London's best fancy dress shops

Stuck for outfit ideas? Dress to impress with our guide to the capital's best costumiers

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Halloween or not, social occasions are at least twice as fun when there's fancy dress involved. Cast off your going out uniform and switch it for, say, a 1920s flapper dress. Or perhaps an Elizabethan doublet. In these top-notch fancy dress shops you can give yourself a giant wound, try on terrifying masks, and get involved in full character outfits. Choosing your ideal alter-ego will be the only dilemma...

1

Only Fools and Peacocks

Nestled on Stoke Newington High Street, this emporium of all things weird and wonderful manages to bridge the gap between exclusive (and excruciatingly expensive) costumiers and tacky high-street fancy dress suppliers. Pieces are available to buy or rent at pretty reasonable prices, with costumes ranging from up-cycled fancy dress to originals sourced from the Royal Opera House wardrobe department. Full costume styling (£20 for 40 minutes) and make-up (from £25) are available by appointment, while bespoke pieces can also be made to order.

  1. 120 Stoke Newington High Street, N16 7NY
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2

Wear Wimbledon

It would take a real stiff not to get excited about the chance to go through the wardrobe archives of Wear Wimbledon. Over 50,000 costumes made for the big and small screen are available for hire, meaning you can rent a whole host of animal mascots, any kind of service uniform you can imagine or dress up as an arguably less frightening ‘Top Boy’ gangster. There are two floors of vintage women’s and men’s clothes resembling a more orderly Beyond Retro, with items dating back to the 1950s.

  1. 1 Deer Park Road, SW19 3TL
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3

Mad World Fancy Dress and Costume Hire

This vast dungeon of a fancy dress store offers a stellar personal service. Staff help you navigate some 35,000 costumes, from a sleek ant to a fuzzy Orvill duck, and make sure you have a bespoke outfit to take away. Prices start from around £15 for accessories (cloaks, top hats and the like) and full costumes start at £35. Further store in Charing Cross (441 The Strand, WC2N 4HZ).

  1. 69-85 Tabernacle Street, (entrance in Singer Street), EC2A 4BD
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4

Prangsta

A bespoke costumier in New Cross with a unique made-to-measure service as well as ready-made outfits and staff who can help you put a look together thanks to their styling service. This is the go-to venue for circus styling, and 18th century outfits are their bestsellers, but demand means they’ve increased their 1920s range in recent times.

  1. 304 New Cross Road, SE14 6AF
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5

Angels

Angels is the undisputed doyenne of fancy dress hire for adults and children in the capital. The range – spanning everything from splendid Tudor robes to a sequinned showgirl outfit from Octopussy – and quality are unparalleled. There’s also a selection of packet costumes and cheap superhero costumes for sale starting at £30.99. Outfits for hire from the shop start at £80 plus VAT and include matching accessories, plus £100 deposit.

  1. 119 Shaftesbury Avenue, WC2H 8AE
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6

The Costume Studio

Excellent, high-quality costume emporium with a rather impressive catalogue. There’s no cheap party tat here, only expert-made pieces, many of which are inspired by film costumes. Minimum hire £30, full outfits range from £65-£85.

  1. 159-161 Ball’s Pond Rd, N1 4BG
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7

Beyond Retro

One of London’s biggest and best second-hand shops and an excellent place to get kitted out for a fancy-dress party, with a mighty selection of cheap garments and accessories from the 1920s to the 1980s.

  1. 110-112 Cheshire Street, E2 6EJ
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8

Escapade

This well-known Camden shop has an extensive range of masks and accessories, as well as full character outfits from Harry Potter to Superman. Lazy party-goers can swing by for one of these affordable all-in-one outfits, rather than trying to piece together a bespoke outfit. You can also order from their website to avoid lugging the inevitably enormous packages home on the bus.

  1. 45-46 Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8AJ
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9

Carnival Store

Expect a strong selection of off-the-rack costumes and accessories, from fierce fangs to angelic wings, at this west London store. It initially appears small, but its two floors are rammed to the rafters with fancy dress delights and fun party gear.

  1. 95 Hammersmith Road, W14 0QH
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10

National Theatre Costume Hire Store

More high-class fancy dress than cheap party shop, any member of the public can can make an appointment at the National Theatre's costume warehouse. Rails are arranged chronologically from dramatic eighteenth-century ball gowns to 1920s flapper dresses for women, and from top hats and tails to Elizabethan ruffs and doublets for men. Enthusiastic staff are on hand to help you build a top-to-toe look (from £120).

