This Edwardian style gown is a wonderful example of how lighting choices can change the way we view a garment in different productions. In the left photo, the gown appears green, while in the photo at the right, it appears almost gray.

The dress was first seen on Michelle Dockery in the first season of Downton Abbey in 2010, and was more recently used in 2014 in the season 2 finale of Mr.Selfridge on Frances O’Connor as Rose Selfridge.

Costume Credit: Heidi

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In the 1950s and 1960s, Vincent Price made a slew of B Horror films. Just as B science fiction films have a history of reuse for costumes and props, so do B horror films.

House on Haunted Hill  and The Bat, both from 1959, are arguably two of Price’s more well known films - the above negligee with a distinct collar of entwined fabrics appears in both.

The gown is first seen in House on Haunted Hill on Carol Ohmart as Annabelle Loren. The costume was worn again by the incomparable Agnes Moorehead as Cornelia van Gorder in The Bat.

The costume can be seen in several lobby cards from both films. One card from The Bat imagines it to be pink, though the true colour is unknown, as both movies were filmed in black and white.

Costume Credit: April

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These pink dance ensembles were created by the famous costume designer Irene, who by this point in her career was the head costume supervisor at MGM studios.  She had come to MGM several years previously to replace costume designer Adrian when he went to work for Universal Studios.

These costumes were first seen in the 1946 film Easy to Wed, a remake of an earlier film called Libeled Lady.  The pieces appear on background singers and dancers for Lucille Ball’s production number, entitled “Continental Polka”, which can be viewed here.

The costumes, complete with feather headdresses, but minus the gloves, were used again in the 1948 film Easter Parade, where they were worn on background singers and dancers, as well as Judy Garland herself, playing the character of Hannah Brown.

Costume Credit: Cameron

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Science fiction films and television shows have had a long history of reuse over the years with sets, props and costumes. These distinctive helmets and armor have been spotted several times.

First seen in 1997 in Starship Troopers, the pieces were used again in Power Rangers: The Lost Galaxy in 1999. Lastly, they were seen in 2002 in an episode of Firefly called The Train Job, where they appeared to have been painted purple. Their reuse is actually even noted in the DVD commentary of Firefly.   If you look closely, there are points in the episode where you can still see where some of the pieces of armor are still covered in “Bug Blood” from Starship Troopers.

Costume Credit: Ben, Dire-Canusdirus, Fenrah, Formalhall, Rodent, Shrewsbury Lasses, Sylvia

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It is unknown just where exactly this highly detailed and beautifully embroidered early Jacobean style jacket originated. While it is possible that it was made for The New World, where it was first seen in 2005 on Q’orianka Kilcher as Pocahontas, most of the gowns from that film were recycled from earlier films such as Shakespeare In Love or Elizabeth.

The jacket is seen again in the opening credits of Showtime series The Tudors, most likely on Natalie Dormer as Anne Boleyn, though her face is not shown when we see the jacket. In 2008, it was seen on Esther Nubiola as Diane de Monsoreau in the film La dame de Monsoreau, and then again in 2014 on Alice Sanders as Fleur Baudin in the television show The Musketeers.

Jackets like these can often be seen in portraits from the time period, and several of them still exist today.  A portrait of Dorothy Cary, Viscountess Rochford shows a wonderful example, and an extant jacket in the collection at The Fashion Museum in Bath. is extremely similar to the costume above, right down to the pink ribbons.

Costume Credit: 66272, Gepaepyris,  Katie, Maryellen

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This space suit was first seen in the1966 episode of Doctor Who, entitled The Tenth Planet on Earl Cameron as Glyn Williams.  The costume seems to be one in a set of other similar space suits that show up along side it in The Tenth Planet, as well as another episode entitled The Wheel in Space, though the exact same suit does not re-appear in The Wheel in Space.

The exact same costume does, however, appear in the 1980 film Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back on Alan Harris as the Trandoshan bounty hunter Bossk.  Since filming for Star Wars took place partly in England, it was likely hired out from the same costume house that provided suits to Doctor Who fourteen years earlier.  A close inspection of the detailing on the costume reveals them to be the same, though some minor additions have been added for Empire Strikes Back.

Costume Credit: Jesse, Tim

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This lovely Victorian style gown was designed by Walter Plunkett for the 1947 film Green Dolphin Street, where it was worn on Donna Reed as Marguerite. Unfortunately, since the film is in black and white, the lovely colour of the dress can not be seen.  A lobby card promoting the film showed the gown as a pale pink, which was incorrect (though incorrect colouring on lobby cards was frequent).

A couple of years later in 1949, the gown’s true colour was shown to be a pale blue.  It was seen in a production of Little Women, which Plunkett also designed the costumes for (interestingly enough, Plunkett also designed the costumes for the 1933 version of Little Women as well).  He seems to have pulled his past creation for use again, where it was worn on Eloise Hardt as Sally Gardiner.

Costume Credit: James

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Can we purchase any of the recycled movie costumes?

Unfortunately I do not have any of the posted costumes personally available for purchase. 

If you want to purchase costumes that have been used in film and television, I can suggest several of the following resources:

It’s a Wrap!

Premiere Props



Ebay is also a good resource. Occasionally props and costumes from various productions will show up there.

If you want to rent a costume that you have seen in a movie or on television, you will have to find out what costume company supplied costumes for a production, which you can usually determine via the show’s IMDb page.  Some of the bigger costume houses that you could contact about rentals are:

Angels The largest costume house in the world. They did work on Marie Antoinette, The Young Victoria and even Game of Thrones.

Cosprop has outstanding costumes. They outfit shows such as Downton Abbey and Mr.Selfridge

Tirelli Costumi has some absolutely gorgeous costumes from a wide array of films, including Cold Mountain and Jane Eyre.

Western Costume Company, which has been outfitting numerous movies in Hollywood for years typically has a big sale about once a year to clean out their inventory. Occasionally you can find some wonderful things there.  You can also, of course, rent many of their costumes as well.

Lastly, Debbie Reynolds amassed an enormous collection of movie costumes over the years, which she has had to sell. The third part of the auction, through Profiles in History, is set to happen in May 2014.  If you visit the site, you can sign up to be notified when the auction catalog becomes available.

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Costumes for the 2005 Pride and Prejudice were designed by Jacqueline Durran, and were nominated for an Academy Award in Best Costume Design.

Despite not winning the Oscar, Jaqueline’s designs have gone on to be used in many, many Regency era dramas, including Becoming Jane, Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey.

This lovely green Regency gown was originally worn on Kelly Reily as Caroline Bingley. It was most recently seen again on Keri Russel as Jane Hayes in the 2013 film Austenland.

Costume Credit: Zuzana

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This crown has been used at least twice.  It was first seen in the 2000 mini-series The 10th Kingdom on Tim Dry as the Naked Emperor’s nephew.  It was used again in 2006 in Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, where it was worn by Jason Swartzman as King Louis XVI.

Costume Credit: Mim

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