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.