Here at Dainty Dames Events, we love two things: 1) Supporting our local community and 2) Getting dressed up in fabulous outfits. A great way to accomplish both of those goals is by shopping at local vintage stores - with the added bonus of supporting Mother Earth! There's no better way to get ready for a murder mystery event than finding the perfect period-appropriate piece from your favorite vintage boutique.
Conscientious shopping is also a great way to support marginalized communities and put your money towards the people and causes that matter to you. With that in mind, here are seven vintage business owned by women of color based out of the SoCal area. And while in-person shopping is a little tricky right now, never fear! All these stores feature online shopping options - along with an incredible range of gorgeous vintage offerings, at a variety of price points.
And once you've found the perfect vintage outfit, sign up for one of our Dainty Dames Virtual Murder Mystery Events and show it off! Happy shopping!
PATTY WACK VINTAGE
Launched online in 2013 by owner/founder Sabine Maxine Lopez, Patty Wack Vintage features a hand curated selection of gorgeous vintage garments for every occasion, all at accessible price points. Sabine's work as a stylist was featured at Queer Fashion Week in 2016. PWV has also had a number of LA pop up events in the past; while those seem to be shelved for the moment, keep an eye out in the future halcyon days post-COVID.
Founded by Natasha Zoë Garrett, this Los Angeles-based online store will make all your neutral and earth-toned dreams come true. Recent offerings have included two piece sets crafted from vintage cotton nightgowns, creating a stunningly simple summer look. Natasha adds new items every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday - put it in your calendar, as these pieces go quickly!
HARLEM RAGSHOP 1934
Harlem RagShop 1934 features funky, eclectic pieces hand selected by Brandee Steger. Their colorful collection spans many decades, with especially fabulous pieces from the 1980s. Clothes from Harlem RagShop 1934 have been featured on TV shows like Glow and This Is Us.
Marie Monsod opened Recess in 2013, and the chic boutique quickly became a mainstay in the LA vintage scene. With collections from the 1920s to today, Recess is an incredible source for elegant vintage pieces from haute-couture to international fashion. They also offer consignment sales, in case you're looking to rehome some classy pieces before restocking your vintage wardrobe!
LITTLE PANDA BEAR FINDS
Self described as "Cool finds for cool people," this online-only store (based out of SoCal) features a range of fun, colorful pieces, with a focus on bold prints and textures, all modeled by the owner, Veronica.
Based out of LA, this online store run by KW has pieces from the 1960s on, ranging from rich, jewel tone statement blouses to sequined sheaths to ethereal white summer dresses.
BONUS: HONEYCUTT VINTAGE
LA based Honeycutt Vintage may not outfit your murder mystery wardrobe - but their selection of vintage homegoods is so wonderful we couldn't help but include it! From embossed books to colorful enamel dishware to home decor, each piece is aesthetically delightful - and functional! The store updates weekly on Sundays/Mondays.
What’s your Zoom aesthetic?: First, definitely click that “touch up appearance” option, then some good lighting. Try to get some good framing in there so I make a good square.
Favorite DD character to play: I’ve had the great fortune to play the French version of Butler Philip Lads (From the "Murder Without a Clue!" event) at over hundreds of Dainty Dames shows over the years. He’s been my favorite to play with his perfect mix of hosting duties and many opportunities for quick witted wordplay.
Favorite Mystery/Detective media: That would of course have to be the 1985 film Clue, the one that started it all for me. I did also just see Knives Out though and really liked it!
Favorite weapon in Clue: The witty repartees, duh.
Secret Skill: Kindness (awwwwwww)
If you turned out to be a murderer, what would your neighbors say about you in their evening news interview?: He does look a lot like Anthony Perkins...
Anything else you'd like to share?: I’ve been having an absolute blast knowing Jillian and Renee and getting to work and play with them all these years. I credit working with them on their shows early on with where I feel I developed my chops for many of the other immersive shows and experiences I went on to do after.
