I love Downton Abbey . . . a lot . . . maybe too much. If you haven’t seen the series, I highly recommend it. One of my favorite aspects of the show is that it is set in the early 1900s, which happens to be one of my favorite eras in fashion EVER. It is less fancy than the 1800s, but more fancy than the 1920s, making it perfect! Given that this was a time when people (at least the wealthy) got very dressed up for dinner every night, there is no shortage of gorgeous dresses featured in the show.
If you have dreams of looking like one of the Crawleys, don’t worry if you don’t have a true early 20th century vintage dress (those are VERY expensive). Remember, you do not have to have a perfect match, you are going for a style or resemblance of the era.
With a few extra touches you can complete your Crawley look:
- A strand or two of pearls always adds elegance
- Add a fur collar over a conservative dress
- A modest hair band or tiara to your modern crimped hair, bobby-pins were all the rage
- Small and tiny handbags were appropriate for the era
- Long gloves that cover the elbow
We found both this long gold lace, empire waist gown and the black flapper style dress at the Family Thrift Store Outlet in Phoenix (4335 W. Glendale Ave., Glendale, AZ) where all of the items are priced at only $2.00!
Jen was able to put together this vintage look by finding a Shelly Segal silk with velvet burnout dress for $9.99 at a Goodwill store in Houston. She also found a vintage beaded shawl for $12 and vintage satin gloves for $5 at the Catholic Charity Guild that she put over the non-vintage dress that instantly transformed her 90s-era dress into a very authentic-looking early 1900s ensemble. To complete the look, Jen found some low heeled, sensible shoes at Target, added some costume jewelry from Forever 21, a fake cigarette with holder from Spirit Halloween, and finally added a hat with a sequin headband and broach on it to bring it all together.
Jen not only looked, but felt, much better in her high-quality costume pieces than she ever would have in a poor quality, cheaply made, bagged Halloween costume. An added bonus . . . no one even came close to having the same costume as she did that night.
Tips for putting together the Best DIY Halloween Costume from the thrift store:
Don’t pay over of 10% of retail (we didn’t spend over $10 on any of our clothing!).
Look for higher end luxurious fabrics such as silk, velvets, and brocades.
Shop with several themes in mind.
Find a dress or article of clothing you really like, do a search on your phone for costume ideas.
Think outside the box …
Click on the articles below for more halloween costume ideas we have put together from thrift stores:
Disney Snow White, Belle, Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin, King and Queen
Beyoncé (Foxy Cleopatra), The Matrix, Michael Jackson (Thriller) and More!
A great resource for thrift shopping is thethriftshopper.com. The next time you want to find a new thrift store in your area, or anywhere else, just enter the zip code on thethriftshopper.com. The site lists all of the stores in that area, complete with their hours, location, how to sign up for their mailing lists, and even reviews from other shoppers.
For more tips and tricks, check out our “11 Thrift Store Tips”.
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Remember, this whole process takes time so have fun … Happy Thrifting from Jen and Pippa!