Style » Fashion

Dressing You Up

by Jim Provenzano
Monday Oct 17, 2011

If you're short on time, but want to look cool this Halloween, pop-up stores (like the one probably showing up at the former Tower Records at 2280 Market St.) are good for a quick joke celebrity outfit. Kim Kardashian in a sealed plastic bag? Yes, please.

Oh, wait, we're talking about costumes. But what if you want something classy? Choose from more than 3,000 costumes for rent or sale at Costumes on Haight.

Average rentals are for two night/three days, according to manager Chuck Nicklow, who mentioned the classic costumes available, from Captain America to Harry Potter-style capes. Along with thousands of skirts, togas, masks and uniforms, the shop also carries a full line of face and eye makeup.

"We had our first costume reservation in February," said Nicklow, who expects a busy season this year. Prices vary from $15 for hats to $1000 for a complete suit of armor. Group outfits are popular as well (expect a few retro flight attendant herds).

With the late Amy Winehouse possibly becoming a posthumous icon this year, black beehive wigs will probably be popular. You can buy one for $35-$40.

Costumes on Haight, 7356 Haight St. 621-1356.

Fantasy Clothing in SoMa sells and rents a variety of classic costumes, from animals to vintage, political and traditional themes. Their Venetian-style carnivale masks are tastefully ornate. You can rent costumes for the weekend for as little as $100, according to owner/manager Lisa Serdengecti. If you're looking for obscure items, say a Clark Gable fake mustache versus a Groucho Marx style, choose from among the shop's many accessory shelves.

"We're a one-stop shop," said Serdengecti of their additional full make-up supplies also for sale.
Going out in drag? Choose from traditional or fluorescent colors. Feeling furry or have an admiration for monsters a la Lost in Space? Just try to resist the pink gorilla outfit, a steal at a mere $250.

Fantasy Clothing Company, 1275 Folsom St. at 9th. Suite 100. 556-9900.

"Wigs Aren't Toys!" reads the stern sign at Costume Party, which is conversely known for its glamorous vintage costume selection. When rhinestones and beaded skirts are a must, this shop can help bring out your inner 1920s flapper, 1950s beatnik, or 1960s Laugh-In cast member.

Costume Party, 1058 Hyde St. 885-3377.

For more prĂȘt-a-porter drag, Piedmont specializes in feather boas, lingerie, hosiery and other fabulous drag items. Piedmont, 1452 Haight St. 864-8075.

Foxy Lady already has discounted Halloween costumes on its website, and you know they'll be swamped as October ends, so check out their inventory soon. Whether you're custom-selecting your own drag dream, or want a quickie ready-to-wear frock, this local Mission boutique is extra gay-friendly for cross-dressing newbies (Full-length gowns for $100!). They also have a selection of larger high heels, if you're going all the drag way.

With the late Amy Winehouse possibly becoming a posthumous icon this year, black beehive wigs will probably be popular.

Foxy Lady, 2644 Mission St. 285-4890.

For classy upscale drag worthy of a red carpet opening, Cocomo's A Taste of Drag produces fine gowns for anyone.

"We make gowns and we have ready-to-wear," said Wesley Lind, aka Miss Patty McGroin. The Miss San Francisco 2011/2012 pagent winner has been running Cocomo's since November. Along with Halloween costumes, they create gowns year-round.

"Most of our clients are actually straight women, drag queens, and the rest are tourists," said Lind. "Tastes range from simple dresses to extravagant gowns. Our biggest request is shoes, because we carry up to size 16."

Lind is relatively new to the female illusionist scene (five years), but has taken to helping others realize their drag makeover dreams.

"We do make-up lessons, and you can get your hair styled," he said. "Shoe buyers get free walking instructions, so our clients learn how not to fall down. They can also padding if they need it."

Cocomo's has become an additional resource for some. "We get quite a few people in the transgender community who are looking for an outlet where they can be themselves, said Lind. "We create a safe environment for people to be what they want to be."

Cocomo's 538 Castro St. 852-9193.

Of course, many people appreciate an enthusiastic homemade costume. If you want your pirate, Ninja or True Blood costume to fit just right, get some fabric and accessories at the following shops:

Discount Fabrics, 201 11th St., 2315 Irving St. and 3006 San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley.

Fabric Outlet, 2109 Mission St.

Mendel's Art Supply, 1556 Haight St. 621-1287

You might even be the recipient of the strangest Halloween come-on line I ever received; "Oh, honey, come closer! I want to see your baste-stitching."

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