The 5 Best Costume Rental Companies in Chicago
The performing arts scene in Chicago is alive and well! Whether you’re starring in a stage production, posing for a fun photo shoot, or attending a holiday party, there are a number of reasons why you may need a unique ensemble. Luckily, the Windy City does not come up short when it comes to costume rental companies. No matter the prop, accessory, or garment you’re searching for to complete your look, one of these shops is sure to have something for you.
Chicago Costume (CC) will make a believer of you quickly. Hundreds of reviews litter CC’s resume, averaging a near-perfect record with lines like “I’m never going to another costume pop-up shop again after finding Chicago Costume.” The helpful staff, the vast array of costumes on offer, you’re sure to have fun at this mainstay of the Chicago Costume Community.
While it’s celebrated outside of the Windy City, Chicago Costume is a local’s spot, where Chicago natives go when they need to turn a look for a party or for a costume designer’s steampunk vision to convey on screen. With a helpful, hands-on owner and an experienced staff on offer, you won’t be on your own inside this Lincoln Park shop off of West Fullerton Avenue. Cosplayers are especially welcome, and have carved out their own niche at Chicago Costume, where everyone from dress-up enthusiasts to Elvis impersonators can find exactly what they’re looking for.
Fantasy Costumes is a storied costume rental company in Chicago, getting its start way back in the 1960s. Owner George Garcia transitioned from selling wigs out of the back of his car to now owning a number of costume shops throughout Chicago. Fantasy is the flagship store, and it’s easy to see why. Originally heralded for its custom wig selection, Fantasy is now known throughout the area for being “the authority on all things dress-up.”
Highly touted and highly reviewed, Fantasy specializes in sci-fi attire for film, being head-and-shoulders above the competition for wig selection and natural human hair products, and mostly for their excellent customer service and selection. Whether you need to fulfill requirements for a photo shoot, film design or you just want to find a look for a party, Fantasy Costumes is the easiest choice in the area.
3. Lost Eras
For over 50 years, Lost Eras of Chicago has been providing studio-grade period clothing and costumes for production companies as well as a local following of customers. Lost Eras is a bit more than your average costume studio: with thousands of styles, genres and garments to choose from, this trendy shop doubles as a vintage store and a costume rental studio.
Specializing in convincing costumes from decades prior, this specialty studio sits on West Howard Street near Rogers Park. Lost Eras has helped countless theater productions, films and television projects successfully outfit their production with period, authentic, theatrical-grade costuming. With over 100,000 pieces to choose from, Lost Eras isn’t just one of Chicago’s best — this is one of the top costume rental companies in the country.
Speaking of history, Broadway Costumes Inc was established in 1886 in Chicago, providing quality rentals for masquerade balls of Chicago’s high society as well as opera productions all over the United States. In addition to a thriving online store, Broadway welcomes visitors, though follows strict protocols for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also, Broadway boasts an additional retail store for those looking beyond rentals. But, the cream of the crop is in their period designs, props, wigs and more, which have outfitted and costumed theater productions, operas, musicals and television productions for over a century. Their website features a rental directory, where anyone can get hands-on with the process and receive a detailed, itemized list of every piece on offer.
Many of these pieces have centuries-old stories sewn into their threads. That type of authenticity can only be found at a costume rental company of Broadway Costumes’ standards, and can only truly be achieved through decades of excellent care and customer service.
Founded by costume designer Kristen P. Ahern, Conscious Costume aims to promote sustainability in the performing arts. In the organization’s own words, “[Our mission is to] educate fellow artists on the urgency of new forms of design and production as relate to climate change, consumption, waste, and environmental justice.” The staff is very inclusive and encourages companies or designers who identify as BIPOC, disabled, or part of the LGBTQ+ community to reach out for any special accommodations.