Our murder mystery events come to life thanks to our talented cast of Dainty Dames and Gents! While you can read about their illustrious professional credits and background on our Cast Members page, we wanted to catch up with our cast and get a more personal profile. First up, the explosively talented actor Tory N. Thompson, also known as TNT! TNT has been with Dainty Dames Events from the very beginning, and brings a dry humor and million-watt smile to every occasion.
You can catch up with TNT on social media (@Tory_Is_TNT) and on his website www.ToryNThompson.com
Some quick TNT facts:
What have you been doing during quarantine?: Raising a puppy
What’s your Zoom aesthetic?: Blank wall and ring light (keeping it minimalist!)
Favorite Dainty Dames character to play: Agent Black (from the "Murder Without A Clue!" event)
Favorite Mystery/Detective media: Recently, Knives Out
Favorite weapon in Clue: Candlestick
Secret Skill: Dodgeball pro (hm, has a dodgeball ever been used as a murder weapon?)
If you turned out to be a murderer, what would your neighbors say about you in their evening news interview?: "He probably played the music so loud to hide all his victims’ screams."
HOW TO DRESS FOR A 1920S MURDER MYSTERY PARTY WITH ITEMS FROM YOUR OWN HOME (PART 2: Suits and pants)
As promised, Part 2 of our 1920s murder mystery party costume ideas: pants and suits! When you're getting ready for a Dainty Dames virtual murder mystery event, your outfit is key. Whether your character is a Fitzgeraldian member of the partying elite, or a Prohibition-defying rumrunner, it's easy to whip up an appropriate costume using clothes you already have. One benefit of traditionally masculine fashion: the historical differences tend to be a bit subtler, so unless one of your fellow guests is a Time Traveler (whats-your-murder-mystery-personality.html), most suits will get you by just fine without too much scrutiny. Get your fedoras and knickerbockers ready, and let's jazz it up!
1920s murder mystery costumes: suits/pants
If your murder mystery character has some shady overtones - maybe the character card hints at rum smuggling, or Al Capone-esque dealings - then you definitely want to dress the part! The 1920s is where we get our classic image of “gangster” from - pinstripe suits with wide lapels and dashing fedoras at rakish angles. Keep colors dark and ominous - think greys and blacks. A pinstripe look is ideal, but if you don’t have that lying around, a white button-down shirt with a dark vest and pants will get the idea across. Slick your hair back with gel or pomade, chew on an (unlit!) cigar, and maybe stash a silver flask in your pocket.
For more of a Jay Gatsby 1920s-millionaire type look, it’s all about clean lines and rich materials. If you have a white suit, or even a tuxedo, now’s the time to bring it out! If not, you can still play a little bit more with color - a blue or brown suit is appropriate here, and you can incorporate a few more patterns, as art deco was really taking off. Cufflinks will really add a touch of authenticity - it’s all about looking like you have money and taste and want everyone to know! For an added bonus, draw on a pencil-thin moustache à la Rudolph Valentino and watch the other guests swoon.
Not a fan of suits? Is your murder mystery a more relaxed affair? While the 1920s were a very dressy time, there are a few fun sporty styles to put together. The most important item is: a sweater vest! If you don’t have one of these ever-so-stylish items, but you do have a disposable sweater, cut the sleeves off, and you’re good to go. You can either really have fun by mixing and matching wild patterns, or go all white for a classic tennis outfit. To get the authentic 1920s sportswear look, tuck your pant legs into some long argyle socks, and show off your shapely calves - who said only flappers get to be leggy? A simple button down underneath, and a newsboy or boater cap, and voila! You’ll be ready for a garden party in no time.
So what do you think? Are 1920s costumes a cinch, or do you find yourself longing for a higher waistline and an end to pinstripes? Never fear, here at Dainty Dames Events we offer a wide variety of themes and settings for our murder mysteries. Stay tuned for future costume ideas across the ages!
