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What Do You Do With Your Old Dance Costumes

picture of ballerina in red costume

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Dance Costumes – we’ve all got them; some of us have them piling up in closets, bins, drawers, or the attic. So what do you do with them? Do you keep every dance costume your dancer(s) have worn? Some choose to keep the costumes that have a special meaning, such as your dancer’s first costume or first solo costume, or maybe that group dance that was a favorite, or perhaps, you decide to keep the costumes your dancer loves most.

So what are your options?

1.  Keep Your Dance Costumes

A lot of dancers and their parents like to keep them.  If your studio uses regular clothing for some of their dances, you may find that your dancer is not quite as attached to those as maybe she was to the costumes when they were younger, and things are more like a typical dance costume with sequins and rhinestones.  Why keep them?

  • Memories – you get attached, thinking back on who was in that adorable group dance and how cute those little dancers were – its hard to let go sometimes
  • Younger cousins or siblings love to dress up in them
  • Pieces and parts can be used for Halloween Costumes
  • My mother kept mine, and my children and nieces have loved looking at them, dancing in them, and getting a lot of laughs over the years.  Those comments like “Mom, you really wore purple fish nets with your costume?  Yes dear, yes I did, and we thought we looked fabulous!” have given us a lot of good laughs. 

If you have the space in a closet, that is ideal; if not, storage bins are a great option.  

2.  Create A Quilt

Some parents choose to make a quilt out of pieces of each costume to give to their dancers after their senior year.  This may be a great option if you or someone in your family sews. 

3.  Donate Your Dance Costumes

Check with local theater companies, preschool programs, or school drama and dance departments.  Also, if your studio offers dance camps throughout the summer, your studio owner may also be interested in using them.

4.  Sell Your Dance Costumes

You can try eBay, of course, or one of several costume resellers.  See our list of costume resellers here. Costume resellers are like any consignment store in that they take a percentage of the selling price.  Typically, they sell higher-end or custom costumes.  In addition, there are various Facebook pages that allow you to sell your costumes. Many families opt to sell the costumes and put the money towards costumes for the upcoming year.

What do you do with the dance costumes at the end of the season?

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  1. Great ideas – Our costumes are in bins. I just can’t part with them.

  2. Thank you for the list of costume resellers! That may be an option for us.

  3. My grandma took my old costumes and turned them into pillows for me!

  4. I use them for Spirit Week (dress up week at school) and Costume Parties. I also wear all the hair accessories everyday.

  5. I placed my daughter’s first recital costumes, shoes (after she outgrew them), a copy of the program book and her “offical” dance pictures in a shadow box that is hanging in her room above her “studio” corner.

    1. I would LOVE to see a picture!!!!

  6. My daughter keeps them for dress up and Halloween costumes. We give the outgrown ones to friends and family members for their children to play in. My daughter is outgrowing playing dress up, but still does Halloween costumes. Her things are getting into adult sizes and I love the suggestion of donating the outgrown and unneeded ones to the school’s theatre department.

  7. Susan Allen says:

    I have kept all my daughter’s costumes (and mine!) because they are part of her history. We have used them for Halloween costumes, Spirit Week, loaned them to other dancers and, most of all, used them at church as part of our sacred dance group. I can’t imagine parting with any of them!

  8. I still wear some of mine. I adapt them to street wear, then wear them to parties or date night.

  9. There is a great organization called “Traveling Tutus” that collects used costumes and other supplies and distributes them to orphanages or other programs in depressed areas. Check it out.

    1. Abby Levine says:

      Thank you so much for this info. I have been looking for something just like this. Personally I feel the costumes are very excessive, and while I disagree with asking parents to spend such exorbitant amounts of money on costumes for our young dancers, I feel better about donating them to those less fortunate after they are used. My daughter used to get alot of use playing dress-up and doing “shows” with costumes, but now she is in 6th grade and does not have interest in the costumes after the recital. Thank you!!!!!

  10. So far we have kept all of ours! They have been used for dress up, Halloween costumes and Spirit Week! My oldest daughter (the costume owner) has also had a fun time using them for her babysitting kids! The afternoon goes by pretty quick when you have tons of costumes to try on!

  11. We can use them for other functions or we can exchange them with our friend’s cloth so we get another Dancewear for next session. Else we can sale them out and by adding some money get another new one.

  12. Dance is passion and things connected with the dance are always memorable. I still have the costume that I wore on my first dance performance.

  13. JANA SCHMUKE says:

    We have a great non-profit called Born to Dance (borntodance.org) in our area that we donate our costumes to. They then get them to underserved and disable youth that are in need of dance attire.

  14. I just finished making my daughter’s “Dance Quilt” from all of her old recital costumes. It’s such a great reminder of how far she has come in 10 years.

    1. shirley m berg says:

      can you send me a picture of the quilt made with dance costumes? I’ve been tasked with making a quilt or wall hanging out of my granddaughters dresses. Thanks

  15. Donna johnson says:

    Trying to see you know of any places that purchase costumes

  16. I donated my daughter’s costumes to a local preschool/HeadStart Program. They use them in their “dress-up” center.

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