She may be a recurring face on The Voice now, but we’ll always remember Gwen Stefani as the ultimate ’90s fashion icon. Not because the No Doubt singer’s signature style necessarily epitomized the time — some of those outfits were a mix of vintage glam and, well, the kind of Tumblr looks you’d see in 2017. She was marching to the beat of her own mohawked drummer during the age of gum and bubblegum pop, creating iconic (and let’s face it, kind of insane) looks that were all her own. And with Halloween on the horizon, what could be a better throwback costume that going full Gwen for the holiday, back in those ska-heavy Gavin Rossdale days?
Get your red lipstick at the ready, because we rounded up how you can recreate some of Gwen Stefani’s greatest looks from the ’90s (and ok, some of them bleed into the turn of the millenium, sue us).
Tragic Kingdom Costume
Good For: A look that’s iconic, cute, and yet surprisingly simple. Gwen on the Tragic Kingdom cover is both sunshine-y and sinister, so we kind of dig it. Also this is probably No Doubt’s best album, and we will fight you if you think differently. For the wig (if you don’t have platinum blonde hair) you may want to seperate the bottom part into pigtails), but that’s nitpicky.
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“Don’t Speak” Gwen Costume
Good For: A look that’s also cute, and yet surprisingly simple, maybe less iconic, but definitely more accessible at your office job than a red PVC minidress would be. Gwen’s look in the “Don’t Speak” music video is understated AF and one of her first real steps into sort of retro territory. That clasically Americana look is broken up by the bindi, something Gwen adopted while dating the band’s bassist (of Indian descent) Tony Kanal. This wavers into cultural appropriation territory, so use that at your discretion, but it’s really hard to construct a Gwen Stefani costume without a little bit of that (suffice to say we stayed far away from the Love Angel Music Baby years.
Rant aside, this look is so low-key that Gwen is barefoot throughout most of the scenes where she’s singing. But uh, maybe that won’t work at your office job either.
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Blue Hair MTV Costume
Good For: A look that’s really striking, memorable, and out-of-this-world. There’s also still something so 2017 about Gwen’s appearance at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards, like someone is rocking a dollar store version of this at Coachella. And yet, we’re just going to throw it out there that while the top is so awesome, this…kind of falls apart from the waist down. Like, we don’t know what she was doing. Which makes for an incredible Halloween costume nonethless, we just wanted to put it out there in case you wanted to source real style inspo.
Don’t forget the little buns!
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Good For: The lolz. Gwen wore those braces, as like, an aesthetic choice. Our inner metal mouth 7th grader wants to smack her for that.
But yeah, while there are so many amazing pink-haired Gwen looks from Return of Saturn (we’d easily recommend the Ex-Girlfriend music video for more info) this was the only image burned into our brains from that era. We used aluminum foil as grills in high school, so that would probably work here. Also you want to make those bangs as choppy as possible, so get friendly with some kitchen scissors. It’s not a glam get-up, but it is hilarious.
Rock Steady Gwen
Good For: Being the most extra of extra…and sort of weirdly inspired by London (houndstooth, really?). Ok, Rock Steady was firmly a 2001 release. But this is the album you all remember from elementary school, and if we don’t include a look from that time-frame you will undoubtedly revoke. And honestly, though there are plenty of punky Gwen looks from a few looks back, the crazed pattern mixing and red-black-white color pattern of Rock Steady stands stronger alone than all of them. It was here that Gwen started truly becoming a fashion icon, putting out these crazed high-low fashion outfits that would look ridiculous on anyone else (read: you will look ridiculous in this).
Doing one of Gwen’s Rock Steady looks is definitely a crowd-pleaser, but it requires a lot of work. If you’re really aiming for accuracy, you might find yourself heading to Michaels to make a “ND” necklace or Etsy to request “Rock Steady” rings. But for the bravest and the boldest, consider this a jumping off point where you can layer on as many chains as possible. Oh, and make sure your lipliner is a shade darker than your lipstick!
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