I get asked frequently where I get clothes for my shoots, so I wanted to put together a list of places you can go to find really neat costumes without having to drive through the middle of America trying to find a random amazing thrift store. So, while I have not purchased from all of these places, they all seem like amazing options and I definitely would buy from them, or will be in the future…
…I just need to pace myself.
(In other words: Brooke, be good. Please don’t fizzle your money away on costumes.)
Purpose: Period piece + drama.
(online and in stores in Los Angeles)
Purpose: Vintage pieces by era.
Purpose: Inexpensive vintage items.
Purpose: Prairie dresses.
Purpose: High-end vintage.
Aside from online shops, whenever I travel to a new town I ask the locals where to go for vintage, second hand shops, or costume stores. A lot of towns do have places like this, and while they can be expensive, you can always try to haggle with the price. I have even “rented” from stores like this even though it is not their policy to do so – it doesn’t hurt to ask!
If you are searching on a site like Ebay or Etsy, some key words that I often use are:
Gunne Sax (brand)
I don’t worry to much about size when looking for vintage outfits, since one size is usually all that is offered. I always carry with me binder clips and safety pins so that I can make an outfit fit the model.
Robert Cornelius Photography - This is such a goldmine of glorious characters just waiting to be brought to life! I’m right there with you on the pacing yourself, ROBERT BE GOOD! I can see how it will require some restraint not to run up a scary bill buying all the gorgeous gowns!! Thanks for sharing. <3
T - Thank you, Brooke!! I spend too much money at Goodwill lol! All the sizes for vintage stuff are super tiny so I have to lose a couple pounds before I shop again. 😉
Swati Chakraborty - Thank you so much for the information, Brooke.
I am just a beginner. I love doing portraits and nature & wildlife.
Although I don’t do fine art photography, I love your creation -it is so fabulous and inspiring.
Liz - There’s something very emotionally stirring about gowns. The billowing in a breeze or the soft sensual feelings that flowing satin stirs. So many emotions can be evoked simply by the image of fabric.
Thanks for the links Brooke. And thanks a heap for all your video’s. You inspire me and I’m very grateful for that. x
Hanna - Great Brooke, thanks! I so hope they ship to Sweden! Another place you can find dresses and props is http://www.aliexpress.com, with free shipping. I have found props there such as wigs, angel wings, butterflies. I have to say that I don’t know about the environment impact of this kind of shopping, maybe some things are manufactured unethically, I don’t know! So if those things are important maybe it’s best to shop at another place. The deliveries take like a month or more but they do arrive eventually….
Margherita Introna - This is just bad bad bad 😛 but it in good way 😉 I have a serious prop dress addiction! Vintage shops are all the rage at the moment here in South Africa, so they are everywhere! I pop in whenever I can when I am out and about. On my last trip to Europe I bought 3 dresses on my travels by finding out where to go from locals. Typically though I purchase prop dresses from charity shops and regularly do my rounds – so much so that most of the staff know me already 😉 Finding a new prop dress is a massive source of inspiration for me!
jenessa - Seriously, though, I would just wear these things every day if I could.
But also for shoots! I’ve been a fan of the go-to bed sheet for most of my shoots, but I’d like to get a small stockpile of dresses.
Thanks for the information!
(P.S. – my butterflies should be here soon!)
Addie - Oh my, its probably not a good thing to be introduced to the nifty thrift site… I see a lot of money going there… and my husband will not be happy as props and especially dresses are taking over our whole garage – I am definitely a hoarder when it comes to this sort of stuff
you should also check out http://www.shopgoodwill.com – its like ebay but all from goodwill stores… I find some great deals there just check shipping costs before you bid
love you work… maybe we will work together in the future sometime
Mira - Brooke, thank you for sharing your experience!!!!! Sometimes, the outfit can inspire the creation of the image, for me, for example, clothing is one of the sources of inspiration!)))))
Elisabeth on Earth - Oh boy. I’m in trouble.
Victoria Stever - This is absolutely amazing! I just go to my thrift store here in town and think, we have 0 vintage items but plenty with stains and other mysterious items on them. Or I do find something amazing but can not afford it. Thank you so much for sharing!
Elisabeth on Earth - Oh ~ If anyone lives near the historic (and allegedly haunted) town of New Hope, PA, I love popping my head in Love Saves the Day. Only a store, no shopping online. Here’s their FB page: