Her face is one of the most famous in the world. Nefertiti (ca. 1370–1330 BCE) was the Great Royal Wife of the heretic Pharaoh Akhenaten, and her sublime portrait bust is one of the glories of ancient Egyptian art. The woman herself is still a mystery, although the clues about her are tantalizing. Her prominence during the Amarna Period is unmistakable, and it’s possible she became co-regent with Akhenaten. Even more intriguing is the possibility that she became pharaoh herself: did she take the throne after Akhenaten’s death, perhaps under the name Neferneferuaten? Egyptologists continue to study the question, and what’s exciting is that even now, almost three and half millennia later, new evidence is still being uncovered.

The good and bad thing about dressing up as Nefertiti is that you really need just one key element: that tall blue crown. This is good because the blue crown is such an inmistakable trademark that you might as well hang a sign saying “Hi, I’m Nefertiti” on your forehead. The bad thing is that it is not particularly easy to make one of those crowns. We’ve experimented with everything from popcorn buckets to posterboard. What we ended up liking the best, believe it or not, is a lampshade. It’s easy as pie because it fits right on the head, the fabric is elegant, and it doesn’t require crafting. All you need to do is wrap some ribbon around it and add a brass uraeus headpiece. Here are the pieces we suggest, from left to right:

1. Aspen cylinder lampshade in blue. This fabric-covered lampshade is 11 inches tall and 8 inches wide, for a circumference of about 25 inches. Nefertiti’s blue crown was flared out at the top, so a perfect cylinder isn’t exactly the right shape, but it still looks good. Depending on your hairstyle, you may need to pad the sides a little (lampshades being round and heads being oval).
2. One yard of 7/8 horizontal stripe grosgrain ribbon. Horizontal striped ribbon is a super-easy way to get the look of the bands on Nefertiti’s crown. The exact colorway of the ribbon we used is no longer available, but if you do a search you will find countless variations. Just wrap the ribbon around the middle of the lampshade and tie it in the back; let the ends hang down.
3. One yard of 1/4 inch gold metallic ribbon. Wrap the gold ribbon vertically down the center front of the lampshade and tie the knot inside.
4. Brass uraeus headpiece. Fit this around the bottom of the lampshade. The elastic should stretch enough, but if you have any problems you can just replace the elastic with ribbon (or more elastic).
5. Egyptian beaded collar. That shop (EgyptFinds on Etsy) always seems to have the largest selection of these beaded necklaces. Ours is a large nine-scarab necklace.
6. Koh Koh maxi dress in white. A long caftan-like dress is a great way to evoke the drapery styles of Egypt’s Eighteenth Dynasty. But pretty much any white maxi dress will work.

Making your own dress: If you would prefer to make your own Egyptian dress, Fashion-Era.com has excellent information. On the little figurine in our main illustration, it looks like Nefertiti is wearing what Fashion-Era calls the “Non Sash Open Egyptian Robe.” It requires about three yards of fabric.

Shoes: Flat gold sandals would be ideal.

Main illustration credits: The Nefertiti bust in in the collection of the Egyptian Museum of Berlin. The figure to the right is from the limestone statue of Nefertiti and Akhenaten in the Louvre.