In late October I visited Tombstone for the first time. While seeing that town and walking the streets famous people walked over 100 years ago was an awesome experience, I also was on the hunt for anything that would help me with my costume. Overall, I was very disappointed with the shops in Tombstone, although I guess I should have known that they were going to mainly pander to the typical tourist. There were dozens of black “preacher” hats and more Wah Maker frock coats than one would know what to do with… all the typical, mass produced stuff. Until this time, I hadn’t actually seen any of Wah Maker’s products in person and I was very impressed with their quality. While the overall make seemed very similar to that of the movie costumes, it wasn’t exact. Many websites claim that Wah Maker made the clothing for the movie, but they are nowhere to be found in the credits and the clothes they now offer are not the same as those seen in the movies. I suppose for the average fan who wants to be be one of ten million cookie-cutter Wyatt Earps, this is ok, but I am not looking for clothes like this.
As I mentioned, I was a bit disappointed in the overly touristy nature of the shops in Tombstone, but I did come across three shops that are worth mentioning:
Oriental Saloon and Mercantile
This is THE Oriental, although it has changed quite a bit as has most of the town. There is an amazing painting (not for sale) by Buck Taylor. depicting a drunken Ringo, stumbling into the street, ready to confront Wyatt. The Oriental specializes in reproduction 1880’s clothing and accessories. Period clothes are custom made/altered in the loft of the building, and sold on the main floor. At the Oriental we met Phyliss, who not only sold us a complete replica period dress with all the needed accessories (the only thing they didn’t have were the shoes), but also was very excited and willing to help search for material to help me recreate Ringo’s suit and shirt. The important part was that Phyliss LISTENED to me and didn’t try to tell me how it should be but took note of what I needed and that I was interested in having a movie costume reproduced and not necessarily a period piece made. I would highly recommend this shop to anyone who needs custom period clothing Below is contact info for the Oriental:
500 East Allen St.
Tombstone, AZ 85638
Tombstone Old West Books
Tombstone Old West Books doesn’t initially strike one as a place for costume pieces. However, it is owned by Geno D’Amberose who is a master leathersmith. Geno is a true cowboy and more than willing to discuss the ins and outs of any leather made items. After a bit of discussion, he agreed to work with me on making Ringo’s holster and belt (more on that later) and he also introduced me to Peter Sherayko‘s book Tombstone: The Guns and Gear. Below is cotact info for Tombstone Old West Books:
401 Allen St.
Tombstone, AZ 85638
Spur Western Wear
At first, Spur Western Wear might look like most of the other shops in Tombstone. They carry all the major lines of clothing and hats, but the difference are the owners! They were more than willing to help me, especially in regard to a hat. While most stores show you what they have, Sonya at SWW showed a genuine interest in helping me build EXACTLY what I wanted!
509E. Allen St.
Tombstone, Az 85638