How to Dress as Cruella de Vil

March 11, 2014

Maleficent lived in the Middle Ages. Queen Grimhilde whiled away the 16th century. Lady Tremaine was a straight-up Victorian bitch. Ursula was, well, a woman of her time. 

But Cruella de Vil was the most modern Disney villainess—aside from Madame Medusa, of course—and thereby the easiest to emulate. She has the most arbitrary look too: You have more wiggle room in interpreting her ensemble than the other Disney baddies, with all their chimerical attires. 

Iggy Azalea served serious badassery in Halloween last year by adding her personal touch to Cruella's getup. The rapper ditched the red gloves for white and the LBD for a blouse and, aptly, houndstooth trousers, yet she still came out as distinctly Cruella. Then again, she channeled the Glenn Close version of Cruella. It also helped lots that she stepped out from this:

And brought this:

So excluding the dog and vintage car, how do you mimic Cruella and still be your fabulous self? How do you manage to wear a t-shirt and still be Disney's cruelest? 

Answer: It's all in the fur coat. And the monochromatic hair. 


Cruella's aesthetic can be summed up as a white fur coat or stole...but don't you dare shop for it! Your zero-cruelty move is to trawl the vintage stores. These stores are called 'vintage' for a reason: They stock unethically sourced fabrics from a time when people didn't know any better. 

'Faux fur' does not even get a pass. Many items claiming to be faux are secretly the real thing. If you don't have the time, you can always get your duds from the Halloween stores, but stay inquisitive.


Cruella's enduring popularity has made millionaires out of Halloween store owners. Wigs inspired by Cruella are perennial bestsellers for them. If you don't want to risk looking synthetic, use coloring sprays to blanch your mane. Or buy a black wig and spray-paint half of it white. 


The de Vil is in the details. In the animated movie, she prefers green for her eye shadow, to match her jade rings and earrings. 

These makeup artists will teach you how to look like the glamorous animal killer: 

Last but not the least, tote a cigarette holder!

Spot the difference

PETA's untiring crusade over the years has truly lent verisimilitude to Cruella's villainy. You only have to watch a video of an angora rabbit shrieking as it is skinned alive, just to make a coat. 

Want a more spot-on Cruella look without being vicious? Get a partner to dress up as a dalmatian! Even better: Just dress up as a fur-free Disney villain, rather than inadvertently encourage others to wear nasty fabrics.

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