Waterford Boo-tique, Sutton’s Costumes and Tuxedos, Fulfills All Your Costume Needs All Year Long

If you worshipped Willy Wonka as a kid and the movies of Tim Burton as an adult (probably save for his take on Willy Wonka, but that is neither here nor there), there’s a chance you just might be someone who is really into Halloween. And if do just so happen to be someone who is really into Halloween, Sutton’s Costumes and Tuxedos in Waterford is your fantasy costume store made reality.
Who among us hasn’t gone to Spirit Halloween or Party City to look for a costume and just ended up disappointed by how cheap and shoddy they all look; sad, pathetic imitations of the glorious character you imagined in your head? Sutton’s is a sacred place for people who care about their costumes and don’t want to end up with yet another pre-packaged, mass-produced, cheap-looking superhero getup that will end up being just one among a dozen other such getups at every single party.
Sutton’s has been open since 1982. Originally located in Flint, Doug and Chris Sutton moved the store down to its current Dixie Highway location in Waterford in 1990 to meet increasing demand after Chris gained a reputation as a talented seamstress who designed and created unique, high-quality costumes and wedding apparel.
Revelers can rent or purchase any of the costumes in the store (there is also a selection of packaged costumes, though of a bit higher standard than most of your generic Halloween store offerings). And if you’re envisioning a so-so collection of musty-smelling old costumes that look like leftovers from 1980s high school plays, you are frightfully wrong. There is row after row, room after room of era-authentic clothing for you to create your look. Items that are labeled under “’50s,” “’60s,” and “’70s” are actually original pieces from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. Sutton’s also has real vintage Victorian gowns, intricately-beaded flapper dress reproductions and zoot suits, and real Las Vegas showgirl headpieces and costumes.    
“I travel a lot collecting pieces,” Chris says. “We’ve been open 32 years so we’ve been able to collect a lot.”
Just to list a few other items of interest, they have the full Kiss stage costume collection, a variety of Parade Company “big heads” including characters from Rugrats, Duck Dynasty camouflage tuxedo suits, and a full suit of armor. Like what knights wore. The full suit of armor is popular for marriage proposals, and Sutton’s has a connection to a guy who owns a white horse to help make it even more special. What if you need theatrical makeup done and can barely put on eyeliner? They have people for that, too.
This Halloween season Chris has noticed that a lot of the old traditional costumes are making a comeback – the flappers, the cowboys (with real leather chaps and dusters), Marc Anthony and Cleopatra. But steampunk – a science fiction sub-genre and aesthetic subculture that presents alternative Industrial-era histories and post-apocalyptic futures blending in elements of the 19th-century British Victorian era and the American “Wild West” frontier – trumps all.
Upstairs in the work area, Chris and her team still custom-design anything and everything you can possibly imagine (they will make you anything you want). Right now, Chris says, “Steampunk is huge,” and they’ve been making custom hats using items like real buffalo teeth, real leather, real bullets, old Masonic Lodge badges, and other exceptional details. They will have made roughly 100 custom steampunk hats by the end of the Halloween season.
Chris also keeps her stash of extra-special pieces upstairs, the ones that don’t go out on the floor with all of the regular items. This includes genuine World War II military jackets and authentic Masonic ceremonial robes.
In addition to the costumes, Sutton’s carries everything you could possibly need to complete your look – rubber masks, rhinestone crowns, 170 different styles of wigs, costume jewelry, an arsenal of party-safe weaponry (for all the cowboys and superheroes and gangsters and Game of Thrones fans), era-appropriate shoes and boots, stacks and stacks of different kinds of hats, theatrical makeup, and more. To emphasize this point, quite simply: they have everything.
Sutton’s Costumes is open year-round, so as soon as Halloween wraps up they move right on to holiday parade season and plush velvet Santa suits. Throughout the rest of the year, Sutton’s carries everything you need for theme weddings, parades, parties, and the traditional seasonal favorites like Mardi Gras, Fourth of July, Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving. They also provide customized creations to many corporate clients, including Volkswagen, Pepsi, Miss Michigan for Miss USA, the Palace of Auburn Hills, the Detroit Red Wings, and Kid Rock’s Twisted Brown Trucker Band. The store also supplies parade costumes to many area schools and churches, as well as the City of Pontiac, West Bloomfield, Clinton Township, and many others municipalities in the southeastern Michigan. They have regular retail clientele from Florida all the way to Canada.
But Halloween is still their busiest season, comprising 30 percent of their annual revenue over just one month. In recent years, Chris has seen the Halloween industry grow exponentially; what was once just a kids’ holiday has now become a full-blown adult holiday worth about $8 billion annually. More than two-thirds of Americans are projected to buy costumes this year. And with all those Elsas and Jokers out there, don’t you want to do something a little different? After all, Halloween is the one day each year you can really and truly be anything you want to be. Visit Sutton’s and be transformed!