Goodwill, Second Hand Stores and Your Own Closet
- Goodwill and second-hand stores are a good place to begin when purchasing costumes for your theater company or Broadway-style musical. These are especially good if you're looking for slightly older costumes, or costumes that have a "period" feel to them. Selection will vary depending on what people have donated, but you may be able to find costumes from time periods your play takes place in, such as the 1960s or 1970s. You can even have cast members look in their closets or parents' and grandparents' closets to see if they can find older costumes from older eras, such as an acid-wash jacket from the 1980s or bell-bottoms from the 1970s.
Getting Clothes Dirty
- For many shows, it is important that certain characters look dirty and poor. In order to achieve this effect, take your costumes and literally drag them through the mud. You can hand the task over to children and ask them to dirty up their costumes. You can also soak items in a pot of warm tea to get them to appear even older.
- Making costumes isn't always an option, but you may be able to make a few if necessary. Iconic costumes, such as Annie's red dress featured in both "Annie" and "Annie Warbucks" or the children's outfits in "The Sound of Music" often have patterns in costume sections of sewing stores. You can often find non-specific costume patterns, such as the pirates in "Pirates of Penzance" or Colonial style outfits for a production of "1776." Making a costume, or hiring someone to make the costumes will ensure a proper fit for the actor and that the colors mesh with the director and costume designer's "vision."
- If you live in a big city or near one, chances are there is a large professional theater in the vicinity. These theaters often have expensive costumes made for their productions and try and recuperate costs and bring in extra income by letting smaller theater companies borrow them for a fee. Many companies will let you negotiate a budget as well, depending on what you can afford.