Shoppers find good deals, a taste of theater

by Lenise Willis

Twin City Stage’s costume designer Justin Hall nattily presides over the theater’s costume sale. (photo by Lenise Willis)

Saturday, the Arts Council Theatre of Winston-Salem was filled with bright, vintage costumes, but one thing was missing: actors. The phantom clothes were simply hung up for sale, and shoppers were thrilled to get great vintage buys at a fraction of the cost.

Twin City Stage’s costume designer Justin Hall said the sale was not only to help lighten their crowded inventory, but also to raise money. Overall, the sale was a success.

“At 7:30 [a.m.] we had a line of people,” Hall said. “We also had three consignment reps that swept in. It was a really good sale, a really good turnout.”

Hall said they intend to have at least one costume sale a year to raise funds and awareness for the theater. “We also just want to let people know we’re here and say, ‘come to the theater — we exist,’” Hall said. Of course, this isn’t the first time that Twin City has killed two birds with one stone with a fundraising sale. They’ve also hosted bridal wear and prom dress sales for the past three or so years.

The sale, pleasantly enough, was neatly organized and did not resemble what one would think of for a “wheel of a deal” second-hand clothing sale. Six racks held an assortment of hanging coats, dresses and jackets. Jewelry and ties were arranged in bins and on tables.

Hall said most of the clothes for sale were chosen because of their “vintage sizes,” meaning smaller. “People aren’t built that way anymore, so we have a lot of 6s and 5s, which are really like size 2,” Hall said. “We don’t have a lot of women that size anymore.”

Heather Maggs previewed the selection on Friday and bought two short dresses, one of which she plans to wear to her brother’s wedding. She went back to the sale on Saturday to see if she could get any more interesting finds and walked away with an orange and white polka dot “onesie,” a black and tan evening gown and an orange hat from the 1940s.

“I just really love cute, creative stuff,” Maggs said. “Usually when you find cute vintage stuff it’s really expensive. It’s just really good deals.”

Women’s vintage hats were among the top sellers, going for just $3 a piece. Also popular were evening gowns and prom dresses, which sold for just $20 each. Other items sold were jewelry, fur coats and stoles (just $20-$30), bridal wear, short dresses and skirts, men’s ties, and vintage women’s shirts from the ’70s era.

Donna Hunt stopped by the sale with her daughter Audrey, an art student at Savannah College of Art and Design. “We like the idea of recycling things and using things that are already well made,” Donna said. Audrey said she doesn’t wear many vintage things, but she still thought she might find something interesting to wear. Audrey walked away with a red and tan casual dress for under $10.

As for the next Twin City Stage sale, its future looks pretty “grim” — that is, the costumes will be of darker themes for Halloween enthusiasts. Hall said they plan to host the costume sale in late September, early October to prepare for the holiday.

“I love putting people out in costumes,” Hall said. The sale will consist of a variety of retired clothing and ready-made zombie costumes, complete with makeup kits. Hall mentioned that any old prom dresses not sold will be “bloodied and dirtied up” for zombie wear.

Customers may also rent some of Twin City Stage’s costumes for Halloween. Hall also said that during the time of the sale, those interested can make an appointment for a costume consultation to be “dressed head to toe.”