How to dress for a 1920s Murder Mystery Party with items from your own home (Part 1: Dresses and Skirts)
You know what they say - the clothes make the man (or woman, or person)! Our Dainty Dames murder mystery experiences are the most fun when you get immersed in your characters, and having the right costume helps enormously. Of course, you can always go online and find the perfect vintage piece. But if you want to keep it a little closer to home, there are lots of ways to make the perfect period-appropriate murder mystery costume with items already in your wardrobe!
At Dainty Dames, we offer enthralling murder mystery experiences set in many different time periods. We’ll be posting a series on how to dress for each decade, so you can win that Best Dressed award. First up: the Roaring 20s!
1920s Murder Mystery Costumes: Dresses/skirts
Zoom Tip - if you’re participating in one of our Virtual Murder Mysteries, remember: you’ll only be seen from the waist up! So if you don’t have the right dress, have no fear - try a loose fitting sleeveless top with the right neckline, and slap on those accessories! (Please note - you might have to step away from your computer in search of clues, so do make sure you’re wearing some sort of bottoms!)
We could write a whole other blog on period hair and makeup - and we will! Keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming entry. And if dresses and skirts aren't your thing, never fear - our next post will dive into the suits and pants of 1920s fashion!
What are your favorite period costume hacks? What vintage murder mystery era are you most excited for? Let us know in the comments below!
Over the years of producing high-quality, thrilling murder mystery events, we’ve come to recognize the different personalities of guests that show up. Each of our events is a unique improvised evening guided by the individual participants, but...you start to see some trends. And with that experience, we’re also able to tailor our murder mystery events to your specific makeup of guests. So whether your friends are all brainiac Sleuths, low-key Wallflowers, or an even balance of all the personalities, we can provide a thrilling, entertaining evening designed to leave everyone satisfied!
Pores over every clue, figures out riddles in the blink of an eye, and maybe gets a little too enthusiastic in their interrogations. The Sleuth knows there’s a solution to this mystery, and they’ll be darned if they aren’t the first to solve it! An excellent person to have on your team - as long as you have nothing to hide!
The Time Traveler
Shows up in full period-appropriate costuming, hair, and makeup, and wants everyone to know about it. Looks blankly at you when you suggest Googling the answer to a clue, since Google wasn’t around in the 1940s. Brought their own fountain pen and inkwell to write down notes. Provides a delicious air of ambience and authenticity to the proceedings.
Ready to claim their time in the spotlight! As a character, they gasp on cue, accuse with vigor, and throw themselves into the participation challenges with gusto. As a murder victim, the Ham will give an Oscar-worthy death scene filled with pathos, commitment, and probably a whole lot of screaming. A must have for any party, the Ham also takes some of the pressure off guests who just want to sit back and enjoy the show.
Just here to watch - and that’s okay, too! While willing to share the clues given, the Wallflower will mostly observe and enjoy. But be careful...you never know what’s going on in their heads!
The Unexpected Star
Halfway between the Wallflower and the Ham is our favorite part of the murder mystery experience: The Unexpected Star. This person usually comes in seeming like a Wallflower, or maybe just someone “too cool” for all the drama. Then, as the mystery takes off, the Unexpected Star reveals previously unknown depths and talents. Maybe they have a beautiful singing voice, or an uncanny talent for word puzzles. Maybe they disappear into their character, leaving the rest of the guests wondering “Who are you, and what did you do with Samantha?” However they display their hidden depths, the Unexpected Star brings joy and surprise to every murder mystery event.
Maybe a little *too* into the murder. Wants to know all the gory details, and is disappointed if they’re not gory enough. Can list the top 10 most prolific serial killers by number of victims. Had to pause their true crime podcast to join this party.
So what’s your Murder Mystery Personality? Sleuth with a dash of Ham? Wallflower with an undercurrent of Macabre? Let us know in the comments below!