How To Do Those Classic Fancy Dress Themes If You Don’t Want To Take The Sexy Mouse Route

Because Angels & Devils doesn't mean a red PVC jumpsuit, Britney Spears style


by Bertie Brandes |
Published on

Fancy, Dress and Ball are three words that strike fear into my heart even when I hear them individually. Being fancy without getting hair in your lipgloss is a challenge, getting dressed is really quite difficult even on a Sunday and ball, well, I’ll just leave that with you. That said, fancy dress balls become a lot more inviting when you realise the name’s just an elaborate front for insanely cheap drinks in a room with the strip lights turned off.

Being drunk in a home-made costume is probably the most enlightening thing about going to university other than the jacket potato you’ll have once in the canteen and trying to figure out how to buy more print credits when you have 25 minutes to hand in your dissertation. Clue: the machine’s broken. For all you lucky freshers out there currently embarking on the journey from blissful naivety to court summons naivety, tuck your laptop under your single bed, rummage around in your room mate’s suitcase and dress yourself up for the most snakebite you’ll ever consume in one night ever again.

If you left uni long ago, this same advice could help when you're faced with a tricky Halloween themed fancy dress party, too.

It is actually really fun. So stop pretending you’re over it already.


Sure, take this one the wrong way and you’ll be hovering around Boots at 6am waiting to buy a huge pot of talcum powder. But if you somehow resist the urge to show up in an O_ops I Did it Again_ red PVC catsuit you can pull this theme off pretty easily. First you need to decide whether you’re going to be a devil or an angel. Don’t read too much into this, you have three years to pull your hair out analysing gender stereotypes so I’d recommend just going with whatever pyjama top you have that fits the brief. Then pop some horns or a halo on, brush your hair because you won’t get another chance to before your morning lecture, and hit the dance floor via 4000 Facebook photos.


Sinner top, Horns, Halo, all Rokit; White off the shoulder top, Beyond Retro


Ok I know I said not to read too much into your costumes but it can be quite distressing to be in a room of teenagers on the cusp of womanhood dressing up as their hyper-sexy 11-year-old selves. Avoid painting on freckles because really if you ever had them then you still would, and limit yourself to thigh high socks, a tie, or pigtails. To be honest, I’d stick to none of the above. A white top, dark skirt and backpack (very useful) is appropriately* Cruel Intentions* without being too appropriate. Throw on some chequerboard Vans and mix everything with Lilt if you really want to push the boat out.


Model on left: Turtleneck top, £25, & Leather skirt, £125, American Apparel, Air force 1, £140, Nike

Model on right: Pinstripe skirt, £38, Black polo neck, £28, American Apparel; Vintage Vans & GUESS backpack, Rokit.


Disco is not the same as rave and does not require you hunting the back shelves of Sainsburys for glowsticks. Anything tiny and uncomfortable that you panic bought thinking you could wear it to a lecture (you won’t) is good for this. Stick to a frightful colour palette and top it off with either sunglasses or a visor. Yes they’re part of the costume but yes you’ll also thank me when nobody recognises you in the pictures from the after party you might might have thrown in the library stairwell.


Pink skirt, £54, American Apparel; All other clothes, visor and sunglasses, Beyond Retro; Shoes, stylist's own; Green clutch, £77, Shinola


Yes the irony of throwing a beach party in the middle of October in Edinburgh is not lost on anyone but by this point you’ll have started hitting actual deadlines and realising that yes that baked potato you splurged on two weeks ago was probably the only hot lunch you’re getting until Christmas. Embrace any chance to relive the most carefree summer of your life by stripping off to your skivvies and drinking Malibu and coke until the sun comes up. It’s fun, trust me. Just remember a warm coat. Or remember to wear clothes. Either way, enjoy.


Shorts, £16, & Bra Top, £30, American Apparel; Hawaiian shirt, Beyond Retro


And then there’s are the 90’s parties, the ones which end up full of people who look like extras from Kevin & Perry Go Large despite having seen it. The only way to do this while maintaining any vague aspect of self-respect is to go hard. Wear kids clothes, swig vodka directly into your eyeballs and refuse to remove sunglasses that look dated even by Ibizan super club standards.


Red skirt, £30, Topshop; Halter neck tops, £24, American Apparel; Black skirt, Beyond Retro; Sunglasses, Vintage Prada

Follow Bertie on Twitter @bertiebrandes

Photographer: Rory DCS

Styling: Bertie Brandes

Fashion Assistant : Lucy Vincent

**Models: **Xannie and Mollie @ Select

Hair & make-up: Jessica Taylor

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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