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The best costume shops in Sydney

Fix up, look sharp with the best costume shops Sydney has to offer

Photograph: Anna Kucera

When the occasion calls for costumes Sydney has everything you need. Whether you want to slay the DF in retro flares, swing back into the ’20s in a bedazzled frock or scare the bejesus out of your mates with a gory mask, these local costumiers will make sure you’re dressed to the nines. Want to get even more made up? Head to I Scream Nails for a crazy-ass mani.

Fancy dress costume hire in Sydney

1

The Wardrobe

You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into the dress up box of your dreams when you enter the Wardrobe. The store’s bright pink interiors are home to over 30,000 individual pieces of costuming. On site they have a tailoring room used to customise costumes and create one-off pieces for local theatre ensembles and school productions. Each year, the team of super-friendly theatre buffs, seamstresses and creatives head to the USA for the mega Halloween tradeshows where they find inspiration and trends for the following year. They often buy base costumes and embellish them, so you won’t be stuck in the same Alice in Wonderland costume as the other guys/girls at the party. When you hire an outfit you get head-to-toe styling rather than a one-size-fits-all option. This is particularly great for intricate costumes like elaborate steampunk outfits and OTT period pieces. 

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Chatswood
2

Fancy That Costume Hire

Anyone that’s frequently travelled along the Crows Nest part of the Pacific Highway will remember the cut out of a crocodile dressed as a cowboy holding a sign saying ‘Fancy That’. While the memories of the sign remain, Fancy That have ditched the croc sign and moved down the hill to some fresh new digs. The space has a lot more room that the previous location – downstairs you’ll find costumes and accessories to purchase: fake blood, mardi gras beads, tiki cups, neon wigs and other costume embellishing knick-knacks. But upstairs is where Fancy That really shines. They have a comprehensive database of costumes, which you can browse through on one of five iPads in store (or online). Once you’ve picked out a costume, staff will fetch it from the rows and rows of options for you to try on in one of the mint-green velvet curtained change rooms. It means you can do your research and plan your outfits with friends.

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Crows Nest
3

The Costume Shop

Its Waterloo location will serve anyone in the Inner West well – just make sure you arrive with plenty of time to try on all the different options. Downstairs you’ll find basic, for-purchase costumes. Upstairs you’ll find an extensive range of dress-ups organised mostly by period and style, from medieval outfits to ’50s frocks. You’ll also find wigs, hats and creepy rubber masks – perfect for Halloween. Downstairs the costumes are skewed to more specific characters, including Marvin the Martian to Carmen Miranda-style fruit headdresses.

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Waterloo
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4

Snog the Frog

Tucked away in a Surry Hills sidestreet is the little costume treasure chest known as Snog the Frog. After entering their garage door you are surrounded by a collection of ridiculous celebrity masks. Upstairs is a small retail area but the real winner here are the hire costumes – especially their celebrity and character costumes. Most full costumes are around $70 to hire but you can easily hire bits and pieces and combine them with items from home to create a costume. The strength of Snog the Frog is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously and that’s the attitude to take when you go in there. The staff are really friendly and helpful so they can turn you into pretty much whoever you want to be in seconds. While their costumes may not be the best quality you will be sure to have a great time dressing up in the shop and likely to make a few people laugh at the party.

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Surry Hills
5

The Theatrical Costume Shop

This CBD fancy dress emporium is the perfect place to go if you want to buy a costume but don’t want to spend a long time searching. City workers can easily pop in on a lunch break – and for under $100 they’ll walk out with something pretty cheesy but also a lot of fun. There are loads of character costumes – especially ones that are lacking in coverage. There’s also a huge range of Star Wars and sci-fi options for anybody who wants to unleash their inner-geek. If you’re looking for something of higher quality they also have a small range of more substantial costumes for hire.

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Sydney
6

ABC Costume Hire

The ABC has been making props and costumes for as long as they’ve been on our TVs and radios, so their costume hire section is pretty damn extensive. Located in Artarmon’s industrial sector, this for-hire-only shop is home to many of the outfits you may have seen on silverscreens over the past few decades. While the costumes are top notch, you’re paying a little bit more than most hiring places, and the limited staffing means they aren’t as accommodating as you may hope as you try on a Victorian-era style bustier (trust us).   

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Artarmon
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7

Party People Mega Store

This party shop has more balloons than we’ve ever seen in one spot before. They’ve also got copious sweets for candy bars, glow sticks galore and plenty of knick-knacks for themed parties. While the two-floor shop brings its A-game on the decorations front, the costume selection isn’t as comprehensive. There are plenty of options – from Minions to devils – but most are quite expensive and not top quality. There are, however, a great selection of special FX make-up transfers and contacts lenses.

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Drummoyne
8

Costume Party

This bargain shop has a decent costume selection – but the price cut means a cut in quality. Here you’ll find your run-of-the-mill nun, dentist and army outfits alongside extensive wacky sunglasses, sequined hot pants and fake blood.

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Newtown
9

Jester Fancy Dress

This sprawling costume shop has been peddling costumes since 1985 and has a big collection to show for it. Some of the outfits have seen better party days, but if you hunt through the collection or buy it brand-new you’ll be sure to find something that’ll work.

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Caringbah
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