Cool Fancy Dress Ideas

Written by pamela mooman
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Cool Fancy Dress Ideas
The 1950s evening attire for women included form-fitting gowns, often with bare shoulders. (George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images)

Dressing up for special occasions is nothing new. But if you are seeking something a bit different, there are many eras, styles and ideas to choose from. Actresses and high-profile people often set off style trends, but they may not be right for you. Take a moment, assess your figure and the occasion, as well as your preferences for various era-style dresses, and you will find just the right outfit for a fancy dress occasion.

Go Retro -- Really Retro

Regency or Victorian era style dresses can make grand statements for fancy dress-up occasions. Regency-style dresses are long and usually have Empire waists, which are above the natural waistline and sometimes as high as just below the bust. Empire waists are flattering for more bottom-heavy figures.

Trimmed in lace, and usually lower cut, Regency era dresses bring to life the world of Jane Austen and her novels. Amber jewellery was popular during this era. Regency era dresses can have long or short sleeves. On the other hand, Victorian era dresses often have a fitted bodice and a long, elaborately decorated skirt. Cameos and elaborate jewellery were popular Victorian era accessories. To accommodate the wider skirts of the Victorian era, a hoop skirt or crinoline was usually worn underneath the dress, and lace shawls were often worn over the shoulders and arms.

Pure Glamour

Glamour can be defined as a quality that is exciting or attractive and draws interest. If you choose to go glamorous, think Hollywood and royal weddings. The term "glamorous" can apply to long or short dresses, such as cocktail dresses, with a wide variety of materials and patterns. Strapless gowns, for example, are popular with Hollywood starlets. Shiny fabrics and sequins often "glam up" a dress or dressy suit. Glamorous dresses can be form-fitting all over or just on top with a fuller skirt below.

More demure glamour often mixes with elegance in the realm of royalty. For example, In the wedding of Prince William to Katherine Middleton, on her dress and her sister's dress, beautiful lace shone with pure glamour in the morning sun. When Lady Diana Spencer married Prince Charles, her dress was frothy and full of fairy-tale romance. Overall, glamorous dresses, while attention-grabbing, are feminine and dreamy.

Bohemian Style

While you may picture bohemian style as casual and even hippielike, it is actually a way of dressing that expresses your individuality. And it is not just for casual days out. Bohemian style has been divided up into three main categories: peasant girl, rugged boho and bohemian luxe. The last category would serve as a great way to dress up for a party or social event while reflecting your own personal style. Bohemian luxe is characterised by a chic look that includes maxi dresses and darker colours mixed with more modern heels and accessories, such as shiny silver or crystal bracelets and decorative rings. Using this look for a dress-up occasion will allow you to dress appropriately for the occasion but still stand out a bit.

1950s Style

Dress-up style from the 1950s emphasises femininity and an hourglass figure. Bare shoulders and legs and a fitted bodice that showcases large bosoms are all elements of 1950s dress-up styles. Evening gowns followed the 1950s style and were generally form fitting. Prints were popular, especially in America. Cone bras helped create the cone look for the bust, and full skirts were often topped with belts, further emphasising a feminine figure. Scarves and hats were popular 1950s accessories, as were high stiletto heels, which highlighted the shape of the foot.

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