Ah, the thrift store. A veritable smorgasbord of costume inspiration. Racks upon racks stuffed with abandoned coats, gowns, and other once loved wearables waiting to be rediscovered. And, I am happy to oblige.
The second-hand shop is one of the best places to start your hunt for pieces to craft a unique costume.
These shops are easy on the budget, and they are a great resource when you want to build a one-of-a-kind look.
If you’re creating your own costume, you don’t need to start from scratch with fabric and a pattern. You can hack something already made and tweak it, cut it, dye it, and reimagine it into what you need.
I try to swing by a thrift or second-hand shop at least a couple of times every month to see if there’s anything I can add to the costume closet. Most of the time, I don’t go with a particular character in mind but rather let things inspire me.
One trip this past Fall season brought several new pieces to the closet, and I thought I’d share a few of them here in hopes that these finds will inspire you as well.
I love vintage and costume hats, so I keep my eyes open for those. Some shops have all of their headwear in one section. In this shop, the hats are scattered around on top of clothing racks and hanging wherever there is room making it more of a treasure hunt.
This colorful pair of fedoras was easy to spot. Perfect for the party scene, I could see using these as a start to a simple but eye-catching costume for Mardi Gras, New Year’s, and more.
Not only are they bright and fun, but they also light up. A small battery pack inside the hat has a switch for steady and flashing options – a nice little find.
There was a pile of wigs on a table, and some teens were having too much fun digging through them. Once they finished, I came back around as a few things had caught my eye.
Lucky for me, the teens left what I spied behind, and I came away with these three pieces.
This white wig is a hot mess and needs some serious TLC. I bought it because even if I can’t get it back into shape, I can tease the heck out of it without the worry of damaging it. Either way, I think it would be suited to a haunting lady, witchy woman, dead doll, or other ghostly costumes.
This half-and-half wig in lavender and purple was the first one I noticed in the wig pile. How could I not? It’s definitely attention-getting.
I think this would work well for a clown, party-girl, diva, cosplay character, or movie star. There are lots of fun options for this one.
The final hair-haul is a vintage brunette nylon wig made by Golden Girl. This is the one I hoped the teens would leave behind.
It features a black velvet headband that attaches with hook-and-loop tape and a wig comb built into the cap.
This wig would be a good piece for a theater to have in its stash as it’s so versatile. Any character that you need in a brunette mid-length, straight style can sport this wig.
Last, but most certainly not least, is this funky footwear. These make a point – pun intended.
Brand new and still in the box – I was not leaving these behind.
A cast of characters can rock these, including the rock star, creepy (yet fashionable) clown, hipster vampire, or well-dressed wolfman. These are definitely inspiring, and I can’t wait to get them into character.
Not a bad haul for a quick trip through the thrift shop. I can’t wait to go back and see what new thrift store costumes we can find.
Let me know how you would use these pieces to craft your character.