"West Side Story" Costume Ideas

Updated April 17, 2017

"West Side Story" is the musical adaptation of William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet". It is a classic love story about Tony, who is a member of the Jets, who falls in love with Maria, who is the sister of a member of a rival gang called the Sharks. There are many different characters in the story to dress up as for Halloween, a party or even a recreation of the play.

Riff, Leader of the Jets Costume

Riff wore multiple outfits throughout the production. However, one of his more notable outfits has a yellow jacket. To recreate this outfit you will need a yellow "members only" style jacket, a blue crew neck T-shirt, a pair of dark jeans or dark khakis and a pair of dark Chuck Taylor sneakers. Tuck your T-shirt into your trousers and wear your jacket over your shirt. Make sure your trousers are fitted and not baggy.

Jets Gang Member

The Jets' wardrobe was pretty simple. Put on a crew neck sweat shirt over a basic shirt. Make sure the shirt does not peak out of the bottom of the sweat shirt. Put on a pair of khakis in brown or a dark colour. Cuff the bottom of your trousers just slightly, maybe one or two rolls in the cuff. Add a pair of Chuck Taylor sneakers. Choose colours like dark blue, black or grey and avoid reds and greens.

Sharks Gang Member

Like the Jets, the Sharks had a fairly basic wardrobe. To recreate the Sharks' costume, choose a crew neck basic T-shirt in any colour. Colours in the movie are purple, black, green and others. Put on a pair of khakis in a light shade like plum or gold. Add a black headband around your head. For shoes choose dark blue, grey or black Chuck Taylor sneakers. Tuck your shirt into your trousers and finish the look off with a plain black belt.


Maria's wardrobe is a bit more difficult than the rest to recreate. If you need the costume for a play, it will be easier to create Maria's costume because you'll be able to see the young woman who is playing the role, and her costume will be seen in context. If however, you are creating the costume to wear for Halloween it will be a bit more challenging to get the idea across.

Choose a dress that falls just below the knee. Get a classy, short sleeved dress that is fitted at the waist and flares out or wear a belt the same colour as the dress around your waist to achieve this effect. Wear a low heel. Wear the top half of your hair pulled back and leave the rest out in curls.

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About the Author

Latoya McGill began her writing career in 2008 as a marketing assistant preparing press releases. She became a contributing writer for "Nommo Newsmagazine." She then continued her writing career as a publicist for "Madam C.J. Walker's Road to Success" and Web site content contributor for She received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles.