It always amazes me when I see people paying outrageous prices to rent or buy a costume. I can understand it if you are doing theater work and need a period piece for a renaissance play. How else would you come up with something that looks like Marie Antoinette?
But it you're really going to do it right, do like the people in theater do and hit the thrift shops! Most theater productions don't have two nickels to rub together. Budgets are ridiculously tight. In one production we needed costumes for the 1930's and where did we get them? We combed the town and hit every thrift shop within (and I'm not kidding here) a 50 mile radius. It was a large production and we had about 40 people to costume.
I took my own advice this weekend and hit the thrift shops to pull together a Paul Revere costume. I started with this picture that I found on the web at the Paul Revere House Site:
What I wanted to portray was Paul as a working man, which he was, a Silversmith. So, he had a blouse-y poets style shirt and a brown leather vest. That's what I would shoot for.
I could have gotten a 1776 Revolutionary Patriot Kids Costume , but do you really think Revere was wearing a "please shoot me now" military costume when he went wildly riding around the countryside warning about the British coming? Um, no. It would have been an everyday outfit where he could blend into a crowd if necessary. He wasn't a stupid man by any means.
So, off we (The Eldest and I) went on Saturday to canvas the thrift stores. Can you believe it? We got everything we needed in one store!
White blouse-y Shirt from the women's section? Check. Brown leather (suede) vest? Check. Tan pants? Check.
Candlestick to use as a prop with the antiqued paper we made? Check.
Total price for all this costume awesomeness? $12.32
Think you could buy a costume for that price? I think not.
The hat is actually a Captain Jack Sparrow Hat from Pirates of the Caribbean that we already had. We pinned up the dreadlocks and tucked them in. The boots are mine. Can you believe a 9 year old boy has the same size shoe as me? It's scary.
The really cool thing about this costume, is that it could easily double as a pirate one. Same time period after all. Just add sword, hook, eye patch and beard and it's yours for the taking! Aye, me hearties.
So next time you need a costume, rethink the whole "I'm going to go out and just rent or buy" thing. Hit up a thrift store instead! You'll be amazed at what you can pull together for a tiny amount of money.