Let’s start with what promises to be a popular theme again this year: Mad Men. Recreating the swank atmosphere of an early 1960s cocktail party is easy with these swell threads, clockwise from left: pink suit from 11karri Formal to Grunge Shop; floral skinny sheath dress from Flannery Crane; tucked waist dress from Vintage Goodness; and boucle jacket from Retro Threads.
But why not dial it back a decade or two? With the right hairdo (or wig) and makeup, these gorgeous 1940s-1950s day and evening dresses will transform you into your favorite star of the silver screen: Lena Horne? Lauren Bacall? Marilyn? Elizabeth Taylor? Sophia Loren? Doris Day? It’s your fantasy….have some fun!
Midcentury not your cup of tea? No problem! Whether you’re thinking Cyndi Lauper, Dynasty, or any Pop Tart of that decade, I found some killer Awesome Eighties choices.
In the 1970s, men were peacocks, so this is a great era for the guys. Think outside the white 3-piece suit for some authentic Disco Era gear.
Clockwise from top left: Bold blue print disco shirt from Runz With Vintage; leather jacket from Bird-in-Hand Vintage; abstract leaves disco shirt from Kitsch Wear; and nerdy scoop neck sweater vest from Beta Por Homme.
Some vintage clothing invokes a specific character. I managed the rental department of a huge Chicago costume shop for four years, and every October we needed to “name” our period costumes and true vintage clothing. See if you see what I see in these!
Back to the grownups (who are kids at heart), the sweet pink vintage baby doll dress from Beta Boutique is perfect for Shirley Temple, just add sausage curls and a big lollipop. Last, but not least, say it with me: Marcia, Marcia, Marcia! This drop-waist 60s dress from Three Chicks Vintage just screams The Brady Bunch.
Maybe you’re in the camp that believes Halloween is for sexy? Sexy witch, sexy vampire? These luscious dresses will fit the bill for Halloween, then stay at the ready year-round for the next time you want to attract attention.
In my experience, a lot of guys just want something simple. We have that covered, too. Here are some sweet pieces that make instant costumes.
Vintage clothing not only makes an easy costume, but a versatile one, too! Lots of 1970s-80s styles harkened back to earlier times. So these gowns can be a different costume every year, simply by changing your hairdo, makeup and accessories.
From left: Gunne Sax gown from Flannery Crane could be Karen Carpenter or a hippie bride this year, then add a Gibson Girl wig for Victorian next year; another Gunne Sax from Haute Country Vintage that could be totally 80s or Edwardian, depending upon how you finish it; and this ruffle embellished prom gown from Minicoops Vintage would make a delightful southern belle with the addition of a hoop skirt.
Here’s another tip: if you wear your vintage clothing plum out, you still have a great costume. Just shred it, cover it in fake blood, and you’re a Zombie!Let‘s face it, Halloween is about fantasy. Many a mild-mannered woman steps out in something she wouldn’t wear in public any other day of the year. So I want to close with some spectacular vintage lingerie I discovered. Whether you are creating an 80s Madonna look, an old-time saloon girl, Liz Taylor’s famous scene in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, or just want to take Prince’s advice and “wear lingerie to a restaurant,” these pieces will make you feel beautiful.
Whew! That’s a lotta vintage. And I didn’t even touch on vintage hats, neckties, jewelry, handbags and all the other goodies that will make yours the most spectacular costume ever. Or….if you’re lucky enough to be a talented seamstress, you can purchase vintage patterns from Etsy Vintage Team members to create a Halloween costume that’s both authentic and brand new. So let loose, have fun and go Vintage this year!