Where can visitors rent traditional British attire for a themed event in Oxford?

Whether you're planning a grand party, a quintessential British wedding or a historical themed event, your choice of attire can not only set the tone but also transport your guests back in time. If the event is taking place in Oxford, famous for its prestigious university and rich history, you'll undoubtedly want to embrace the local culture. So where can you and your guests find traditional British attire to rent and make your event truly memorable? This article will guide you through several notable venues that offer such services in the picturesque city of Oxford.

1. The Vintage Dress Company

Nestled in Oxford’s vibrant city centre, The Vintage Dress Company is often the first port of call for individuals seeking traditional British attire. The shop is packed with an extensive collection of clothing that spans several centuries of British fashion.

At the Vintage Dress Company, you'll find everything from Victorian-era dresses to the classic black tuxedo. Its staff is incredibly knowledgeable about British fashion history, so they can assist you in selecting the perfect outfits for your event. If you're preparing for a themed wedding, the shop also offers a range of bridal gowns and groom wear in various historical styles.

2. Oxford's Black Tie

If you're hosting a more formal event, Oxford's Black Tie might be the perfect fit. This rental shop specializes in formal British attire, making it a go-to venue for black-tie events. The store offers a wide variety of suits, including the classic dinner jacket, morning coats, and even the traditional white tie.

The staff at Oxford's Black Tie have a keen eye for detail, ensuring your guests will look their best on the big day. With a range of sizes available, from small to larger sizes, people of all shapes and sizes will find something that suits them.

3. Wardrobe Oxford

For those seeking a taste of British aristocracy, you can't go wrong with Wardrobe Oxford. This venue is a treasure trove of historical and period clothing, each piece telling its own unique story.

The house boasts an impressive collection of clothing from different eras, including the Elizabethan, Georgian, and Edwardian periods. For those wanting to channel the glamour of the 1920s or the austerity of the 1940s, there's also a variety of pieces from these eras.

4. The Oxford Hire and Alteration House

Last but not least, The Oxford Hire and Alteration House is a venue that provides a comprehensive range of attire that covers every occasion. They offer a vast selection of costumes, from formal wear to period costumes, making it a great one-stop-shop for your themed event.

From the moment you step into the room, you'll be greeted by a team who prides themselves on helping you find the perfect outfit. The staff here are well-versed in the nuances of British attire and can guide you in selecting outfits that are not only reflective of the theme but also comfortable and stylish.

5. Remember to Book in Advance

While these venues have a wide range of costumes, it's always recommended to book in advance. Popular sizes and styles can run out quickly, especially during the peak wedding season in London and Oxford. Moreover, the staff at these venues will need time to alter the costumes to ensure a proper fit. As such, it's important to book your costumes at least a few months before your event to guarantee the availability of your desired outfits.

In conclusion, hosting a themed event in Oxford presents a wonderful opportunity to immerse your guests in the rich tapestry of British history. By choosing to rent traditional British attire, you not only enhance the authenticity of your event but also create a memorable experience for your guests. Whether your event calls for Victorian-era gowns, classic black tuxedos, or Edwardian day dresses, Oxford's rental venues have got you covered.

6. Costume Hire at The Oxford Playhouse

For those seeking to add a touch of theatrical flair to their themed event, the costume hire service at The Oxford Playhouse provides an exciting alternative to traditional rental shops. With its vast collection of costumes that have graced the stages of numerous productions, your themed party could easily resemble a scene from a period drama.

Within their collection, you can find attire suitable for any era, whether it's the Georgian period or the groovy '60s. The staff are proficient in understanding and adapting to various period dress codes, making the selection process for your event comfortable and enjoyable. Additionally, this venue offers the flexibility of hiring costumes for both individuals and large groups, making it an excellent choice for a birthday party or a small wedding.

As a bonus, utilizing the costume hire service also supports the local arts scene, as the proceeds are used to fund future productions at The Oxford Playhouse. It's a win-win situation – you get to dress up in fantastic costumes, and you're supporting the arts.

7. Bespoke Services at Blenheim Palace

For an extravagantly themed event or an upscale dinner party, the bespoke costume services at Blenheim Palace are second to none. This magnificent venue, steeped in natural history and royal heritage, offers a bespoke service that allows you to rent or even commission custom-made traditional British attire.

Their team of expert tailors and seamstresses can create anything from an elegant Victorian gown to a sharp black tie suit, perfectly fitted to your measurements. This service provides a truly unique experience, where you not only wear history but also partake in creating it.

Moreover, Blenheim Palace itself can be considered as a themed venue, offering grand halls for private dining, spectacular gardens for cocktail parties and a capacity for a large number of guests. Please remember, as this is a bespoke service, it requires a longer lead time. Therefore, it's crucial to plan well in advance and factor this into your party planning timeline.


Themed events are rising in popularity, and Oxford provides an exquisite backdrop for such occasions. To ensure your event is an authentic representation of the theme, choosing the right attire is paramount. The city offers an array of options from hiring period costumes at The Oxford Playhouse to bespoke services at Blenheim Palace, each capable of taking your event to the next level.

Remember, whether you’re planning a small dinner party in a private dining room or a large birthday party at a spectacular venue like Blenheim Palace, booking in advance is crucial to secure your preferred attire. Regardless of where you are, be it the United States or the city centre of Oxford, planning your themed event can be an exciting journey into history, fashion, and culture. Let this guide aid you in creating an enchanting and unforgettable experience for your guests at your next themed event.