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Thrifting Magic

I thrifted a lot of great things this past month, but none of them even come close to one truly magical and unexpected find: the Belle dress.

I had stopped at a Goodwill after a dentist appointment for the kids one fateful morning. Having both of them along, I knew I’d need to move quickly and stay focused before one or both of them decided our shopping trip was done.

I immediately gravitated toward a row of dresses, spotting a couple pieces that would be cute for spring and that’s when I saw it. A yellow gown that looked so familiar I thought it was a costume at first. I pulled it out and realized it was actually vintage, probably mid-century! Had I just found not only a gorgeous vintage dress, but a gorgeous vintage dress that is the spitting image of Belle’s ball gown from the 1991 award winning, animated classic Beauty and the Beast?? Yes, yes I had.

Of course I had to try the dress on even if it was just for fun. Beauty and the Beast was one of my favorite movies as a kid and I was hoping my kids would recognize the dress too. It was fun getting to play dress up as my favorite childhood princess for a minute, but this quickly turned into more than a “just for fun” try on because it was a perfect fit. The dress itself was stunning with gorgeous texture and beadwork and adorable bows along the back. The structure of the skirt was incredible! So much volume that it looked like an actual “dinging” bell when I moved.

I asked the kids if we should get it and I got one “yes” and one “no” putting us at two against one! I was going home with a vintage “Belle” dress for $13!! Here's a look at the dress outside of the fitting room:

Now one might ask, “where do you plan to wear something like that?” and to that I’d say, have you seen our family Halloween costumes?? We go all out and I like to make/collect them from mostly thrifted pieces so this find is absolutely perfect. Halloween 2023 is going to be amazing and I can’t wait to get started piecing together the other costumes! Here are my thoughts:

I feel a little weird making myself the main character instead of the kids, but the dress has spoken and I’ll be going as Belle. I could make Isla the blue dress version of Belle, but currently I’m thinking of making her the enchanted rose. I have this really beautiful vision in my head of what that could look like and think she would feel much more princess-like if she has a big gown like I’ll have.

I’d love to make Nathan Gaston, but I think he might end up looking more like human-Beast with his eye and hair color even if I dressed him like Gaston. Maybe he’ll be human-Beast or maybe beast-Beast. That’s kind of an intimidating costume so I’m not too sure on that one.

For Emmitt, I could see making him beast-Beast, Chip, or another character if he gravitates to anyone in particular. We’ve got some time to figure it all out, but I’m excited to start searching for and building our costumes.

I still can’t get over how similar this dress looks to the one from the movie, especially having been made decades before the film! It was a magical, meant-to-be thrift find that is going to be really hard to top!


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