Where To Find Vintage And Period Clothing For Portraits

Not all portrait sessions fit in the box of outdoors in open shade with your family all dressed up with outfits pulled together from the closet or a quick run to Target. Some portrait sessions are creative, imaginative, and out of the box and require clothing you may only reserve for a costume party! So where do you find the proper outfits if you’ve got a portrait concept like that? What if you want to infuse your photographs with a touch of timeless elegance or capture the essence of a specific era? Look no further than period clothing. Vintage, character, or period costumes can add a unique charm and storytelling element to your portraits. In this blog post, we’ll walk through where to find the perfect period outfits for your session in Atlanta, providing valuable insights and tips along the way!

victorian england period clothing creative portrait

Costume Rental Shops

One of the most accessible and convenient options for finding period outfits is visiting costume rental shops. These establishments specialize in providing costumes for various occasions, including photo shoots. Atlanta is home to several reputable costume rental shops that offer an extensive selection of vintage and period clothing. Renting a costume allows you to wear an authentic outfit without the need for a significant investment. In addition, these shops have a range of costumes from different eras, giving you plenty of choices to suit your desired style.

  1. Southeast Costume Company
  2. The Industry Supply Store
  3. Costumes Etc
  4. Norcostco
  5. Vintage by Judith

Thrift and Vintage Stores

For a hands-on and personalized experience, consider exploring thrift and vintage stores in Atlanta. These shops often carry unique clothing pieces from different eras, making it an exciting treasure hunt. You may stumble upon the perfect vintage outfit for your portrait session by browsing their collections. The advantage of thrift and vintage stores is the opportunity to find authentic garments that evoke a particular period’s spirit. Visit these stores with an open mind, and you may discover a hidden gem that brings your portrait vision to life.

  1. Psycho-Sisters
  2. The Clothing Warehouse
  3. Rag-O-Rama
  4. Mother Lode
vintage hollywood period clothing

Online Marketplaces

In the digital age, online marketplaces have become a treasure trove of vintage and period clothing. Websites like Etsy, eBay, and Ruby Lane offer a vast array of clothing options, including authentic vintage pieces and handmade reproductions. The benefit of shopping online is the convenience and access to a global marketplace. You can browse through thousands of listings from different sellers to find precisely what you’re looking for. When shopping online, be sure to check the seller’s ratings and reviews to ensure a reliable and trustworthy purchase. Additionally, communicate with the sellers to clarify any questions you may have regarding sizing, condition, or authenticity.

Costume Designers and Seamstresses

Consider working with costume designers or local seamstresses for a truly personalized and custom period outfit. These talented individuals can bring your vision to life by creating one-of-a-kind garments tailored specifically for your portrait session. Collaborating with a costume designer or seamstress allows you to have complete control over the design, fabric, and fit of your outfit. Research local costume designers and reach out to discuss your ideas and requirements. They will guide you through the process and create a stunning outfit that matches your desired period or character. Working with a professional ensures attention to detail and a garment that fits you perfectly.

salem witch period clothing portrait
Photo by Mike Glatzer Photography #mikeglatzerphotos

Community Theaters and Drama Departments

Community theaters and drama departments often have an extensive wardrobe of costumes from various eras. Reach out to local theaters and educational institutions with drama programs to inquire about borrowing or renting period clothing. These organizations may be willing to collaborate, especially if your project aligns with their mission or provides promotional opportunities. Collaborating with community theaters not only allows you access to a diverse selection of costumes but also supports the local arts community.

Tips for Selecting Period Clothing

  • Research and Plan: Determine the era you wish to embody before your portrait session. Collect reference images and create a mood board to communicate your vision. Understanding the fashion trends and styles of the period will help you make informed choices. Pinterest is a great starting point!
  • Consider Comfort: While finding an authentic and visually striking period outfit is essential, prioritizing comfort is equally important. Ensure the chosen period outfit allows for ease of movement, as comfort is essential during a photo shoot. Opt for breathable fabrics and garments that fit well.
  • Accessories and Props: Complete your period look with appropriate accessories and props. Hats, jewelry, gloves, and other accessories can enhance the authenticity of your ensemble and add visual interest to your portraits. Pay attention to the details that will truly transport your viewers to a different era.
  • Coordinate with the Photographer: Share your ideas and outfit choices with your photographer. They can provide valuable input on how to incorporate the period outfits into the overall composition and lighting of the photographs. In addition, collaborating with your photographer will ensure that the costumes harmonize with the overall aesthetic of the shoot. This article about choosing what to wear for your portrait session is about more modern clothing, but the principles still apply!


Finding period outfits for your creative portrait session in Atlanta is an exciting adventure that can elevate your photographs to new heights. From costume rental shops to online marketplaces and custom designs, the possibilities are endless. Whether you’re aiming for a vintage vibe, an iconic character portrayal, or a specific period’s elegance, period outfits add depth and storytelling to your portraits. So remember to plan ahead, consider comfort, and discuss your ideas with your photographer. By incorporating vintage, character, or period costumes, you’ll create timeless images that tell a captivating story.

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