A look at how I put together my DIY Peggy Carter’s red dress outfit that you can do yourself:
I am a sucker for a good costume. I get to dress up as whatever I want, and I enjoy the challenge of trying to create an authentic costume without buying one off the rack. But I also don’t have any real sewing skills, so it can be a challenge to create exactly the look I want.
I have so many costume ideas, but one which has been in my head for awhile is Peggy Carter. I’d love to do all of her outfits someday, but of course the red dress she wears in the first Captain America movie is a standout. Peggy is a kickass character, but she also looks great. I love the retro vibe ( I’d already attempted to recreate Wanda’s 1950s sitcom look!) so this was a lot of fun for me.
I also managed to convince my friend to dress as Captain America, so that was a good accessory too 😉 I’ll be happy to share info on how we got his costume and especially how I made the shield for him with a simple craft project. But today, let’s talk about Peggy!
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How to DIY Peggy Carter’s red dress
I decided to start with a red dress that was as close to the style she wears as possible. I don’t sew well, so a good dress that was similar was important! Then I could accessorize to make it more of Peggy’s look. Last year I took a cruise on Virgin Voyages where they have a “Scarlet Night” event, so I had gotten some red dresses to potentially wear for that. I bought one off of Amazon with more of that retro vibe… while I didn’t end up wearing it for the cruise, it was perfect for Peggy Carter!
The exact one I got on Amazon isn’t available anymore, though you can see it here in case it comes back into stock. But I can definitely point out a few things I would look for in a similar dress as well as find some that might work!
I think the most important elements to look for are a dress with a pencil line skirt, a v neck, and 3/4 or long sleeves. Her dress has a sort of ruffle around the neckline, but I decided to just forgo that element. If you’re looking to make your search a little easier, I think short sleeved options would be okay too.
If you want some help I think this one is the most similar that I can find (if I was shopping again this is what I’d go with!). But there are some other options below depending on your preferences and style.
To really make this a Peggy Carter costume, you need to add just the right accessories! If you are better with a needle and thread than I am you might opt to sew a ruffle on the neckline. If not, there are a few simple things I added.
The first is a red belt. Hers is completely red including the buckle, but I used what I had already. Last year I purchased a multi-pack of different colored skinny belts to use with various costumes and Disneybounding, and the red one came in handy here!
Peggy isn’t wearing much jewelry in this scene, though she does have a necklace and a watch. The watch seems like a simple wristwatch with a brown leather band. I always wear my sports watch and sometimes forget I even have it on, so awhile it is not time period at all it kinda snuck into the photos. Her necklace from what I could tell looks like it’s either a plain gold charm (maybe a heart) or something with a red gemstone as well. I just used what I had which was close, which was a silver necklace that has a red gem.
Finally, I added something to the outfit which she isn’t wearing at all, so some people might choose to skip this. She normally wears it with her military outfit, but I figured it would be a fun nod to the character to still wear it here! It’s an SSR pin (the division which Agent Carter serves – Strategic Scientific Reserve). It’s hard to see in the photos on Amazon, but it does in fact say SSR on it.
Peggy really leaned all in with the red outfit here, as she has red pumps on with the dress. I happened to have a pair of red heels that I picked up at Goodwill awhile ago (always a good place to search for fun pieces for costumes!). It shouldn’t be too hard to find a pair of red heels out there for an affordable price, whether it’s online shopping or your local secondhand store. I did notice that she has the round toe look, so I wanted that.
Peggy Carter’s Hair and Makeup
I often struggle with how to do my hair. I have a lot of hair that’s very thick, so it can be tricky to tame it and get it to do what I want. I found a tutorial on YouTube for Peggy Carter’s hair and makeup, so I decided to give it a go. While mine didn’t turn out perfectly, I think it was pretty good for a first attempt!
I didn’t really spend too much time on the makeup, though you can definitely get into it with the same video. I just really focused on the red lipstick. One of my favorite purchases ever was when Besame Cosmetics did a line of Agent Carter makeup, and I got the lipstick set (courtesy of Howard Stark, of course!). While that specific set is no longer available, they’re a great company for retro style makeup.
In fact, the same shade is available just without the Agent Carter packaging – and it’s actually the exact lipstick that Hayley Atwell wore while playing Peggy on the show Agent Carter. You can’t get much more authentic than that!
Tips for the perfect Peggy Carter Halloween costume
- Try to use what you have – I think instead of spending money on something that you’ll never use again, you’re better off with an item that might be a slightly different shade or not an identical match.
- It’s all about the details, which is why the above bullet point won’t matter. The style of the dress is probably most important, but then you can really do a little with simple accessories.
- If you can, watch the scene in Captain America where she’s wearing this costume. It helps to see things in different lighting and at different angles.
- If you’re going somewhere that you’re going to take a lot of photos, have some good poses in mind! Otherwise you might feel a bit awkward like I usually tend to do.
- I made a collage/mood board with the colors and different photos of Peggy Carter’s red dress below, so feel free to use that as inspiration!
What do you think of my attempt to DIY Peggy Carter’s red dress? Which of her outfits do you think I should try next?