Hollywood Costume Warehouses: A Vintage Girl’s Playground!

Yesterday I visited a couple costume warehouses to get wardrobe for my show Today Is History – our pilot is shooting in a couple weeks and we needed to get lots of 1880’s clothes and some Ancient Egyptian costumes. Costume warehouses are where a lot of movies and TV shows get their wardrobe that isn’t custom-made – they have everything, and it’s all categorized down to the decade. 1880s, 1890s, 1900s – and so on. It’s super cool. Nothing is exactly cheap to rent – $50 for a dress, $100-150 for an 1800s suit – but a lot of it is authentic and the staff there have an encyclopedic knowledge of their giant inventory. I won’t mention which ones specifically we went to because I’m not sure that I was supposed to be taking pictures, but I did. But I will say that one of the warehouses has a reserved parking spot out front for Janie Bryant, the costume designer for Mad Men. 😀

I wore my gray suit:

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Isn’t it gorgeous? You’ve seen the skirt before but not the whole thing together. I know it’s fifties but I don’t know more than that – the tag says W.J. Richards & Son, Braintree, Essex – unfortunately, it’s not on the Vintage Fashion Guild label guide.

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I did have people ask me why I was so dressed up. I kind of did my hair, too, but you can’t see it.

50s Suit – Etsy

70s Shirt – Jet Rag

Tights – Target (I wouldn’t buy these Merona brand ribbed tights again – I’ve only worn them a few times and they have multiple runs already)

Shoes – Naturalizer

The shoes were a hand-me-down, but I don’t really like them. Here’s why:

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I can’t get on board with that type of sole. It’s on a lot of modern shoes and I hate the way it looks. Why would you want to ruin a pretty shoe with an ugly sole that looks like it’s made out of tires? But I don’t have a lot of shoes right now so I guess I have to wear shoes I don’t like until I find ones I do.

But anyhow, let’s get back to the WAREHOUSES FULL OF VINTAGE CLOTHES!

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Tons of shoes!

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30’s shoes.

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I tried on a bunch of shoes. It’s funny that the farther back you go, the larger of a size you need. I’m a size 8 in modern shoes, an 8 1/2 in 50’s-60’s shoes, and a 9 in anything earlier. But try finding a size 9 in 1930’s shoes – good luck. It’s amazing to me how much larger people have gotten in under a century. We’re taller, our feet are bigger – can we chalk it all up to better medical care? Freakish GMOs? I don’t know.

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These shoes are super cool.

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Lovely Spectators…

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In pretty rough shape.

There were also tubs and tubs of hats. 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, divided by color, mourning hats with veils, bonnets. I tried on several from the “pink 50’s hats” tub.

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Love this one. It’s actually very wearable, don’t you think?

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I had to hold this one on my head in lieu of hat pins. Pretty fucking cool, though.

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You can’t quite see how long the feather was on this, but it was super long.

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In case you can’t tell, I’m in mourning in this picture. I wonder if anyone actually wore this hat while mourning? 😦

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I thought this huge aisle of Native American costumes was amazing. We have to do a Native American themed episode so we can rent some of these! I want to wear one!

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There’s my director after squeezing around this ladder – the huge ladders take up the whole aisle and you just have to squeeze around them.

 

And one last picture:

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That’s a weird candid photo of me at my friend’s birthday last night – I was doing an improv show afterwards so I changed to pants and added the hat and scarf. Pretty overdressed for the world I live in but that’s okay with me.

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7 thoughts on “Hollywood Costume Warehouses: A Vintage Girl’s Playground!

    • I bet you do have something like that – there’s a big enough film industry in Australia. The warehouses here also rent Halloween costumes, so they’re open to the public. But you definitely should visit the US – in my entirely objective opinion, Los Angeles is the best!

      • I only know of a few vintage stores who often talk about working with various stars. I will have to research. Halloween is something that is only just starting to take hold in Australia and even costume hire stores are few and far between. I definitely need to come to the states for a visit one time. So many stores I would like to visit. Maybe one day I will find the funds to visit at shop.

  1. Oh my word, I really do believe that it would take a team of wild horses to drag me away from a place like that. Every dress up, costume wearing, vintage loving fiber of my being would be floating around on cloud nine if I were to spend even the teeniest bit of time there. As that’s super unlikely to happen anytime soon though, I’ll just live out my fantasy of doing so vicariously through you and this wonderful post.

    ♥ Jessica

    • It really was awesome. The guy who worked there saw me trying on all the hats and he said, “You’re having fun, aren’t you?” If you ever come to LA we’ll have to have a blogger excursion!

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