Fancy dress. To some these words strike terror into their hearts. For women, the thought of deciding whether to go for a slutty or fun look is too much to handle and out come the ubiquitous angel wings or devil horns.
For me fancy dress is a chance to create an almost perfect outfit that closely matches the person or character I have chosen to go as. It becomes an obsession as I strive to complete the outfit with the correct accessories, make up and hair. I’ve never gone to a party shop and just bought any old costume, it just doesn’t occur to me that is what I should do.
Some years back I was invited to a Monty Python Holy Grail themed wedding. The groom went dressed as Arthur, and we were all asked to come in medieval gear or as a character from the film. Since there is a distinct lack of females that do not wear white (strictly off limits on request of the bride) a medieval style dress was all that was required. I had three months to decide what to wear. I scoured websites and came across hundreds of Arwen costumes (Lord of the Rings having been released earlier that year) and some truly awful looking wench outfits. I had some time on my side so made the decision to create my own dress. As I was also making a replica Sir Bedevere helmet and some handmade pleather slippers it wasn’t too much of a stretch.
Material was fairly easy to source. A rather large green velvet dress was sourced by my mum and posted to me. With some alterations to the arms (I unpicked them and turned them around so the large pointed ends became billowing sleeves) and some clever cutting I managed to create a long dress with a square neckline. I needed some extra material in a differing colour plus something to wear as a belt. The local market provided me with a long tassel (normally used for holding curtains back) for my belt, some material and also some feathers for the helmet. After several evenings spent hand stitching, I had my dress.
Two coat hangers, a cardboard box, two metal paper fasteners and a tin of black Hammerite later I had created a lookalike helmet complete with flippable visor.
I made my own Playboy bunny outfit for a hen do with hand stitched ears and tail. I just didn’t like the cheap pink ones in the shops.
And last Halloween I chose to attend a fancy dress party as Harley Quinn (from the game not the comic) and again spent several evenings sewing and sourcing materials and clothing. My frustration at not being able to source a good nurse costume (that wasn’t made of PVC) led me to give up and use a dress that wasn’t really in keeping but looked fine with all the accessories, plus hair and make up done.
This weekend I’m off to a hen party where the theme is Madonna. This time the choice was easy.
80s Madonna all the way. 1985 American Music Award Madonna to be precise (I really am that nuts about re-creating an actual look).
With fashion veering close to what was worn first time round when I was younger, this was an easy task. I have assembled my outfit from the scrunchie I will be wearing in my hair down to the lace cycling shorts I bought on sale for £7 (who would have guessed that a clothes store would actually be selling these for real). I’ve even bought hair mousse…
My only decision now is footwear (as per usual). Do I go all out 80s and wear black canvas pumps with short socks or bring a modern touch to the look with some black platform courts?
Whatever way I decide to go I know that once this weekend if over my next thought will be what to wear for this year’s Halloween…Tron perhaps?