The Dress Up Box

22 Mar

My kids are so spoilt. Their collection of dress ups is the stuff of my childhood dreams. Most of my youth was spent off in LaLa Land pretending I was a gypsy princess wandering the vast mystical lands on some adventure or another. I spent my days singing in the tops of trees, making cubby houses and forcing my parents to watch (and pay for tickets to) yet another one of my “shows”. It is with much pride that I now watch my offspring play pretend with as much imagination as I once did. Its becoming a lost art in this electronic age where kids are lost in video games instead of their imaginations. Sometimes they need props to make pretend a little more real for them. Dress ups can ignite even the most reluctant player.

Over the years I have accumulated quite an impressive collection of kid’s dress ups, practically all of it sourced from op shops for next to nothing. Luckily I have girls as most of what’s on offer in stores are retired dancing costumes but I often spot a superhero suit or a cowboy hat in the mix. Although the young boys that visit our house are not as adverse to sequins and feather boas as you might think. In the heat of play kids abandon learned gender stereotypes like; boys don’t wear dresses, oh really?

Dancing costumes I picked up yesterday at St Vinnies.

Some op shops have a designated fancy dress section where you might find options for children and adults, wedding dresses, school uniforms and ethnic clothing like beautiful Indian saris. Prices vary but generally I’ve been able to pick up kids sized dress ups for as little as fifty cents, $1-$3. Considering the work that has gone into some of those dancing/ice-skating costumes, it’s an absolute bargain! My daughter dances and I often fork out up to $100 per costume. Costumes that are handmade and adorned with sequins & beadwork.

Little Miss loved this op shop ensemble. She thought she might wear it to the school disco!

Many people go to their local op shop looking for specific fancy dress items for an event like a retro party (unlike me who is just looking for any fancy dress all of the time). This is not as easy as it first appears. Unseasoned op shoppers are often overwhelmed by the whole op shopping experience. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, ask the staff. I’m sure they get asked if they have any khaki safari suits all the time.

Have you been fancy dress hunting at the op shop? What did you find?

3 Responses to “The Dress Up Box”

  1. The Beauty Philosopher April 2, 2012 at 10:26 pm #

    So sweet! I’ve gone to quite a few 1920s and 30s parties dressed in op shop finds that I wear separately in everyday circumstances too.

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