A Guide to Costume Bin Dressing, the Confusing But Joyful Trend That's on the Rise

·3 min read

It can be easy to talk yourself out of wearing something, whether it feels too different from your everyday style or seems extreme for whatever you have planned. But, quick reminder: fashion is allowed to be fun, and can be a form of self-expression or an outlet for creativity. Not to mention that, if celebrity street style photos have taught us anything, it's that it's perfectly fine to experiment and wear outrageous outfits just because. In fact, in 2022, it's downright encouraged.

A Guide to Costume Bin Dressing
A Guide to Costume Bin Dressing

Getty Images/InStyle

In recent months, our favorite fashion follows have been stepping out in over-the-top outfits that, to us, look as if they've been pulled out of a costume bin. A multi-colored fuzzy hat paired with coordinating glasses? A long-sleeved maxi dress complete with matching gloves? These chaotic combinations are now the norm, and have sparked a brand new, pile-everything-on aesthetic that strikes us as the adult version of playing dress up.

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Costume bin dressing is the opposite of your everyday sweats or a T-shirt and jeans. It's joyful, playful, daring, and completely without limits. We talk a lot about doing away with any "rules" for fashion. Well, this is that, taken to the Nth degree.

Costume Bin
Costume Bin

Gotham/GC Images

Even designers are hopping on board with costume bin dressing. Sure, runways, look books, and advertisements often include elements of fantasy, but we can't stop thinking about the outlandish photos from Thom Browne's Pre-Fall '22 collection. Incorporating just one of the items below — a dog-shaped purse, lobster-claw gloves, a tiered skirt, or platform shoes — would instantly give any outfit exciting new twist. Taken together? It's downright whimsical adventure funland.

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Thom Browne
Thom Browne

Courtesy of Thom Browne

That's kind of how you can get started with costume bin dressing, too: one piece at a time. Ahead, we've gathered a few ideas to use as a jumping off point to take your outfits from meh to wow.

An Unexpected Hat

Costume Dressing
Costume Dressing

VCG/VCG via Getty Images

We're partial to Fan Bingbing's eared option, but adding a muppet hat or a bedazzled beanie works, too.

Gloves and Glasses

Costume Dressing
Costume Dressing

MEGA/GC Images

Kim Kardashian has truly committed to gloves, an accessory that's both glam and practical for cooler weather. While fuzzy or elbow-length options would be encouraged for costume bin dressing, the choice is yours. Another great pick for this aesthetic? Colorful or geometric glasses, to be worn day or night.

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Tulle

Costume Dressing
Costume Dressing

James Devaney/GC Images

Carrie Bradshaw is the queen of costume bin dressing, and years after the original Sex and the City, we still turn to her old outfits for inspiration. Seeing her step out in a long tulle skirt on HBO Max's And Just Like That reminded us that we love these over-the-top choices, and showed us that the perfect way to balance out a bold piece is with a closet staple, like an everyday sweater.

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A Theme

Costume Dressing
Costume Dressing

Gotham/GC Images

We're well into the '20s now, which means it's time to pull a Rihanna and wear flapper-like ensembles, complete with an extremely long strand of pearls.

Piled On

Costume Dressing
Costume Dressing

MEGA/GC Images

Bella Hadid may be at the beach here, but her look is far from throw-on-and-go. The model took things to the extreme with the tiniest of details, rocking a cowboy hat, miniskirt, belly chain, choker, and exposing her straps as she walked through the sand. Costume bin dressing at its finest.