Costume Tips From a Vintage Shop Owner

This Halloween, avoid those pre-assembled, polyester ensembles (they're usually way overpriced, anyway), and challenge your creativity with a do-it-yourself costume. Not exactly the "Martha Stewart" type? You're in luck: Malena Martinez, the owner of the West Chester vintage boutique, Malena's, has supplied us with do's and don'ts for throwing together a super cool, D.I.Y. Halloween costume. (As for her own costume this year: "It's a secret!" says the shop owner.)

Do Think Outside the Box: "Personally I like the costumes that make you think. Or the kind that make you say, 'Wow, that's great...but what are you?'"

Do Incorporate Items You Already Own: "Start with your own closet, get a few ideas, then go out in the world to find the finishing touches."

Do Buy Something You Can Wear After Halloween: "I think it's best to buy something you can wear again in your normal life. Like getting a great dress, gloves, and pearls, and attaching a few black birds from a craft store to yourself, [to become] a character from Hitchcock's The Birds. Then, in your normal life, wear the dress out, the gloves with your winter coat, and the pearls with a great sweater and jeans!"

Don't Stress Out if Your Original Idea Doesn't Pan Out: "Having an idea that you are flexible on is a good [approach]. That way of you can't find what you are looking for, you have a Plan B, or can get help from the sales associate."

Do Draw Upon Pop Culture: "Get dressed up fancy, swing by [Malena's] for gloves and a hat, make a paper wedding invitation, and be a guest to The Royal Wedding."

Do Leave Extra Room for Halloween Party Grub: "[Our shop gets] busier with men who want dresses. Most women have a hard time fitting into vintage clothing since it runs so small; men don't get anywhere near to fitting into things!"

Do Try to Create a Lasting Memory: "I remember getting so excited to dress up for the 'Old Time' photo (above) of my brother and me. I wanted, specifically, the purple dress [but] the photographer [was] telling me the photo wasn't going to be in color, so it didn't matter.They had to clip it in the back because it was so big. Purple is still my favorite color!"

Related Stories on The Feast:
Video: Pierre's Costumes Owner Revels in 'Insanity' of Halloween Rush, Says Philly Loves to Play Dress-Up
Halloween Costume Ideas Abound at Manayunk's The Attic, Plus an Online Coupon
Philly's Top Spots for Halloween Costumes

Photo Credit: Celeste Guiliano

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