Why I don’t cope with themed dress codes

Nikki ParkinsonLife 23 Comments

I’m feeling a little bit dusty today thanks to a girlfriend’s 40th birthday last night.  On a Tuesday night.  In the festive season. 

Leading up to the event, was I worried about the fact the party was going to be on an island in the middle of a very swollen river?  NO.

I was freaking out about the theme: white with sequins or sideburns. (She loves Elvis and looked fabulous, doing three costume changes throughout the evening, looking hotter in each.)

Birthday girl Kell with the champers she shared with us

Why the freak out, you ask?

1.  I do black WAY better than I do white.

2.  Fancy dress scares the $#%#$Q@# out of me.

I know I’m not alone on this one.  One of my readers, Paula, voiced her concern on a post about what to wear to office Christmas parties earlier this month:

“My husband’s work consistently throw themed dress Christmas parties. SOOO over it – would love to buy a cute frock for a nice cocktail party but no, every year its Austin Powers etc where the men wear something funny and the women end up looking like tramps.”

Oh, I so hear you, Paula.

I always worry that people won’t get dressed up.  I always worry that they will.  See, spending my clothing budget on a new frock or pair of shoes I can justify but spending on an outfit that will only be worn once, not so easy.

Oh, who am I kidding, the whole reason I break out in a cold sweat when faced with a fancy dress party invite can be dated back to 1973.

My first fancy dress party.  My brother got to wear the “real” costume; me I got a home-made one that alluded to the fact that I like to talk A LOT.

That's me on the left decorated in paper bags; my brother got to wear the effeminate cat costume. I was SO JEALOUS.

Apparently I use to talk a lot. Mum thought it would be HILAROUS to make that public.

So, if like me you suffered from some similar psychological damage, here are my tips for tackling a fancy dress invite:

1.  Think about the person sending the invite.  Are they likely to go all out with the theme?  If, so, you will fit in better by going to some effort.

2.  The level of effort depends on your comfort zone (you now know mine).  I’m always SO impressed by the efforts of others.  Especially those talented souls with sewing machines and Spotlight VIP cards.

3.  Look in your wardrobe to see if you have something that vaguely fits the theme and then amp it up from there. For last night’s party I went with a heavily sequinned sass & bide t-shirt I bought earlier this year and added more bling to the whole ensemble.  Cost me nothing but helped me to fit in.

4.  Remember, that by avoiding the theme altogether, you may feel completely out of place.  Not a nice feeling at the best of times, let alone at a party.

5.  If in doubt, find the champagne quickly, wait for the lights to be turned down and unleash yourself on the dance floor.

So, what’s your take on themed parties?  Do you get into the theme?  Or, like me, prefer just to glam it up?

Comments 23

  1. Thank goodness you linked to this tonight as I have been having a good old chuckle at the photos of you and your brother!! I think I would like your Mum as well, imagine having the audacity to dress a 5 year old like that!! Too gorgeous and funny!

  2. I’m sorry I know I sound like the ultimate party pooper, but asking people to wear “white with sequins” is rude. It’s far too specific. If the host wants to wear white with sequins then yay, but I don’t get why you’d ask your friends to do the same.

    And don’t get me started on the sideburns. Mini rant over!

    Happy new year Nikki and I look forward to more great reads on this fab blog. xxx

    1. Hmmm now thinking my comment was a bit harsh sorry!! “Rude” was too strong a word.

      Back in the days parties every week (mostly 21sts), themes were great fun. Nowadays parties are more special and a chance to dress up so I’m no longer a fan.

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  3. Oh hilarious! Feeling cyber famous for your mention!

    I got through my themed party with a fab Wayne Cooper frock that I know I can re-wear. This year was James Bond and the best couple there came in bed hair, hotel bathrobes and martini glasses….

    Totally agree re the champagne point!

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  4. I do NOT do costume parties. The end. NO themed outfits, not even COLOUR orientated ones. No idea why I hate them so – maybe it comes from my older brother and his friends ALWAYS doing costume parties and me just seeing it as really really lame. Like what, we can’t just get together and celebrate a birthday? Lame lame lame.

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  5. My general rule when it comes to fancy dress? I dress as someone in a “nice outfit”!. Never been a fan of costumes! Yes, I’m a party pooper 🙂

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  6. LOL-love the 5year old outfit nic. You even look good in brown paper bags. Well as you can tell i dont mind themed parties. Though i did try and make it a theme that people could choose to ‘go all out-or just wear a white t-shirt’. I was amazed at how many people got right into the theme. When i stopped and looked around the room it looked amazing with all the white and sparkly sequins. (must have been early in the night, as things started to get blurry later on).
    So i am all good for dress up nights and BTW i have a 3 huge boxes of dress up clothes should u ever need to borrow anything. I will save my pretty party frocks for the races. xx

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      LOL. Too kind, Kell. I really just wanted to wear the catsuit that my brother got to wear. It was amazing last night seeing so many get into it. Things did get a little blurry. Sign of a good party!!!

  7. I too suffer from themed party phobia and unfortunately, my girlfriends absolutely love hosting them… Last year, during the 21st party season, I had to dress up as a pirate, a bikie, an Indian (twice), a Disney creature, a cowboy (twice) and a beer wench. And while I always seemed to end up in a crusty, discoloured outfit loaned from that creepy costume shop down the road, like you, I was sometimes able to throw a decent ensemble together from my wardrobe (which always left me feeling more comfortable). Having said that, my phobia tends to disappear after a vodka (or two, or three…) and I end up having a blast with my best friends.

    By the way, I WANT that bottle of MOET. Too cool!

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