How to Halloween: Nancy Drew

So, it’s time for another How to Halloween.  Today, I decided to comply a costume for everyone’s favorite teen detective Nancy Drew.  The best thing about dressing like Nancy is that the costume is completely versatile.

Nancy Drew

Nancy Drew by yalbookbriefs featuring a tweed dress

See, I believe there are several versions of Nancy you can dress as: Classic Nancy, 1980’s Nancy, Modern Nancy, and Movie Nancy.  The set that I designed above is sort of a combo of modern day Nancy and movie Nancy.  But I will discuss how to dress as all versions of Nancy.

Classic Nancy:

All you need is to add some pearls and you have an instant Bree Vandekamp


Even though this Nancy is hardly as kick ass as later versions of her are.  You have to admit for female protagonist in the early 20th century she does kick butt.  I bet she’d never fall in love with a vampire.   And dressing as vintage Nancy would be pretty cool.  Cool but expensive since vintage clothes cost a pretty penny unless you have a relative that kept all their cool clothes from the 1930’s or whatever.  If you’re interested in finding vintage items online.  Here are a few sites.

Yeah, as I said earlier the prices aren’t that great.  One suggestion I would have if you want this look is to find stores that try to style their things in a vintage like fashion.  ModCloth, for example, often does this.  Also, if you really want this look your hair needs to go titian red.  Yep, titian red.  It was the signature description of ND’s hair at the time.  Oh, and don’t forget those pearls.  The pearls are a must.

1980’s/1990’s Nancy:

Cover aside, this is a pretty decent book from what I can remember.  They’re on a cruise and Nancy sort of has this thing for Frank but nothing (unfortunately) develops.  Though I do think he rescued her from being killed once or twice.  And they did meet for a midnight swim too.  But the hair and the clothes. D ear lord.


Honestly, this is the Nancy I knew and loved.  I remember discreetly stealing these books from my older sister’s room when I was a kid thinking I was cool because I was reading teen books.  When in reality these books are pretty vanilla.  I mean a kiss is as much action you get in them and those are few and far in between.  But they’re still pretty interesting to read if only to mock some of the terrible fashion choices that Nancy and her friends make.  Oh, and the chemistry she has with Frank and that Australian guy Mick something or another.  As for Ned, not so much chemistry there but it was always a good laugh to see him dumped or should I say semi-dumped (yes, I know I’m evil).

For a 1980’s Nancy you actually have lots of leeway.  Clothes from the 80’s are relatively easy to find (well, at least they’re easier to find than clothes from the 1930’s) and if you need inspiration to what Nancy would wear the book covers are pretty descriptive.  Not as descriptive as those Babysitters Club books were about Stacey and Claudia’s outfits but pretty close.

For hair, Nancy was always more blonde in this era than a redhead so if you’re blonde you can probably get by with your natural hair just as long as you perm it or whatever.  Though I’d still advise on the red wig.   I get that she’s described as being blonde in this era, but if you seriously want to be Nancy you have to have red hair.  And while makeup should still be minimum you can play it up a little bit.  This is suppose to be Nancy in the 1980’s so some fun should be had with makeup.

As for accessories.  Think old top of the line electronics.  Nancy always has the newest invention so if you could give her an old cell phone or something else that would make fighting crime a little easier do that.  However, it’s still crucial that you have a magnifying glass on hand.

Modern Nancy:


Most of my experience with the modern Nancy Drew has been through the video games (I think I stopped reading the actual series circa 2002/2004).  I do know from the images I’ve seen in the game that she’s described as having a casual chic.  I tried to do this in the set picking pieces that while fashionable didn’t seem too out of the ordinary-I mean, let’s face the most noteworthy piece on the set is the tweed dress and that goes in the Movie Nancy category.  Modern Nancy would probably even frown at the red shoes in the picture since it’s Bess that’s suppose to be the fun one.  Honestly, though I get why Nancy sort of dresses boring she’s suppose to be a girl detective and detectives aren’t suppose to be conspicuous.  One thing that I do think Nancy needs is some tech on her like an iPhone or something so that she can easily do research on the fly.

Movie Nancy:

 I never really watched the whole thing.  It’s sort of bad at least from the clips I saw on ABC Family.  Maybe one day I’ll subject myself to watching it to writing a review.  But one thing I will give this movie is I liked the way they dressed Nancy in it.  I get that there are several characters (just in the trailer alone) mocking her clothes.  But I do like the way they mix the old with new styles.  It’s sort of Rachel Berry-ish but better.  Bravo, costume designers( while the writing from what I’ve seen might’ve sucked but you definitely did your job well).  I tried to emulate some of these styles in the set.  For example, in the set is a tweed dress.  Pair it with a long sleeve shirt like a turtle neck or whatever and wear some cute flats with it and you’re ready to get sleuthing.  The hair in this movie is pretty easy to do too.  A plain red wig will suffice.  There’s not really much styling to do either.  I feel like you could just wear the hair down with a headband or in a ponytail.

So which Nancy look do you like best?  Trying to figure out how to dress like a specific YA character for Halloween ask me and I’ll try to help.

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2 thoughts on “How to Halloween: Nancy Drew

  1. Nancy Drew was my guilty pleasure series as a child and really my entry into YA books so I had to include her 😉 And the blue coat is so classic Nancy. It nothing outlandish but I think there's a subtle sophistication there that ND would so wear. Oh, and the 1980's books are the best. One day I might go through my storage unit and dig them out to review.

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