Easy Halloween Costume: Jen Gotch (or My Love Letter to Ban.do)

Halloween, MOM FUN, Parties and Holidays

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Here’s the thing about this costume – 95% of the folks will not have a clue who you are, but the 5% that do? YOU WILL ROCK THEIR WORLD.

If you’ve been around me for a hot second, you know that I am obsessed with Ban.do and their fearlessly vulnerable leader Jen Gotch. Yes, it’s in large part due to the fact they sell things like metallic pants and iridescent sequin jackets (OMG, right?!?!), but, really, it is so much more.

Ban.do was the first online shop where I felt seen (I realize this is a super weird thing to say about a store, but it feels incredibly true.). Up until that point (which was probably ten years ago so online shopping was just getting going), I’d try to amp up my wardrobe by thrifting and scheming trips to Europe every couple of years so I could hit Zara and Top Shop, but it was tricky because I lived in Denver where hiking boots were an acceptable form of dating footwear (THE HORROR!).

So, when I first ran into Ban.do online, in the form of a giant floral pin that was literally as big as my head, I fell head over heels. It felt like someone saw all the best parts of me – my joy, creative bent, eccentricity, vulnerability, pizzazz – and put it into a online store where I’ve happily spent my money ever since.

And this doesn’t even touch on their founder, Jen Gotch, who literally changed my life (again, a weird thing to say about someone you don’t know, but the Internet has created some weird times).

At first, it was mainly fashion-related – Jen would show up on Instagram in Ryan Gosling pants or a Golden Girls sweatshirt and I would put them on the Christmas list for my family to roll their eyes at before purchasing them (I like to give them lots to talk about while they all hang out in their Patagonia, MWAHAHA.).

But then Jen started posting more about her mental health struggles and through watching her, I thought, “Hey, maybe it’s not usual to have times where you can’t get out of bed for days? And maybe not everyone has constant stomachaches and migraines because they’re so anxious? Maybe I’m not just ‘overly emotional’, but there’s something else going on here? Maybe I should do something about this?”

There were many catalysts for me to finally get my mental health in order, but I’m not sure it would have become so clear, so quickly, without Jen’s vulnerability, and, OMG, how did we get here and isn’t this supposed to be a fun Halloween costume post?!?!

Listen, the best way I could think to thank the gals who have brought me so much joy and sparkle over the years was to honor them with a Halloween costume. Also, it seemed like a really smart way to write off some of my Ban.do purchases. (I feel like my accountant is going to tell me that’s not how it works, but WHATEVER!)

Okay, let’s (FINALLY) get down to business! The best part about these costumes is they can be pulled together from your closet (go, last minute costuming!) or, if you’re really committed, by spending a few bucks on, wait for it, BAN.DO. Seriously, though, these costumes are less about specifics and more about having fun with a nod to someone who inspires us.

This first version ☝???? is 100% from Ban.do because I was not kidding when I said I own EVERYTHING on their site. For a DIY version, I’d say use a big sun hat, purchase these COOL sunglasses, throw on a tee with some colorful pants and sneakers and you’ve nailed it. I really went all out for the sign (SUCH a crafter ????) since it’s what makes the costume “Jen Gotch” and not “Kara on a random Tuesday.”

(The 7.3 refers to her emotional rating system and should actually read 7.8, which I thought I wrote, and I BLAME THE CHILDREN.)

But, Kara, what if I don’t own all the Ban.do, but still think you have the best idea ever?!?! No problem!

I like to call this version A Nod to Jen’s Aesthetic or something you might see me in next week. Yes, it’s about the long jacket over the dress with the scarf and socks with shoes, but is it really? I think we can all agree it’s all about the hair dryer, used to recreate a version of Jen’s Sex Hair, which I’m pretty sure would make you a hit at any Halloween party (just bring your extension cord).

I mean if that’s not a tribute you want to hang on your wall, I don’t what is.

❤️❤️❤️❤️Ban.do and Jen! Happy Halloween!

7.3 (7.8!) Costume:
floral pants // checkerboard Vans // straw hat // Cool sunglasses // “Make it Rain Rainbows” t-shirt (sold out, but how about this “Dance Your Ass Off” one instead?)

Dress with jacket costume:
similar floral dress // coral jacket is super old, but how about this (expensive-ish) but gorgeous red version // pink socks // silver shoes (sold out, but these pink ones are gorgeous! // vintage scarf // gold ball earrings // Big Mistake purse

• See how I wear these floral pants in real life (all the time!)
• I dug up this blog post on Ban.do from when I was a wedding blogger in 2011!

This post uses affiliate links. You can read all about them here.
Photos by Milou and Olin Photography

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