Hello, everyone! I still haven't reached my goal of one post per week yet (clearly), but I am trying my best! Leave a comment and let me know you're reading to give me encouragement! ^_^
Thrift stores are a godsend to cosplayers. Besides the obvious as-is costume pieces, here are a few things you should think about thrifting for your costume!
Look for real or faux leather belts. You can get one for a couple of dollars, and is often worth it for the buckle alone. If your costume has straps and/or buckles, save yourself some time (making custom straps) and money (craft stores tend to overcharge for buckles) by hunting around for belts that will fit the bill. Also check purses! They often have multiple buckles and straps of varying shapes, sizes, and materials, and will help you find matching sets if you need more than one of the same buckle. A steal at a couple of bucks, and the condition of the fabric doesn't matter, as you'll be cutting it up!
|A work in progress: new shoe uppers for a Luminous|
Arc 2 costume.
2. Shoe Bases
If your costume has shoes that clearly don't exist, take a look at the shape of the sole and heel, and try to find some thrifted shoes that fit you with a similar sole. Then, build a new top! Find boots in your size and paint, reshape, or recover them. I can't tell you how surprisingly easy it is to reconstruct shoes with some patience and creativity and, of course, the right tools. I'll make a post about this in the future! Remember, also, that you can find as-is shoes this way, and don't overlook being able to clean up some dirt with cleaners, and bring back shine and colour with shoe polish.
3. Specialty Fabrics
Rather than looking at the clothes themselves, look at what they're made of! You can sometimes find beaded, embroidered, and other specialty fabric and trims on donated dresses, shirts, and jackets. You can also find interesting pieces of leather and suede this way. Shift your gaze as you look at garments from "this shirt" to "this piece of material", and look at it for its features, shape, and size. Also check donated curtains, fabric pieces, and bedspreads for more trims, lace, brocade, tapestry, and other unusual fabrics and finishes!
I hope you'll be able to look at thrifting in a new way when it comes to your costumes! Let me know what cool stuff you've found at thrift stores in the comments.