In today’s society there are literally thousands of different Fancy Dress themes, lets delve into a bit of the history surrounding this massively increasing social phenomenon.
A ‘Fancy dress party’ or a ‘costume party’ is a contemporary Western culture, where guests appear in particular costumes, in a party, or a social gathering of friends and family.
Over recent years Fancy dress parties have become very popular across United Kingdom, United States and Australia - giving adults and teenagers the opportunity of dressing up where normally they may be considered too old for trick-or-treating and the like.
During the Carnival season, Mardi gras for instance, Fancy dress is becoming increasingly more popular, and thousands of fans dress up in costume for popular science fiction and fantasy events such as comic con, and also book releases and movie openings etc.
The origin of fancy dress parties in the UK extends right back to the 18th century, emerging from the tradition of "The Masquerade Ball ", though in more modern times Fancy Dress Parties are more of a Victorian concept.
Among the early events in the 20th century, a notable exciting event was the "Chelsea Arts ball". This kind of event is generally made up of the higher class of society.
The general population positively accepted the tradition of costume parties from the late 1940s onward, though for the most of the part, the costume was simple affair until the mid 1970s.
In late 1990s cheap fancy costumes were imported from the far east, though most of the costumes were either hired, or home composed.
From 1990 onward, ready- made costumes became available to the UK market with a largely modern design.
‘Retro ' fashions have also become popular in the UK as an old 70s or even 80s fancy dress themes are coupled with the modern trend in costume parties, that create a parody of the fashions of earlier decades.
The range of these costumes is huge, with idea’s such as “Marilyn Monroe” proving very popular, and many of Madonna’s with her 80’s stage outfits, to more recent times the wildly eccentric “Lady Gaga " provides a ton of dressing up ideas
The shift in popularity of Fancy Dress themes in the UK means that no longer are people only shopping for Halloween costumes, or a New Years Eve outfit, the trend is lasting all year round!
Fancy dress parties are arranged, on themes such as the popular classic " Vicars and Tarts " or “Saucy Sailors”, even the British Royal Family have jumped on board, with the theme "Out of Africa", being chosen by Prince William for his 21st birthday, and Princess Beatrice organized a 1888 theme party for her 18th birthday.
Of course and briefly mentioned earlier, the most popular costume or fancy dress event of the year in western society is Halloween - introduced centuries ago, as it was a Celtic belief that on the 31st October the line between the living and the dead got distorted, and condemned souls would return back to wreak havoc for the night.
To frighten evil spirits away the Celts would dress up in ghoulish costumes, nowadays any costume shop worth its salt has a massive variety of chillingly realistic Halloween costumes, such as Witches, Devils, Dark Angels, Zombies and so on…
It’s worth giving some thought to the Fancy Dress themes you would consider for your next party or night out, will you be a Naughty Maid, Sexy Cop or maybe even a Victorian Aristocrat?, the choice is yours.