Monday, January 24, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Costume Designer: Thrift Share Monday

It has been a crazy day so I'm a little late to the thrift share party. It seems like every time I sat down at the computer to load up my photos one fire or another needed to be put out, and another email needed to be answered, and another thing needed to be found.
Sometimes it's actually my job to go to a thrift store. Seriously! As a costume designer you have to go thrifting to make your budget work. Sunday I hit a few thrifts in search of sexy dresses for my girls in The Lover . My goal was to find a simple, classic, sexy dress for the leading lady as well as her at home casual look. I also was on a quest for a jersey knit wrap dress for one of our dancers. Here is what I bought:

For Lisa who plays Sarah, the lead.  
She is eagerly awaiting her lover for her afternoon tryst. 
Option 1: A knit jersey dress from Savers for $8.99 (I believe this hails from Forever 21.)  I love the twisted keyhole back and all the crossing seam lines. It represents for me how bound up Sarah is in her role playing. It constricts her rather than frees her. 

My only trepidation is that it may be a little too small and a little too short. So we search for Option 2. I found two little black dresses, because a little black dress is always sexy. The one on the left is from  Goodwill for $7.99. (Designer Boutique price.) But this week blue tags are half off so I got it for $4. Score! The dress on the right is a generic brand knit dress. It is not low cut enough for our purposes, but I can fix that. I know that Lisa will like the cut of the dress and the thickness of the fabric. It was $4.50 at Savers.

So the complication with this design is that this casual at home look has to fit over the sexy dress. Because Lisa has to make a costume change from one scene to another by herself in like 3 nanoseconds. Alvin, our director, suggested an exotic mu mu....

That statement made me think of Mrs. Roper from Three's Company: hmmm...too 70's

Then I thought of Ulie from Project Runway: hmmm.... too Miami.

Then I thought: Damn, I wish I could afford some fabulous Tory Burch dress
Oh wait, I actually own something similar to that!
Thanks Liberty of London for Target.
And then I picked up this at Savers for $4.50, another Forever 21 Special!
It certainly fits the "exotic" bill!

All of these day dresses will fit over any of the three sexy dresses. I think they all have a loungy, exotic quality without being too over the top.So on to the next girl...

For Steph who opens the show with a sexy dance for her man. 
The choreography dictates that this be a wrap dress. It has to be sexy but it has to cover sexy lingerie and needs to be quickly removed by the dancer during the dance.  The dancers are physical representations of our actors, so if I go with an exotic print for Lisa, I should do the same for Steph.  I found this BCBG Max Azria at Goodwill for $12.99. Good deal, especially for the exotic quality to the print and the swing of the skirt. I also grabbed the utilitarian black wrap dress below it  at the Goodwill for 4.99, just in case the other one doesn't work out.

Next step is to try them on the girls and see if they fit and work with the choreography and blocking. I also need to find some shoes, the thrifts were a bust in that department. I had a lot of right thing-wrong size  moments. 

I hope you all enjoyed your trip through a costume designers brain, but of course I took a quickie perusal through the house wares, just in case...

Georges Briard Fire King Casserole for $4.99
 California Pottery Dish for $1.00
Three vintage wise men made in Italy for $.49 ea.

The wise men are similar to my mothers set which is early mid-century.  According to her, Woolworth's would put out bins of Nativity Figures at Christmas so you could mix and match your creche. The figurines were either from Japan or Italy. I recognized them immediately as being vintage and snatched them up. There was also an Italian Mary and Baby Jesus that were slightly larger in scale, but that slack-ass Joseph was no where to be found so I left them to their fate.

Once again I'm linking up to Apron Thrift Girl's Thrift Share Monday.


  1. @stacey-I accidently deleted your comment! I'm sorry!

    This is the first Georges Briard piece I've ever found thrifting so I'm not sure if I'm going to collect his stuff or not. Regardless, it was too coll to pass up!

  2. I'm surprised at the Georges Briard piece too...but there is no rhyme or reason to what people give to the Salvation Army and Goodwill. They either don't know what they have, or they're too rich to care. :)

  3. OMGoodness. This took me back. I actually got into thrifting while studying and working as a costume designer. I have used thrifting in just about every job I have had....but of course, like you, I always have to look for myself, too. LOL.