I love a night out as much as the next student but every time a Facebook event pops up with a requirement to dress up like an animal, a superhero or a Disney character, my inner Scrooge reveals itself. Bottom line: fancy dress is the worst.
First of all, they’re expensive. Costume shops in student cities are an amazing business venture because of the demand for last-minute outfits at the request of every society’s social secretaries. In the rush to find something to wear that night, you end up spending half your food money on wigs, props, tutus and feather boas. Where does it end up after that one party? If you haven’t had your cowboy hat stolen off your head by a stranger on the dance floor, I’d hazard a guess and say it’ll find a home underneath your bed, stained with some unknown liquid which you can only hope is vodka lemonade. I’d much rather stick to my trusty pair of jeans and enjoy an extra round of trebs with the cash I’ve saved.
Fancy dress for girls often doesn’t constitute of much material - different problem for a different time - so when we are adorn our sexy cat/policewoman/ketchup bottle costume (delete as applicable), we’re essentially risking hypothermia over the FOMO. In fact, unless you go for a onesie that looks like a unicorn to keep warm, you can guarantee you’ll be shivering all night.
Finally, I have a personal vendetta against face paint. Not only is it a nightmare to keep it from sliding off all night, it gets everywhere. Your clothes, your friends’ clothes, your bed sheets in the morning when you forget to wipe it off… You’ll still be finding bits of blue behind your ear in a week’s time as you start to wonder why you decided you looked good as a Smurf.
You know, when you’re in uni, stressing over assessments, turning up to (or missing) endless lectures, and trying to maintain your social life, where’s the harm in social events where you get to dress up, eh?
I’ve turned up to many of these fancy dress parties, and loved every one of them. Usually around Halloween, they provide a degree of entertainment and freedom that a lot of other parties usually don’t provide. I mean, we’re only young once, so why not enjoy it however you want to?
That said, I’m not supporting all fancy dress parties – there are levels where it’s just not cool, and I’ll still come down on the “you’re a dick” side of the line if parties’ fancy dress themes revolve around utilising cultures as dress-up elements. There are so many great fancy dress themes for parties and events that I’ve been to (I have a Disney one lined up in a few weeks, help!) so avoiding causing offence is pretty easy.
Despite this, let’s be honest, as students, we’re going to spend our money on something, and some of it is going to be on social events, going out, having fun. Whether you’re the kind of person to buy a full costume yourself, or, like me, you’re someone who will try to put it together from the clothes you already own (it’s how I ended up as Han Solo last Halloween...), there are so many ways to avoid spending too much money on your fancy dress and still look great.
Food for thought: how many other items of clothing have you only ever worn once for a night out? How many items of clothing are reserved for parties? Your fancy dress clothing is no different to that one shirt, dress or pair of shoes you’ve only got for nights out.