The History, Famous Parties and the Future of Dressing Up


Welcome to the Fancy Dress direct blog. Here we will be keeping you up to date with the latest information on everything fancy dress and dressing up and will hopefully keep you informed for everything you could need to know about the latest trends, interesting facts and general information on what fancy dress is all about.

Where did fancy dress begin? 

21837Let’s start at the very beginning with the history of fancy dress. If you search the internet, as we have done, you will find that there is no definitive answer as to where the origins of fancy dress began.

It is said that the first known parties and events where dressing up became popular was back in the 15th century in Venice with masquerade balls.

These balls saw noble’s wearing ornate and elaborate masks during private celebrations, such as weddings, or at public occasions that the upper classes attended.

But why wear masks? It is said that the guests used to hide their identities in order to act in ways that they wouldn’t have been able to in normal life.

The celebrations were often full of eating, drinking, dancing and gambling and often involved flirting so therefore the guests wore the masquerade masks to remain unidentifiable.

By the 18th century the popularity declined due to the fall of the Venetian Republic and the use of masks and fancy dress disappeared altogether.

It wasn’t until the 19th century during the reign of Queen Victoria, who reportedly loved fancy dress, that when the Duchess of Devonshire held a grand fancy dress ball in her honour that the popularity of dressing up returned.

This trend of wearing clothes from history continues in the modern day even now with themed parties from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s being one of the most popular.

Modern history of fancy dress – what has it become? 

7623After WWII, due to the ease of getting goods from the USA and other overseas countries, fancy dress once again became popular in the 20th century where dressing up became more varied.

Costumes became more elaborate and detailed and themed parties became popular in the early 90’s through to the modern day where now a days anything goes.

Even the Royal Family have got in on the dressing up band wagon with Prince William reportedly celebrating his 21st birthday with an ‘Out of Africa’ theme and his cousin, Princess Beatrice held a fancy dress party for her 18th. We have yet to see Her Majesty dressing up though….

Famous Fancy Dress Parties 

20145It’s not just the royals that like to dress up, in the past celebrities have also been known to host lavish fancy dress parties.

Serena Williams recently dressed up as He-man for her 80s themed party in Florida in April this year and Coronation Street actress Lucy-Jo Hudson and partner Alan Halsall have before seen in dressing up costumes of Ariel, The Little Mermaid and Ace Ventura.

And it’s not all about the adult celebrities, Beyoncé and Jay Z reportedly threw their 4-year-old daughter a lavish princess themed fancy dress party with guests wearing pretty princess costumes and bling galore.

Festival Fancy Dress 

25958Fancy dress is not just for parties and celebrations; it is also really popular in the festival scene. One well known festival is Bestival and Camp Bestival that is well known for having a theme for each year.

Bestival is a 4-day music event held on the Isle of Wight and Camp Bestival is held at Lulworth Castle in Dorset and both are well known for their themes.

Camp Bestival is mainly aimed at families with younger children and is a great way to get them into music and the festival scene and this year’s theme is outer space! Check out local festivals near you and ask about the fancy dress theme for this year.

The future for Fancy Dress

27293So now you know where dressing up first began, how it has evolved over the years, where it is most popular so now all you need to do is join in!

As we said earlier, now a days the hunt for a fancy dress costume has never been easier with endless websites selling fancy dress direct.

You can search at the comfort of your own home and order costumes to be delivered direct to your door without the embarrassment or hassle of having to visit an out of town costume shop trying weird and wonderful outfits on.

The availability and quality of costumes is huge and almost anything you can think of has been or can be turned into a fancy dress costume.

Whether it be a famous person you idolise over, a character or hero from your favourite TV show or film, inanimate objects such as trees or ice creams or even keeping up with the times an emoji character, the list is endless.