How to Shop: Dorothy's Boutique


The Massachusetts Avenue storefront has been around since the 1940s, but shifted its focus from fashion to costumes when owner Jon Diamond took over the family biz in the ’80s, stuffing it with all manner of kooky garments.


The 2,000-square-foot space houses a dizzying selection of 300-plus packaged costumes both classic (French maid, Fred Flintstone) and current (The Girls Next Door, the Joker), most for less than $50 a pop. The front room is where creative costumers can have a field day with accessories: dozens of fake mustaches, from pencil to Fu Manchu (around $7 each); scores of wigs, from Amy Winehouse to Bob Marley ($15–$40); more than 200 hat styles, from pilot to Boy George ($2–$60); plus an extensive supply of jewelry and eyewear. If you don’t find exactly what you had in mind, the store will order "anything out there."


The week before Halloween, just getting in the door can require hours of wait time, with a bouncer strictly enforcing a two-in, two-out policy. Plan ahead to avoid the mayhem. For last-minute needs, best bets are early Sunday afternoons and weekdays right at the 10 a.m. opening time. Or, if you’re not picky, wait until the day of Halloween: The inventory is thinner but so are the crowds.


Dorothy’s is a playground for adults. While you’ll find children’s accessories, some offerings here are R-rated—so if you do bring Junior with you, be prepared to explain the nuances that distinguish Naughty Policewoman from Slutty Schoolgirl.

190 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, 617-262-9255,

  • Ian

    Dorothy's is great, but where else can I go? I also need an idea for a costume.