just like a gaggle of high school bullies from the 80's, hell-bent on making life miserable for anyone not in the cool kid clique, you need to add the good ol' tape, a la "a jock broke my glasses and I took it upon myself to fix them." Masking tape, duct tape, scotch tape - the tape world is your oyster. This is how you express your nerd personality!
I found this cute little clip-on tie at Goodwill for about $3. It's a little plain for a nerd tie, but I think it works with the rest of the costume. Alternately, you can use a bow tie or even a regular tie. If you can find a particularly goofy or obnoxious tie, even better.
It's worth noting, however, that a nerd will not always wear a neck ornament: see Revenge of the Nerds for an example. It all depends on what kind of a nerd look you're going for; let your logical mind assess the best possible tie configuration.
The stereotypical nerd (whom we see in movies, often sporting a pocket protector sprouting out of a shirt pocket) usually wears a button-down shirt. It helps to set him (or her) apart from the regular masses in their tees and polos.
I was lucky enough to have a white button-down in my closet (although, unfortunately, I didn't own a shirt with pockets). If you don't have an appropriate button-down shirt, preferably one with a loud pattern, you can easily find one at your local thrift store. Make sure to button your shirt all the way to the top (another hallmark of nerd style!).
Pants, Socks, and Shoes
It's important to get something epic for the nerd costume pants. Again, loud patterns that you wouldn't usually wear are good, and again, you'll probably have no problem finding these kinds of pants at your local thrift store. You can also just wear khaki pants, but don't forget to make sure they're SHORT! Pants that hit at or above the ankle are a signature nerd calling card. The reasons for this are unclear - perhaps there's a correlation between intelligence and height? Or perhaps nerds can't find pants that fit because they're too busy studying quantum physics? If you need to, you can always roll up or pin the pants to make them appear shorter.
A quick note about belts: if you're wearing your pants high, you might need to get a new belt for this costume, as often your waist is a different size than your hips. Suspenders are also a great way to complete the look, especially brightly colored or patterned ones.
Socks and shoes should contrast. If you're going to wear dark leather shoes, make sure you wear bright white socks. And if you're wearing white tennis shoes, dark socks are the ticket. Of course, socks with designs on them work too, especially if you can find some really nerdy ones!
I might still tweak it a bit. I think that I could at least find a nerdier shirt, and maybe shorten the pants a bit. Some extra accessories you might want to add if you feel inspired:
- Pocket protector (the ultimate nerd item!)
- A sweater vest or cardigan for costume warmth and maximum nerdiness
- A textbook or notebook and pen
- If you're a girl, try some nerd hairstyles: pigtails, braids, or a ponytail.
- If you plan to carry a bag, go for a backpack or simple messenger bag. Remember: function over style.
- A love of learning and a nerdy attitude!
And remember the most important thing: have fun!