On Fancy Dress

October 27, 2015 by Ray Morgan

On Fancy Dress

There are two kind of people in this world. They'll both receive an invite to a fancy dress party at some point in their lives, and one will groan and go "uggggghhh" and the other will be all "YES!" and run to their special drawer for synthetic costumes, fake eyelashes, and comedy props.

I'm in the second camp. I *love* a bit of fancy dress. There are some heinously embarrassing photos of me as a kid, dressed up in various costumes (pirate, ballerina etc) not only wearing the outfits but PROPERLY posing in them too. They're cringe-worthy, but I'm also a little bit proud of how much I committed to the costumes.

A few years ago for my birthday (also known as The Best Day of The Year), I threw a fancy dress party with the theme "The Letter R". I thought it was genius, but everyone started texting me saying how hard it was thinking of costume ideas. They delivered though: the outfits were GREAT. My sister and brother in law came as a Ryanair pilot and air hostess. They'd even printed off Ryanair logos and glued them onto hats, pull-along suitcases, badges etc. EFFORT NOTED. My partner went as Rizzo from Grease, with a proper Pink Lady satin jacket and what was on reflection a Kris Jenner wig. I made a giant 'R' scrabble tile and wore it like a sandwich board. There were also robots, a radio, a Rubix cube, and even a Rain Man. Yep, one friend came in a dorky zip-up jacket, dropped cocktail sticks over the floor and sported a Dustin Hoffman mask. It was so cool!

This is the time of year when people go all out for fancy dress. Halloween brings out some very creative people. Last year my partner and I went to the Middle Age Spread Halloween club night as a cheerleader with a slit throat (me) and a person with an axe in their stomach (her). What a hoot. The fake blood flowed like wine.

However there is an annoying part of Halloween that I discovered at university. My birthday is on the day after Halloween so nights out often involved going to a Halloween themed night for my own celebrations. I went to a club and saw girls in "fancy dress" which was essentially a black bra and knickers, a pair of cat ears, and a feather boa. Bear in mind I saw them queueing outside the club at 11pm, in October, without a coat, only the heat from the chicken shop opposite keeping them warm. That was not cool.

This weekend just gone, I attended a Twin Peaks fancy dress party. Now, that is niche to the max. I loved it. You have to be a particular kind of geek (synonym for cool in my house) to get involved with that one. I went as inappropriate schoolgirl Audrey Horne and rocked a roll neck, plaid skirt, ankle socks and brogues, a risky look for someone walking to a party past throngs of mardy teenagers coming out of Chalkwell station. But hey ho - I thoroughly enjoyed wearing it, along with a Sherilyn Fenn mole on my face which, sadly, smeared after a few Damn Fine Coffee cocktails.

I know that fancy dress involves effort, but it goes back to my love for people who bother, who make an effort no matter how geeky it makes them look. Wearing fancy dress can sometimes help you find "your people" - I still want to see someone dressed as the Alan Partridge zombie outfit at Halloween, with a shower curtain cape and custard creams sellotaped to their face. If I ever see anyone dressed like that, I'll shake their hand. Effort noted.

My top 5 fancy dress costumes:

1. I once went to a Bad Taste party as a proper chav dripping in cheap gold, god I loved it. A bit too much.
2. I also once went to another Bad Taste party as a poo, let's gloss over that one.
3. Ally Sheedy as Allison in The Breakfast Club (again, niche, but fun)
4. I went to a "Kings and Queens" party on the day of the Royal Wedding as a "King" of Leon. Long hair, denim, fags.
5. I long to go to a fancy dress party as Cher from Clueless. I need to make this happen.


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