Last year when I was trying to come up with an outfit for my school’s Tropical Tuesday theme during homecoming week, I remembered a Halloween costume from when I was young and knew it would be perfect – Carmen Miranda, or as I called her back then, the Chiquita Banana girl.

(As you may know from prior posts, I like to go all out for theme days, so a simple tropical printed maxi dress would not do!) Check out this post on how to create a simple Effy costume from “The Hunger Games.”

Carmen Miranda was a Portuguese Brazilian singer, dancer, and actress, popular between the 1930’s and 50’s. She was easily recognized by her bright, bold colors, tropical flair, and fruit-adorned headpiece.

I did not spend any money on this easy DIY Carmen Miranda costume; however, I did use a few pieces from my childhood costume. Everything else, I had or borrowed. You can easily recreate this look with whatever pieces you already own; feel free to put your own spin on her bold look!

DIY Carmen Miranda Costume

What you need

Outfit: choose a bright colored dress, bold, tropical printed dress, or flowy skirt and crop top. Feel free to mix and match fun colors and prints! I borrowed a simple comfortable teal dress from my mom and put a coral cami underneath to match my jewelry. I was also 5 months pregnant, so comfort was key. I used the arm bands my mom made me 15 years ago – thank you elastic! You can easily take a piece of tropical-printed material, gather it, and sew a piece of elastic to make the arm hole.

Jewelry: have fun layering on bright jewelry; I opted for geometric turquoise statement earrings, a matching cuff, cocktail ring, and coral necklace.

Makeup: don’t shy away from bold makeup! I went for a bright lip with a bronzed face for a somewhat safe look, but feel free to go a little crazy and play with colors to match your outfit.

Headpiece: my headpiece consisted of a piece of tropical fabric and fake fruit. I tried many different ways to secure the fruit to the fabric and came up with the easiest way to secure it all to my head after many attempts. It’s very easy. Put your hair in a high bun at the top of your head; flip your head over and secure the fabric around your head as if you’re getting out of the shower. The bun will give you extra height and stability for the fruit. Tuck the ends at the base of your head. Then, play around with the fruit placement and…get ready for it…pin into place! I wrestled with the idea of hot gluing them on, but pinning was much easier.

Carmet Miranda - It's Simply Lindsay

There you have it! A simple, DIY Carmen Miranda costume. You may already have these items at your house, or at the very least, a quick trip to a fabric store will have you looking like the Chiquita banana lady in $10 or less.


What are your go-to, simple DIY costumes?