SA’s Secret Party Dress Outlet


C I Castro & Co Party Dresses

My very first outlet shopping experience was back in the 1980’s when we drove from my hometown of Kilgore,Texas to Dallas to find my sister Lynn and me our high school beauty pageant dresses. My daddy was worried how much we would spend.

We went to the Victor Costa Outlet so he didn’t have to worry.

Do y’all remember that place? It was supposed to be a big secret but everyone knew about it!

It was THE place for prom, formal and high school beauty pageants dresses, especially when you had six girls in the family.

I just went to a place in San Antonio very similar to the old Victor Costa Outlet.

And when I use the word outlet, I’m not talking about the outlets that are in the fancy retail shopping centers that say outlet on the sign. I’m referring to shopping bargains at a place that actually makes and designs the clothes they sell that are available to the consumer in the know.  

In other words, a SASSY shopper’s heaven!

C.I. Castro & Co. has been in San Antonio since 1944, where they have manufactured party dresses, baptismal and christening gowns to sell for high end retail stores. They opened up the outlet a couple of years ago to sell their lines of the same dresses at prices that are up to 70 percent off.

Yes, I said 70% off!

My twins were invited to model some of their dresses for a blogger event this past weekend. And when I asked them if they wanted to participate, it was a split decision! I even took them to the store to show them what they would be doing to convince my naysayer that it might indeed be fun. I wanted the opportunity to get some pictures of them together but Catherine still wasn’t having it!

Stubborn runs in the family.

So it was just the two of us that set out on our Saturday morning adventure.

And who did I run into when we were there?

C.I. Castro & Co. Dresses

Getting modeling lessons from former Miss Texas Cathy Castro.                                           Photo Credit: Greg Harrison


I first met Cathy Castro when she was Miss Texas 1988. My college roommate Cindi’s mother was heavily involved in the Texas pageant system. I would see Cathy at their house on Sundays after church.

The last time she saw the twins, they were still in their infant carriers. It’s been awhile!

When we were catching up Saturday morning, I told her I had just found a picture of us together at a Texas Ranger game dated 1989.

And how is it that she looks exactly the same?

Fast forward twenty something years and we are talking about our sons going to rival high schools, which colleges they want to attend and how much we miss seeing our sweet friend Cindi and her family. Sigh.

Cathy is married to Charles Castro III, the grandson of the founder of C. I. Castro & Co. and teaches at a local private school.

How I never found out about their outlet store before now, I will never know! As the mother of nine year old twin girls that still buys them Christmas and Easter dresses for family pictures it should have been on my radar before now!

My girl got the hang of it!  Photo Credit: Greg Harrison

My girl got the hang of it!
Photo Credit: Greg Harrison

Another thing that surprised me after being at their store was the quality of the dresses. These are the exact same dresses that are sold to major departments stores. They are not damaged, surplus or end of the season selections that I have been used to finding in your typical outlet. These are the exact same dresses you will find at a boutique or high end department store. 

For the price I paid for the dresses , I don’t think I could even find the material to sew them.  That’s assuming that I actually sew. I can’t even hem a pair of pants! If you do sew, they have a whole room full of surplus material that you can buy at ridiculously low prices. 

I let Savannah pick out the dress that she wanted to wear for our Christmas pictures. She picked the popular holiday color of brown! There were two entire racks in their sizes of  gorgeous and festive  Christmas dresses and my girl went for the brown and turquoise one. I don’t blame her because it caught my eye the minute I saw it too. We picked a coordinating brown dress for Catherine to wear which was just as unique and beautiful. I’m excited about doing something totally different for our Christmas card picture this year… brown! 

There was a great selection of holiday dresses. I was talking too much and forgot to take pictures of those!

There was a great selection of holiday dresses. I was talking too much and forgot to take pictures of those!

For all my bargain loving readers, you can find C.I. Castro & Co.  at 3503 Northeast Parkway in San Antonio. They are located off Austin Hwy. and  Harry Wurzbach. The entrance is at the back of the building. You need to ring the bell to be let in and know the secret code.

OK, not really about the secret code but you do have to ring the bell!

They have baptismal, christening, communion and flower girl dresses as well from newborn to size 16. The prices in my girls sizes ranged from $20 to $28 a dress. They could be different in smaller sizes.

You might not see the former Miss Texas while you are shopping there, but your daughter will certainly feel like a beauty queen! 

Savannah has already been showing all the neighbors our bargain finds.

Ssshhhh, don’t tell anybody.

It’s our little secret!

Stay Sassy Y’all. 

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  1. Jane Lane says:

    Oh, Laura. I just wish that I had a girl!! What a find- Dad and Mom would be proud.

    • I guess you’ll have to wait for granddaughters or great nieces!! I’m not sure if they ship. I’ll have to ask them about that!

  2. Sharon Campbell says:

    Beautiful dresses, and a beautiful young lady!! And YES, I do remember the Costa Outlet! I had my crumb catcher dress in burgundy/black shimmery taffeta until just a few years ago. I donated it to an organization here in town (I can’t remember the name) that was putting on a prom for kids with Down’s and other special needs. I saw something on television that said to take your special occasion dresses to one of the cleaners here in town, for collection. I immediately went to my closet and took down the storage box it was packed in and drove over to the cleaners. Putting it to that use was probably the only thing that could have gotten me to part with that dress, even though I was several sizes past it fitting any longer.

    • That’s awesome for you to part with those dresses Sharon! I am sure someone looked beautiful in them. Do you know that I’ve seen some of those Victor Costa look alike dresses lately that are NEW! I guess it goes to show you that if you keep something long enough, it will come back in style! If only I could fit in mine too!!

  3. FYI – It’s between Austin Highway & Harry Wurzbach (not Wurzbach Parkway).

    • Oops! I will change it! You would think I would know since I spent so many hours right by there at the Junior League Rummage Warehouse when it was close by. Now, those were some bargains! Thank you for the heads up Heather!

  4. Cindi McMullin Runnels says:

    Oh Miss Roomie (room mate) Laura!! How are you dear? Oh how I miss you too. I only wish I would of been with you and had Camille & Callie with me ‘ I would of loved to run into Cathy too!! That Castro family is the best!! Can’t tell you how many times they outfitted my girlies when they were younger! Their baptism dresses looked like mini wedding dresses on my girls! Absolutely beautiful! Cathy’s mom Katie used to have a clothing store too in McAllen. She carried beautiful things. Us older girls used to get great surprises when she came to visit !! A whole car load to go through and try on and then of course take our pick!!
    Hugs to all of you , love ya!

    • Woohoo! Sounds like you need to make a trip to San Antonio so we can all go shopping! Those baptismal dresses in the store were so gorgeous that they didn’t look real! I wish I would have taken a picture of those too. We were too busy talking about fun times. Love and hugs right back!

  5. Thanks for sharing..

  6. Wow! Lovely dresses… This is what I was looking for my daughter for her birthday present. In celebration days these dresses are really perfect for the little girl. I guess my daughter is really going to like these lovely Communion dress.

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