by | Oct 27, 2009 | ART

Casey Longyear is RVA’s fashion director. Here’s her advice for Halloween shopping on a budget, with the help of Shannon Christian and Nan Gallagher.


Casey Longyear is RVA’s fashion director. Here’s her advice for Halloween shopping on a budget, with the help of Shannon Christian and Nan Gallagher.


Hands down, you can find whatever costume needs you have at Exile. From punk accessories to vintage basics, Mimi will have you dressed to impress in her one stop costume shop.

One option is to mimic pop culture of the moment. Personify the animal style of Carol and Judith in Where the Wild Things are by pairing faux fur hats, scarves and vests, with leather skirts and boots, complete with tree and animal imagery detailing and wooden jewelry.

Items pictured are available at Exile. The complete look, including accessories, totals to under $45. Photo by Marshe Wyche.

Another more basic pop icon option is to dress in the prep style of everyone’s favorite Gossip Girl. We’ve all fallen in love with plaid, short skirts, cardigans, and pearls at some point in our lives, so put all those collected items together, pair them with a headband and heels and become the next Blair Waldorf. Or Jenny Humphrey. Xoxo, Gossip Girl.

Items pictured are available at Exile. This complete look will cost you $30. Photo by Marshe Wyche.

Or, take a traditional Halloween option such as a Vampire and add retro class with lingerie basics you might already own. Pair sheer tops, black jewelry, corsets and leotards to create an avante guard creature of the night.


As a popular vintage store, of course the local favorite Halycon carries the basics for all your favorite period piece Halloween From 80’s punk attire, to 20s flapper costumes, to matching couple costumes such as Bonnie & Clyde or Grease, the ladies of Halcyon can help you plot a memorable outfit for your night out.

Prices range from very low ($8) to moderately expensive ($50), however, most costumes right now are on the sale rack. Go take advantage!


Boys, boys, by this point your probably feel left out. Out of all the local options, the store that stood out the most for costume menswear was Bygones in Carytown. Most eye catching retro outfits were priced under $50. From a John Travolta reference to a cowboy, the ladies at Bygones will go out of their way to find you the right look for your Halloween outing.

Not forgetting the ladies, Bygones has an affordable costume rack with prices ranging from $10-20. Additionally, they have a large reproduction selection, where one can find amazing pin up girl costumes a la Betty Paige or Marilyn Monroe. On average, these looks would would run you $100.

House of Lukaya

Known as a mecca of locally made, artistic wear, House of Lukaya is a close by option for all you downtowners. From thrifted old fashioned uniforms, to hand detailed frilly slips, the owner of this Shockoe Bottom shop can help you dress up or down depending on what look you’re going for.

Barcodez (from Photosynthesizers): wearing a black satin 4-button suit ($65 pants and jacket), red & black poly button down shirt ($15) and red satin pocket square ($5), black leather hat ($25), cream gators ($45). lucretia: waffle house uniform ($18), apron ($15), rocket dog mary jane’s ($15) Micah: sleeveless black mandarin dress with red satin detail ($28), red heels ($25).


Going vintage is a simple way to dress up for the holiday without feeling over the top. One recession chic costume option is to dress as a 1950s college girl a la Kirsten Dunst or Julia Styles in Mona Lisa Smile. Simply pair a vintage dress, little hat, and a doctor size bag together, all available at thrift stores for next to nothing. In this kind of economy, you can wear these items on a daily basis, matched with modern accessories, cardigans and heeled boots.

Items pictured are available at Rumors. Each entire outfit will cost you less than $18. photo by Nick Ghobashi

Another vintage alternative is to dress as a recent pop icon. Whether you choice to go 80s glam, 70s hippie, or 60s bubble gum, it is easy to add pieces and accessories to items you already have in your closet. 80s clothing is everywhere right now, from your older brothers closet, to the neighborhood thrift store, to Forever 21, so just embrace it.

Matt Ringer

Matt Ringer

A meat popsicle.

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