Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds to close its doors after 38 years, UT students reflect

Mimi Calzada, Senior Life & Arts Reporter

As Adrian Tristán walks through a labyrinth of Victorian-era dresses, leather jackets and colorful wigs, his eyes rake over wall-to-wall clothing racks and mask- and hat-wearing mannequin heads that fill Austin’s beloved costume shop Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds. When the government sophomore first explored the store on a trip to Austin after getting accepted to UT, he said Lucy in Disguise was one of his first stops.

“I’m from Laredo, (and) we have nothing that compares to the size and theatricality of Lucy,” Tristán said. “I stopped by with a couple of friends, and we had a great time looking at the costumes and ultimately enjoying ourselves in the store.”

On Aug. 2, Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds announced in an Instagram post that it will close at the end of the year after almost four decades in business. Since opening its doors in 1984, Lucy in Disguise has provided UT students with an extensive stock of costume supplies for Halloween, spirit events and even creative projects all year round.

Tristán and history sophomore Nina Vela-Cuellar both serve as costume designers for the University Theatre Guild. The pair said Lucy in Disguise greatly assisted the group’s productions over the last year, supplying different pieces and accessories from vintage nightgowns to 1920s feathered headpieces. 

 “The people who work there were more than just vendors, they were companions and advocates for theater,” Tristan said. “Austinites would agree that Lucy is an iconic store that serves the Austin community in a way where we can fully embrace ourselves and just have fun.”

Vela-Cuellar said Lucy in Disguise’s extensive selection of costumes left her in awe when she first visited the store, and she took notice of the inclusivity in their sizing, appreciating the abundance of plus-sized options. 

“It was like that moment in a movie where you’re like, ‘This is everything I ever dreamed of and more,’” Vela-Cuellar said. “If I had the money, I would have bought everything in that shop.”

The news of the store’s closing was devastating for both Tristán and Vela-Cuellar, they said.

“I was genuinely shocked when I saw the announcement on their Instagram. I immediately screenshotted it and sent it to my friends who I spent so many hours with at Lucy,” said Tristán. “We’re grieving. We’re certainly sad and disappointed to see it go. … But at least we’ll know that the memory of Lucy will certainly be in our hearts and in our minds.”

Both Vela-Cuellar and Tristan said Lucy in Disguise offers so much more than costumes for the stage or screen. They both said they have been able to find pieces and accessories for their everyday wardrobe. The two sophomores both said they were very sad to hear the news of Lucy in Disguise’s closing, but also that they were happy to have had the privilege of experiencing it while they had the time.

“Lucy was more than just a store,” Tristán said. “It was a place where a diverse array of people could come in and really embrace their creativity.” 

Jerry Durham, the store’s manager and buyer, said after decades of business as an Austin staple, he appreciates the impact of Lucy in Disguise on generations of Austinites. 

“There’s a lot of sadness, a lot of reminiscing (and) a lot of customers who are acknowledging that they’ve been coming to the store for nearly as long as we’ve been open,” Durham said. “Adults (bring) their kids to show them because they used to get costumes here when they were kids as well. … We’ve got something meaningful to people.