Introduction to Fancy Dress
Fancy dress is a great way of expressing yourself. "I shall wear anything I like, so there!" I'll wear a purple dress, and a red hat with big poufy blue, orange and yellow flowers. I'll wear ‘satin sandals’. I'll throw in a feather boa for good measure. I will express who I am inside and I'll more importantly, enjoy doing it. Secondly, I'll savour the look on YOUR face when you get a look at me.
The basics start with the initial look that you want to go for, then finding the sources for it. If your heart is set on 80's disco, or this is the party theme, and you are the type that never throws anything away- the solution is in your closet. If you didn't save it, somebody did, and more than likely donated it to a charity shop near you. All you need to do is search out mod textiles and accessories. A needle and thread turns a longer skirt into a mini, and some glow bands immediately give off that 80’s feel.
You may even find the 50's ‘Grease’ and biker look still around. If not in your local charity store, car boot sales and church rummage sales are always good sources of the authentic real deal. Evening gowns or long satin nighties make perfect angel or Cleopatra costume sources. Old tuxedos and the basic black dressy dress are Addams Family material. ‘Chicago’ the musical or ‘High School Musical’, require glitz and glam from the evening wear category. (Don't forget your old cheerleading costume for the latter as well).
It's About the Accessories, Darling
A visit to fancy online dress sites like AbFab, is an education in costuming. Looking at these sites it is easy to notice how important accessories are. Zorro is about the cape- an easy one. Jack Sparrow needs a do-rag, a vest and lots of jewellery. An angel in that dressy and chaste non-see-through nightgown above needs wings (found for £7.99 at AbFab). The mod mini wants neon lace gloves and a lace headband, £2.99 and £1.99 respectively (also at AbFab). And if a fancy dress store doesn’t have your accessories you can always make your own. Hobby stores are sequin sources, and of course, bling that accents anything.
Wigs top your fancy dress off but unfortunately they can also be expensive. Again AbFab or other fancy dress outlets carry neon hairpieces- even Mohawks. If you dare, buy a used wig. Many children's inexpensive costume wigs might fit or be adapted at a more reasonable price than the adult size. Cut-rate beauty supply houses are also wig sources. The benefit of buying from a beauty supply house is that you can creatively dye and style, to make the wig perfect for you outfit. If you can't find a wig, think about buying a hat - a big, outlandish hat to really show your costume off.
Use Your Imagination
The most important thing about a fancy dress costume is using your imagination. Anything can be created with a little bit of know how and the right materials. Renting a costume may be perfect if you don’t have much time, but putting the effort into making something yourself is always a lot of fun, and can be custom made just the way you like it!