Faced with a sea of glittering shoes, feathered masks and sequined multicolored mariachi dresses among thousands of other pieces, a vintage Halloween costume hunter can suddenly feel overwhelmed. But you do not have to be. From celebrity stylists to thrift store managers, New Yorkers share advice on how to successfully thrift a Halloween costume without any stress.
Find a Staple Piece
“Find a piece you fall in love with and build off that,” said celebrity stylist David Eiduks. A vintage black dress with lace midriff detailing and a belling skirt can be transformed into an authentic Gothic Victorian costume with costume jewelry, gloves and, if you’re daring, a veil. Adding a leather trench coat to a simple outfit helps you become detective Dick Tracy.
Make it Your Own
“Create a unique idea … basically custom built from scratch,” said Metin Erinc, a manager of BrowNY, a New York pop-up shop. Add studs, diassemble jewelry and reuse beads. Don’t want to be Dorothy but want to use the round, woven basket you found at a thrift store? Dye the basket’s material black and transform it into a witch’s cauldron.
Use Found Objects
“Use something that is ‘non-clothes clothes,’” said Seri Traipoom, a Halloween associate at Screaming Mimis. To be a 1950s housewife, search vintage stores for aprons and old cooking materials. If you find an old woven basket and stuffed dog, you could be on your the way to skipping down the Yellow Brick Road.
Have No Fear
“Just go with your fantasy,” said Tatiana Neal, a manager at BrowNY. Halloween is about standing out, so follow your intuition and do something unexpected. Utilize a faux fur coat that swallows your body to become Wes Anderson’s Margo; a hat that towers two feet tall to call yourself Willy Wonka; that one piece you have always wanted to don but didn’t know how to do it.
This Halloween, the more daring the costume, the better.
Emily McDermott is a staff writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.