How To Attend A Fancy Dress Party In 2021
Generally speaking, late fall tends to mark the start of the western world’s annual festive season. In North America, celebrations like Halloween and Thanksgiving precede Christmas, which is also widely celebrated in the United Kingdom.
Over this side of the pond, we have our very own celebrations between now and the new year as well. Halloween has slowly gained traction in the UK over the years, though Guy Fawkes Night (or Bonfire Night, for you fellow arsonists at heart) on November 5th is traditionally observed by many more Britons than the pagan celebration.
Wherever you are and whatever you’re celebrating between now and your annual, intensely poignant New Years’ Day hangover, there’s every reason to do it in style — especially if it includes fancy dress. Here’s our guide on how to elegantly maneuver through a costume or thematic fancy dress party from now through to the rest of 2021.
When To Accept
Not everyone is made out for fancy dress parties — we get that. However, sometimes occasions like these can serve as opportunities for you to break out of your shell and partake in a spot of fun you wouldn’t normally. And the best part is, fancy dress parties grant you the perfect guise to temporarily be and act like someone completely different to yourself.
But how do you decide when to accept a fancy dress invite and when to politely decline? On occasions like an annual office party, a get-together hosted by a friend of your significant other, or an impromptu family affair, we’re partial to recommending you bite the bullet, summon the courage, and go rather than make up a transparent excuse.
On some other occasions, however, it’s actually advisable you don’t accept the invitation. Usually, we can smell these a mile off. Invited to a hush-hush house party by your troublesome and highly controversial mate from back in uni? Received a mass invite on social media along with hundreds of other randoms? Is talk of a Halloween-themed rave doing the rounds at your local pub? Maybe better off leaving those invitations unopened.
Fancy dress parties at the office are amusing, but the real fun is to be had every other workday of the calendar year. Find out what the most stylish modern workplace wardrobes look like in our article, Back To Work: Redefining The Modern Office Wardrobe.
What To Wear
Now, onto the subject of what to wear. Not all celebratory occasions are earmarked for fancy dress, but those that do include costumes in the dress code should have their rules respected. Nobody likes the damp squib approach — those party poo-pooers who turn up wearing lame or non-existent costumes — no matter how outlandish the party’s theme or concept is in the first place.
That being said, fancy dress parties can also be an occasion to show off your sartorial prowess and stylishness too. If you’ve got free reign on what to wear, it’s best to stick with one of two options. First, you can dress up as one of your favourite cult film or TV characters — say, The Dude from Big Lebowski, Maverick from Top Gun, or James Bond from James Bond, for example.
Alternatively, if you’ve been hitting the gym (or home gym) religiously over the past few months, you can go the hyper-masculine route as well. If you think you’ve got what it takes to pull off an Indiana Jones, Rambo, Gladiator, or any other costume that seductively straddles the fine line of looking overly revealing, all the power to you. Just make sure you bring sufficient layers with you to avoid what Jerry Seinfeld relatably dubbed “shrinkage”.
What do Rambo, Indiana Jones, and Gladiator, and Han Solo all have in common? Their costumes could very well be worn with a Gilet underneath or as a main feature. Stay warm this festive season and read up on Why The Gilet Is The Best Layering Piece For Cool Weather here.
Our Take On Group Costumes
Of course, another option as far as costumes go is to explore the group costume route. And, if you’ve got a collection of eager mates pressing you to join in on their group-based shenanigans, you might even feel obliged to.
The key here is concept. Group costumes really only work when the entire party is privy to your joke or theme. The last thing you want is to create confusion among fellow attendees as to why there are a disproportionate amount of people wearing eerily similar costumes at the party. Or worse, strike up a chat with an attractive guest only for them to mistake you for someone they had already been flirting with that looked “exactly like you, but taller.”
If you plan on dressing up as a group, make sure your entrance is memorable and the venue isn’t so large it’ll dilute your concept. And for the love of God, please don’t get roped into going as Oompa Loompas or anything of that sort. The orange is much harder to get out of your skin than you might think.
If your current wardrobe resembles more of an eclectic costume box than a covetable collection of clothing, you’re due the style equivalent of a hard refresh. Sound like a lot to take on? That’s what we’re here for — find out how Joe, our founder, can help you Upgrade Your Style In 3 Minutes here.
What To Take
In most instances, if someone invites you to a party, it’s polite (and expected) that you take something with you. Traditionally speaking, you can’t go wrong with a tasteful bottle of wine — preferably a vintage sparkling. Depending on what kind of party you’re attending, however, there may be some more apt gifts that you should explore giving.
For example, Guy Fawkes Night is celebrated largely outdoors around a large bonfire or fireworks display. So, unless it’s your responsibility to light and launch the Big Bazooka 3,000 or ensure your host’s garden doesn’t fully ignite on (bon)fire, it would be more than appropriate to supply a few others (along with yourself, of course) with a Hot Toddy or three.
The recipe is rather straightforward — a great quality whiskey is accompanied by a dash of both honey and lemon juice, all of which is made warm by a base of hot water, which your host should have no problem supplying. Master that and your traditional addition will be more celebrated than Guy Fawkes himself — just make sure you take enough to provide the entire classroom with at least one drink.