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Fancy dress - friend or foe

Fancy dress, two words that should conjure up memories of childhood - running around in my granny's high heels and silk nightie (apparently something i used to do), pretending to be a princess or an animal but these days strikes fear in my heart. As a child dressing up was something reserved for a birthday party or for school events and usually left my mum in a tizz, creating something last minute for a witch or cat at Halloween and Mary or a wise man at Christmas. I have a fond memory of going to a Christmas party at school aged 8 or 9 as a witch, armed with a broomstick and with my little sister in tow as my familiar, a black cat complete with pink nose and whiskers, not sure she was as enthusiastic about this outfit as i was.
Then in university fancy dress was something banded about every week at the student union bar - themes included: school reunion / 80's / Baywatch / playboy bunnies, every conceivable character, usually with girls wearing as little as humanly possible. I even ended up with a dressing up bag reminiscent of my childhood, full of fairy wings, a witches hat and other paraphernalia ready to whip out ready for the next party. 
At uni you don't care, everyone looks stupid and is usually very drunk, so you join in.

As an adult fancy dress is something that doesn't come up to often, the occasional hen party or birthday and of course Halloween. As my enthusiasm for fancy dress is pretty non-existent and my husband shares this feeling, we tend to avoid any party that states fancy dress on the invite however when my little sister's fiance invited us to her themed birthday party, we both had to suck it up and get involved. Originally 80's or 90's themed i had visions of Flashdance or Spice Girl's themed outfits however at the last minute it was changed to anything goes which is much easier to work with.

Not one for skin tight outfits - i immediately ruled out wonder-woman, cat woman or anything with a skirt that covers nothing, so i headed to Narnia, in Northampton (a magical place much larger than a wardrobe) to see what that left me with. I have to say i was pleasantly impressed at the wide choice available - Disney princesses, Greek goddess, 60's/70's/80's, pirates, Star Wars and even Lady Gaga to name a few.

I decided on a 1920's flapper girl which enabled me to mix my love of 1920's fashion with actually looking normal whilst in costume and i would still be fairly cool in this balmy British heatwave.

I was also impressed with the effort my husband made (aware of the abuse he would get for not dressing up) and he had me in hysterics in Narnia as he tried on many characters including Robin and the incredible Hulk - neither of which suited him as he is a skinny bean pole and wasn't beefy enough to pull off the superhero look. Captain Jack Sparrow (minus the dreadlocks) however was the perfect fit and was finished off with a plastic sword i had stashed in my fancy dress bag!

So off we went along with a Grease pink lady, a T-Bird and Bananna Girl to name a few.

The party turned out to be a laugh - so many different fancy dress outfits. My little sister made a fantastic Banana Girl (although when i first saw her i did almost piss myself laughing!) and her fiance made a great Gangster along with her little Tinkerbell sidekick (my soon to be niece). Also a varied group of little superhero's - including Batman, Robin, The Hulk and my favourite Buzz Lightyear, all of whom lasted about half an hour in the heat before ending up running around in shorts and their capes.  My mum and dad somehow managed to avoid all cameras so no pics of them getting their Grease on, but a good effort made by all and a lot of laughter mainly at my sister and her costume issues especially when it came to needing the loo!

Still not 100% sure if i like fancy dress these days, but i had a good night and i have to say i was impressed to find something i felt comfortable in. 
What would you choose to wear for a fancy dress party? Does the idea excite you or fill you with dread?

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“Playing dress-up begns at age five and never really ends.”
– Kate Spade