Fancy Dress Ideas for Women

Updated April 17, 2017

Throughout the year there are many different opportunities for fancy dress parties. Choosing something funny and creative can be difficult, especially if you are on a budget. However, there are distinct categories of fancy dress costumes that can help guide you in your decision. The best fancy dress costumes are original, and are often improvised. By planning ahead, you will be able to accumulate items and save money in creating a great costume.


The benefit of historical costumes is that they can be reused for many different occasions, and can be subtly altered to different circumstances. For example, a Cleopatra costume can easily be reused for a toga party. Pick a character from history who is well known, and has a distinctive look. Alternatively, simply pick a period of history which is easy to identify the costume of, such as colonial times or the Middle Ages. Research your costume to find details that will make your costume look even better.


Dressing as a celebrity is another costume which can be reused for many different parties. An obscure character is not a good costume, so it is best to choose a celebrity from history such as Marilyn Monroe or Audrey Hepburn. Both of these characters have classic, easily identifiable looks that can be utilised for many different parties, regardless of the age of the attendees.

Current Events

If you know your current events, then a recent news story can be inspirational. If a celebrity has just been arrested, you can dress as this celebrity in prison clothes, or with a ball and chain. The problem with this is that costumes cannot easily be reused, as people forget current events. Scan through a newspaper for ideas for a costume, and think what items you already own that can be repurposed.

Lateral Thinking

The most original costume ideas are the most creative. These often involve lateral thinking. For example, if a party has a Titanic theme, why not dress as an iceberg lettuce? The best way to think laterally is to see if there are any double meanings in the theme. An '80s party could allow you to dress as someone aged 80, rather than someone from the decade. This will make you stand out, and will give you an effective conversation starter.


Holiday costumes can be reused each year, so a little effort goes a long way. A Mrs. Claus costume for Christmas or an Elvira get-up for Halloween can last you many years. The downside of this option is that many people will have done the same. To stand out, you will have to put in effort in make-up or in building the costume.

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About the Author

Emile Heskey has been a professional writer since 2008, when he began writing for "The Journal" student newspaper. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in modern history and politics from Oxford University, as well as a Master of Science in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies from Edinburgh University.