Cell Block Tango costumes.
The idea here doesn't necessarily have to be the strict Chicago setting of women in jail. The basic concept is angry, jaded women who have been deprived and therefore have ended up in this sort of rag-tag, rough, fending for themselves persona. Obviously part of their anger comes from them, as women and being considered less than their husbands, being sexualized. While they may have taken the power back from the men, they were immediately put back down and repressed once again. They may be much more strong and powerful now, but that doesn't mean they've been able to escape the sexualization that comes with their roles as women.
Obviously since this is going to be a high school setting, we can't be over-sexual. We have to be covered and appropriate, but I don't want to lose the message of the song, which is why I tried to stick to cuts that are more sensual and considered appealing to a sexual eye (low cut tank tops, short shorts, sheer tops, form-fitting leggings, sleeveless, cropped vests). However, the textures and some of the fits (distressed denim, leather, loose button downs, structured vests) represent the more masculine form, showing the women's strength in taking the power back from their husbands.
I want to stick to threatening, angry colors, hence the use of black and red. The denim was added for texture and for context.
For shoes, obviously not everyone can dance in heels, especially not ones crazy tall like this. I'd like to stick to black for shoes, preferably some type of boot, especially if you're not doing a heel. I'd like to stay away from ballet flats as much as possible. A flat shoe with some kind of structured top is fine. Character shoes are also fine, as long as they're straight black. A lot of people are not aware of how much people subconsciously perceive you based on shoes. A ballet flat who more open shoe looks gentler, easier. A boot, something structured, taller looks strong. I want structure, but please stay away from anything too clunky. Combat boots defeat the "sexualized" image we've created and, practically, are nearly impossible to dance in. Also, avoid boots that are TOO tall (knee-high is too much) as they're very hard to dance in and would look out of place with the silhouette we've established using the cuts of shorts and vests.
I WANT EVERYONE'S SHOULDERS AND LEGS COVERED. Legs are more important, because the eye automatically perceives a bare leg as extremely sexual, and while we're trying to sell that image with the cut and style, we have to remember we're in a high school setting and bare legs would be considered too racy. The cut of tank tops are perfect, but, again, bare shoulders and chest are automatically seen as over sexual. Throwing a vest or a open button down over a tank top provides some coverage and, as it is, adds to the silhouette and adds some character.