Shopping

The Best Costume Shops in Boston? These Vintage Clothing Stores

Your contest-winning outfit awaits.


Need a costume in a hurry? No need to fork over fistfuls of cash to Amazon for flimsy factory-made duds—Boston’s multitude of thrift shops, vintage vendors, and (yes) costume stores offer unique, fashionable pieces at a fraction of the cost. Here are a few of our favorite local outfitters.

Bobby from Boston

Bobby Garnett—the late New England fashion legend, who provided costumes for nearly 50 Hollywood films, including A Bronx Tale, A Beautiful Mind, and Moonrise Kingdom—may be gone, but the South End clothing shop he founded lives on. Located just a stone’s throw from SoWa Vintage Market, this is the go-to destination for men looking to find great deals on classic old-time apparel and accessories. Although this store is known for stocking high-end vintage menswear, there’s also a small selection of women’s clothing, including cocktail dresses from the ’60s and ’70s.

450 Harrison Ave., Boston, 617-423-9299, bobbyfrombostonvintage.com.

Boomerangs

Owned and operated by AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, Boomerangs supplies a dizzying range of high-quality new, vintage, and lightly used pieces. In addition to its wide range of men’s and women’s clothing, this thrift store’s merchandise includes books, home goods, electronics, and furniture. And Boomerangs offers one of the most feel-good shopping experiences around: In addition to the exhilaration of scoring a major bargain, you can revel in the fact that proceeds from your purchase support AIDS Action’s work.

716 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, 617-524-5120; 1870 Centre St., West Roxbury, 617-323-0262; 563 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-758-6128; 1407 Washington St., Boston, 617-456-0996; shopboomerangs.org.

Dorothy’s Boutique photo by Jon Diamond

Dorothy’s Boutique

Whether you’re searching for finishing touches to your Halloween ensemble or need to build your spooky getup from scratch, Dorothy’s stocks all the essentials. While this venerable Mass. Ave. shop is open year-round, it becomes a mandatory stop for Halloween season, with superhero masks, funky wigs, and glittery go-go boots filling every square inch of the storefront. Just don’t wait until the very last minute, or you may find yourself waiting in a line that snakes around the block.

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

Garment District

Garment District photo by sid on Flickr

The Garment District (and Boston Costume)

If you’re looking for a Halloween costume, or just a cool new outfit, the Garment District offers a huge selection of merchandise filling two floors of clothing racks from every decade of the last 70 years of fashion history. Open since 1986, this “alternative department store” supplies new and used apparel for women and men at below-market prices. It’s also the home of Boston Costume, your source for wigs, capes, fake noses, and any other theme party accessories you can dream up. With over 40,000 pieces of vintage and contemporary clothes on sale every day there really is “something for everyone” here.

200 Broadway St., Cambridge, 617-876-5230, garmentdistrict.com.

Oona's

Oona’s photo by L. on Flickr

Oona’s

Stocking a highly curated selection of vintage and modern clothing for men and women—think Twiggy-era shift dresses, sequined Valentino jackets, and Hawaiian-print shirts—Oona’s offers quality fashion pieces at boutique prices. Established in 1972, this secondhand boutique prides itself on being one of the city’s oldest vintage and designer resale stores. Stop in to shop apparel from brands like Dusen Dusen and Wray, as well as funky accessories, jewelry, and shoes.

1210 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-491-2654, oonasboston.com.

Raspberry Beret

With multiple Massachusetts locations, this women’s boutique specializes in contemporary consignment. Featuring new inventory every day, Raspberry Beret is an indispensable resource for funky, trendy, and classic styles of carefully selected mint-condition clothing and accessories. This shop carries apparel both bold and elegant, vintage and high-end. Some brands you may find in-store include Ann Taylor, BCBG, Calvin Klein, Free People, Lily Pulitzer, and Michael Kors.

Multiple locations; raspberryberet.us.

Photo provided by Recollective Vintage

Recollective

Having made appearances at everything from Brimfield to the Brooklyn Flea, this Southie shop won us over with its très chic secondhand fashion curated from vendors around New England. Need some retro flair, fast? Choose a groovy ascot or opt for some chunky aqua bangles. Or browse the selection the flowy floral maxi dresses, studded denim jackets, and paisley patterned blouses of yesteryear that line the shop’s exposed-brick walls. But don’t stop thrifting with your soon-to-be wardrobe staples—search through the stacks of shabby-chic suitcases or charmingly weathered street signs to spice up your space, too.

416 W. Broadway, Boston, 617-863-7938, shoprecollective.com.

SoWa Vintage Market

Open every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., this indoor bazaar is the premier destination for treasure hunters on the lookout for antiques, vintage, collectibles, art, and more. Throughout the year, thrifters can browse the wares of a wide selection of vendors offering curated collections of anything from midcentury evening wear and costume jewelry to retro furniture and home décor. Love antiquated curiosities and fun bargains? This is the place for you.

450 Harrison Ave., Boston, sowavintagemkt.com.

Photo provided by Vivant Vintage

Vivant Vintage

In a past life, Vivant Vintage peddled its small selection of edgy used clothing from a tricycle-powered cart. While the shop still maintains a pop-up presence around Boston, it put down roots in 2014, now selling its quirky collection—with items ranging from throwback band T-shirts and rough-and-tumble leather jackets to one-of-a-kind bolo ties—from the cozy confines of a brick-and-mortar Allston den. Don’t know where to start? Enlist Vivant Vintage’s staff to help you put together an eclectic outfit for any occasion.

318 Lincoln St., Allston, 857-228-8565, vivantvintage.com.


Note: This post features reporting from a 2015 roundup of vintage clothing stores in Boston.