Whether you are gearing up for a political protest or simply want to dress up as characters from your favorite new series, this guide will help you put together a Handmaid’s Tale costume with an authentic cloak and bonnet from the iconic series.
Based on the dystopian novel by author Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale (now adapted into a Hulu TV series) follows the lives of women in Gilead – a totalitarian regime in what was once the United States.
In this strange universe, women are treated as second-class citizens, and for women like main character Offred, her “duty” is to have children for childless couples while her own family has been shattered apart in the development of this misogynist society.
With The Handmaid’s Tale now in its second season, this is the perfect costume choice for anybody who wants something current and thought-provoking.
Handmaid’s Tale Costume Ideas
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How to Dress Like a Handmaid of Gilead
Hair and Bonnet:
The Handmaids of Gilead are usually seen with their hair strictly tied back and covered, hardly showing at all, and over their heads they wear strange white hoods which fold down almost like lampshades, covering their ears and shading their faces.
To get this look for your costume, you’ll need to tie your hair back with accessories such as elastics and bobby pins, which you can order from retail websites and hair salons. Use hairspray to hold any loose strands of hair tightly in place.
For the white hooded bonnet, see the costume prop provided in our guide or use white fabric to make your own.
Handmaids never wear any makeup at all, but they do have pallid complexions and stony, vacant faces.
For this extra eerie detail, use a light dusting of makeup power or concealer, and practice an expressionless face in the mirror.
The most striking thing about the Handmaids of Gilead is their scarlet red attire. This consists of a nun-like hooded red cloak which goes down to their ankles, and underneath this, they wear long-sleeved red dresses to match.
Made to wear this all the time, this modest but subtly chilling outfit is what really drills in the gravity of the situation these characters are trapped in. You can buy red hooded cloaks and red capes online from retail websites and costume shops.
Depending on the weather at your upcoming event, you can opt out of wearing the cape if it’s hot outside. Offred is depicted indoors as only wearing her red dress. However, when she’s outside walking, she always has her cape just like all the other Handmaids.
To complete your costume, you’ll need a pair of basic plain black boots, which you can get from any shoe store or retail website.
For an extra addition, get a red winter scarf from any accessories shop or retail website, similar to the scarf Offred wears during outdoor scenes on the show.