Note Archive: #fun

A Brief History of Fancy Dress

A few years ago, my good friend Jon had a blog. Upon it, he once wrote about his entire backlog of fancy dress costumes, which struck me as an idea worth thieving. In the time since, he has of course ditched the blog in favour of amusing videos, so there is no evidence of this.

Nevertheless it happened, and as my work and this space has recently been feeling a bit heavy, I think we ought to talk about something silly instead. Today is the day the idea thievery happens, and we shall delve into my own backlog of fancy dress. Plus, with halloween coming up, it seems perfectly apt.


2007: Book launch of Harry Potter 7. Mary & I dressed as Hagrid and Buckbeak. We were the oldest in costume. I wore a wig on my face, she wore sparkly leggings… I’m not sure what more I can say.

2010: Dandy Man. Readers of my old blog may remember this one. The first year of university, my flatmate had a superhero themed party. We all left our costumes to the last minute and make-do-and-mend came into full force. One friend went as “box man” in a cardboard box. I think I got the better deal.

2011: Toucan. Once upon a time, I went to visit my friend at Oxford. She took me to a bop. It was jungle themed. The end.

2011: Jon’s 21st and halloween. We dressed as clowns. I wore my liquorice allsorts shirt, courtesy of Mary’s Dad. It rained when we left the house. Bedraggled clowns entered the club we landed in.

2012: Techno Starfish. Carly’s birthday was “Under the Sea” themed. I bought some poor quality, yet oh so shiny fabric from seemingly the only fabric shop in Bristol. My first attempt at a starfish costume went wrong. The second attempt saw me working for 5 hours on the day of the party to stitch up the magic you see above. The costume got recycled 8 months later for a “Space” themed evening. Waste not, want not.

2012: Noah’s Ark party. My pal Dan and I share a birthday. So for our 21st, we decided to share a party. I decided the theme was Noah’s Ark, Dan agreed and much fun was had. My costume was a lion and that is the most terrifying face I could muster, apparently. I’m sure I’d get exiled from my pride if I really were a lion. Anyway, there were peacocks, zebras, bears, doves, two people who came as one another and God. We threw another party for our 22nd, which was Myths & Legends themed. Sadly, my Woodland Nymph costume was crap and few photos were taken.

2014: New Year. After that, there was a long fancy dress break. Until the New Year’s Eve just gone. The theme was “the future” and I made a shiny mirror dress. You can read more about that one here. Needless to say, it was a costume that rustled, as much as it shined.


So there we have it. A brief history of my fancy dress outfits.

How about yourselves? Any costume highlights or lowlights? Or perhaps a Halloween special you’re working on right now?

Lost, Reward If Found

I was digging through some old photos today and found this little one of a jacket I used to own. Beautiful was it, with its black & taupe panelling, elbow patches (yes!), large pockets and tartan lining. One of those rare finds, which you can’t seem to pass up despite the money and it not being your usual thing.

You take it home, dig out one of those antiquated padded hangers reserved for delicate garments and special items from lost relatives. You stare longingly at it, hesitantly shrug it onto your shoulders and strut around your room like you’re Freddie Mercury, wary of taking it into the big bad world. You begin forming a strange attachment, guarding it from possible pain and trauma, using it on only rare occasions… and one day, a friend asks to borrow it. Carefully, she knows how you feel.

Then it happens. A dark night, a chill in the air, a little too much tipple and vamoose! Into the dust of the darkness it disappears, swept into an underworld of lies and deceit.

You hear the news and like a scorned lover, you sigh heavy defeat; imagining scenes of it parading on less idyllic shoulders, hugging the curvature of another body and oblivious to your mourning. Your poor dear friend, mortified at the occurrence, finds a replacement, buys you flowers and very sweetly makes amends. You’re thankful that she cares – and the new jacket is warmer, simpler and still tartan inside. Time passes and your loss stings less, yet some days, you can’t help but think of that special, irreplaceable charm that the original held.

That, with a few artistic embellishments, is the tale of this little jacket. Thankfully, blogging in the past means that photographs of our time together exist, not relegating it to fading memories. One day I will create a replicate, with bells and whistles to make it more mine and infinitely better. For now, I shall have to look upon these pictures with idle hope, exhale a wistful sigh and slowly move on.