  1. Chichester House, 1-3 Brixton Road, (Kennington Park Business Estate), SW9 6DE
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11

Screenface

Professional make-up artists seek out Screenface for its high-quality, long-lasting make-up and tools of the trade. Haircare is of a similarly high standard, as are the make-up brushes and other tools. Special effects are big business: fake blood, adhesives and removers, plus all types of facial hair, from handlebar moustaches to mutton chops.

  1. 48 Monmouth Street, WC2H 9EP
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12

Charles H Fox

This is the place professionals in the film and theatre industries come for make-up, wigs, latex and lashes. 1-2-1 make-up workshops are also on offer for men and women, covering glamour, editorial and avant-garde looks.

  1. 22 Tavistock Street, WC2E 7PY
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Users say

12 comments
Donna
Donna

If your looking for beautiful costumes for children then Badaboom Costume Party Emorium are the ones to go to for gorgeous hand made and up-cycled costumes. www.badaboomkids.com From Mexican inspired wrestlers to embellished geisha girl costumes, they have it all. Plus they also have entertainers and do children's parties. Can't recommend them enough.

Stacey
Stacey

Sad to see Oscars Den in Abbey Road NW6 wasn't listed. It has an array of fantastic and affordable costumes, masks and wigs. It's my one stop party shop.. www.oscarsden.com

Tuesday Greenidge
Tuesday Greenidge

Ten years ago I could not afford the stuff in this shop, but I dreamed about them often. Today I was able to make a purchase. The clothes are definitely not cheap, but they are so unique and most are beautifully crafted designer stuff, that it is well worth a visit. Get yourself down there. Esther will manage, just with her charm and her delightful (never annoying) chat to turn your browsing into buying. Trust me , it's a real treat. ’ve been walking past this shop for the last 15 years and it cheers me up every day. Crazy Clothes Connection is one of the few remnants of the “Old Notting Hill” which hasn’t been pushed out by the ever-increasing rents. So, what’s the secret? Even just walking past the shop and looking in the window on my way to work in the morning is fun - this must be the largest collection of utterly unwearable shoes in London. It gets even more fun when the awnings are down and the space below filled with rows and rows of weird and wonderful stuff. At long last, I had a reason to enter the secret den. I was in no doubt that this is where we would find our outfits for a fancy dress party. And so we did. But we also found a lot more. It is a real experience to meet Dereck who generously shares his view of the world and his experiences - at 82 he has quite a few stories to tell. It is he who is responsible for the old time jazz filling the street on a sunny afternoon, his record player positioned between the clothes rails on the pavement. His daughter Esther knows her stuff and soon found us just what we needed. Crazy Clothes aren’t cheap-cheap, but all their stuff is of great quality and doesn’t have the musty smell you encounter in many second hand stores. But it’s the people who make this a real experience - don’t go if you’re in a hurry as you’ll be missing out.

Nadia
Nadia

Considering the media coverage that Party Superstores had since they were victims of the London Riots and the fact that the owner supports his own charity in South East Asia from the store earnings im amazed you didn't even mentioned it!!! Not to even say that they have a great range of party stuff. http://www.partysuperstores.com/

Martin R
Martin R

Where is the best place to get a good quality mens Pirate outfit (hire or buy) in London?

Ahmed Trading Co
Ahmed Trading Co

Dear Sir/Madam We are bona fide Manufacturers and Exporters Embroidered Badges , Banners ,Hackles and Pipe Band Instruments. Our quality is fine and prices are very moderate. We Can execute all orders within required period. Awaiting your favourable response and assuring you Our best and prompt services. At all times, Very truly yours, For Ahmed Trading Company. info@rich-bro.com www.rich-bro.com

Martin
Martin

Antoinette in Sydenham is also very good for hire costumes!!

Rosie S
Rosie S

There's also an awesome shop on Hoxton street called I FANCY YOU great for all this that live in shoreditch/london fields area

Sergio Lucero
Sergio Lucero

For people in the Angel/Islington area, don't forget Preposterous Presents!! They have great Halloween gear and could certainly use the help as this may be, in their words, their last Halloween. In business since 1978!!! 262 Upper St, London N1 2UQ. http://www.preposterouspresents.co.uk/