Today I’m going to blog about fashion in one of my favorite films, Beetlejuice (1988)! This movie combines comedy, horror, and fantasy, and it was one of Tim Burton’s first films. There’s lots to take inspiration from in Beetlejuice. I hope you enjoy these outfits inspired by Adam and Barbara Maitland, Delia Deetz, Lydia Deetz, and Beetlejuice as much as I enjoyed making them!
About the Film
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the film, I’ll explain the plot in a little detail. Adam (Alec Baldwin) and Barbara (Geena Davis) Maitland are ghosts who died in a car accident and find themselves haunting their old house because they’re unable to leave it. When the Deetz’s (Catherine O’Hara, Jeffrey Jones) and their teen daughter Lydia (Wynona Rider) buy the home, the Maitlands try to scare them away, but to no avail. They summon Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton), who calls himself a “bio-exorcist,” by repeating his name three times. Despite the Maitlands’ requests, Beetlejuice ends up reaping havoc on the Deetz family, and things spiral out of control.
You can watch the trailer here:
1. Adam Maitland
Adam Maitland is your basic laid-back, smart-dressed, “cool dad.” His look is pretty simple, so I replicated it with a similar flannel, khaki pants, tennis shoes, and nerdy glasses. To modernize his look, I used a nautical orange bow tie to add a pop of color to his outfit, which is also done in the film with his orange undershirt.
Barbara Maitland is your basic “cookie cutter” wife. She wears mostly pink throughout the whole movie and her costumes were actually inspired by Laura Ashley. She’s mainly seen in a midi length, pink prairie dress. I found two similar prairie dresses on Etsy. The one with the apron look is my favorite, but since I couldn’t find a full length picture of it, I included both. Because Barbara’s style is so feminine, I also added pink shoes, a pink watch, and pearls to complete her look.
Delia Deetz is Lydia’s mom, and she’s overall a very snobby character, yet at the same time, hip and adventurous in her choice of clothes, art, and home decor; although, sometimes it comes out looking a little quirky and weird, especially for the 1980’s. When designing Delia’s look for the film, inspiration was actually taken from Japanese designers, including up-and-coming Asian labels such as Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo of Comme de Garcons, and Mitsuhiro Masuda! Incredible. All of Delia’s clothes were purchased during an afternoon at Maxfield’s boutique on Melrose Avenue, and not surprisingly, her look was the most expensive out of all the cast members. My favorite outfit she wore is pictured above when she wore suspenders with harem pants. I added some hints of Chanel in my look to show off her expensive taste, and I added an equally quirky hat as the one she usually wears in the movie (it’s a hat made out of a glove!).
Lydia’s character is the one who’s most defined by her clothes in the film. You might recognize the actress, Wynona Ryder, also as the heroine from the film, Edward Scissorhands (1990). This just goes to show you how important costume designs are, as she plays a COMPLETELY different character in each film. In Edward Scissorhands, she’s this preppy cheerleader, and she is completely transformed as a gothic, out-of-the-box girl in Beetlejuice. Her outfits really define her as unusual and not fitting in with the rest of her family.
Lydia Deetz is definitely one of my favorite characters to draw fashion inspiration from because I just really enjoy a gothic and punk look. Lydia wears mostly black throughout Beetlejuice, with skirts at midi and maxi length and classic flat boots. She’s also sometimes seen wearing a long, black trench coat. I added some gothic accessories such as black rose earrings, fingerless lace gloves, and a choker necklace. And of course, you can’t be Lydia without her polaroid camera and her black sun hat!
And now, for the man of the hour, Beetlejuice! His outfit takes a close second, since I also love combining bold prints, and combining the same print is even gutsier! To replicate his look I found a striped blazer and combined it with an interesting striped pencil skirt. For those who are feeling adventurous, striped trousers would also be a great combo, but I’m more of a skirt person, myself. I wanted to keep his look bold while also being classy, so I added some cut out platform booties and paired them with some ruffled white socks. Mixing hard and soft is one of my favorite fashion go-to’s, and this is just one way you can start experimenting with this trend. I also added green hair spray and face paint to get the complete Beetlejuice look, and found these adorable skeleton hair clips that complement the outfit perfectly!
Probably the most memorable scene of the film is at the very end when Beetlejuice tries to marry Lydia in the Red Wedding scene. For those who haven’t watched it yet, the Deetz’s accidentally end up exorcizing the Maitland’s and Lydia calls on Beetlejuice for help. Beetlejuice tells her he could save them, but only if she agrees to marry him. If Beetlejuice can marry someone from the human world, he’d be able to freely cause chaos in the human world without needing to be summoned. I think this scene is must be so memorable because throughout the movie, Lydia is seen wearing only black, so this splash of red ends up being very shocking and really stuck to the viewers’ minds!
It was already stated in the script before the movie started filming that Lydia would wear a wedding dress for the finale, but it was actually Aggie Guerard Rogers’s (Beetlejuice‘s costume designer) idea to use a blood red dress, which is something common in the Latin community. Upon hearing the suggestion, Tim Burton just smiled. The dress ended up being a perfect end to the film, and even today, this vintage styled gown with its high neck and full tiered skirt is a favorite theme for theme weddings and Halloween parties.
I copied their outfits by first creating Beetlejuice’s red velvet suit and adding a ruffled white shirt. I also added a spotted bow tie and brown leather boots to throwback to some of his earlier costumes in the film. I recreated Lydia’s blood red wedding look on the right by using this red dress I found with tulle in the skirt. To keep to her aesthetic, I added a red lacy choker, red fingerless gloves, and red Doc Martens. And of course, for both of them, you’d need lots of eyeliner and eye shadow. Create the biggest smokey eye you can!