The Secrets of Fancy Dress

05 Nov 2017

The invitation said “Halloween Chic” or “Black Tie and Masks”.

Normally, not only do I despise Halloween as a Festival (aggressive sales, intimidating teenagers at old peoples’ doors, demands for unearned treats, tasteless costumes, gory and threatening masks terrifying little ones….), I also despise the pressure implied by the order of “Fancy Dress”.   I’m quite “bah-humbug” about it. My heart sinks and I mumble crossly to myself about the pressure of having to come up with some amazing, original outfit in the allotted time. 

I like to feel glamorous when I go out in the evening.   I do admire the lack of vanity some people show when they go dressed deliberately as something unattractive, gruesome or scary.

I remember feeling very impressed by the beautiful Heidi Klum when she was pictured going in fancy dress to some party as an old and infirm woman, complete with sagging neck skin, face and knees.  She has taken the opportunity at Halloween generally to dress up as some pretty unattractive characters!  Good on her! 

I guess it’s easier if you are known as a natural Beauty.  But nevertheless, it is rather interesting to try and understand what makes a beautiful woman want to do that.  I think it implies a lot of confidence in the way you look normally to feel comfortable, but perhaps, even more than that, a general self-confidence in the person she is, which doesn’t rely on outward validation.

There is also an element of rebellion which is probably not a surprise coming from a model who has been “manhandled” for years by the make-up artist, fashion-stylist and hair-stylist, in a superficial world of appearances and pressures to conform to “Ideal” images of Beauty. 

Fancy Dress challenges appearances generally.  It is a form of disguise and could even a display of an alter-ego.  Could it be that ones choice of fancy dress is more revealing than we realise?  If there’s no set theme then one’s choice could be indicating a side to us which we would normally be too shy to show.

As a Stylist I look at someone’s clothes choice as being reflective of their personality.  It is so important to understand my clients’ Style Personality before I make suggestions on how they should dress or what to buy. 

What we wear and why is a great interest of mine.   The ramifications of this are probably more complex than we think, going back even as far as childhood, where we picked up our parents’ or carers’ attitudes towards clothes.

Many of us don’t even realise the mental and/or emotional blocks we may have with regard to what we wear.

Wearing a Fancy Dress costume may be a way of releasing some of those hang-ups!

For one night, we can be whoever we want to be.   This could be liberating.  It is the same liberation one may feel wearing a mask.

We can hide behind a mask, as well as a costume.  This gives us licence to be braver with what we say and even what we do. 

I have to admit that I had such fun dressing up for the Halloween party!  A black beaded, netting dress with a cobweb-appearance and a delicate black lace mask fitted the tone but still maintained some elegance.  In other words, it was my sort of Fancy Dress which I felt comfortable in.

What was most significant was that I felt a sense of empowerment and freedom behind the eye-mask.  I was partly in disguise while revealing a little bit of myself.   It also felt a bit like a licence to be a bit naughty too!  But I won’t go into that!