Fancy Dress Ideas for the Circus

Written by victoria mcgrath
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Fancy Dress Ideas for the Circus
Circus gowns depend on elaborate fabric, brilliant colour and extravagant design elements. (clown in hobo costume image by James Phelps from

Fancy dress ideas for the circus develop from its iconic images, characters and performances. Inspirations for the designs can come from the red and white striped circus tents, the ringmaster in his tuxedo and top hat, the gypsy with her seeing glass ball, the trapeze artists performing overhead, and the sword-swallowing and flame-breathing side show performers. The elaborate fabrics are flowing and abundant with particular attention to details, sequencing and accessories. The headdress particularly can add glamour and intrigue.

A Top Hat and Tuxedo Dress

A formal tuxedo dress is a female version of a classic vintage tuxedo with a waistcoat and tall black top hat. The tuxedo dress is a strapless gown with a white horizontal pleaded bodice and colourful corset cummerbund. The floor length skirt flows with layers of black taffeta. The well-tailored waistcoat tails extend to the floor, with interior satin to match the colour of the cummerbund.

A Ring Circus Tent Dress with Circus Performers

The two-part circus tent dress includes a vertical striped red and white cape over a hoop skirt. The hoop skirt is four dimensional rather than round. The skirt has four sides made of four triangles, pulled together at the top to create the waist. Each triangle is embroidered with a scene from the circus. The ringmaster is in the centre with performing elephants, the lion tamer is in the cage with a performing lion on one side, a trapeze team walks the high rope on the other side, and a man is shot from a cannon on the back panel. The head piece is a miniature red and white big top tent.

A Gypsy Priness Dress with a Seeing Glass Ball Headress

The gypsy princess dress includes imprinted panels of tarot cards in rows down the front and back of the skirt. The front top of the dress has a flashing neon palm print. The headdress is a glass ball. Inside the glass ball is a small LCD screen. The glass ball sits on a gold crown pedestal with large jewels around it. One of the jewels can have a small camera hidden behind it. Circus viewers will see themselves on the screen in the glass ball as they look into it.

A Trapeze Artist Dress with a Double Hoop Skirt

A trapeze artist dress includes a double hooped skirt that starts at the neck and extends to the fingertips in a full half circle. An upside down hoop skirt connects at the bottom of the top hoop and narrows at the ankles. The top and bottom hoops form a full circle. The circular dress is see-through and the trapeze artist can be seen inside in her costume and tights. The hoops contain many triangular beams that contain miniature trapeze artists on them, walking on tight ropes and swinging from bars. The five-foot tall headdress displays a high rope and miniature trapeze routine on top.

A Pyrotechnic Dress with Embroidered Flames

The long, black flowing flame dress has layers of black, red, orange, yellow, blue and purple material to create a pattern of flames. The flame design flows up full-length black gloves. The dress has a high neckline with fabric flames shooting up from the collar. An orange neon necklace and flame face paint accessorise it. A tall volcano headress extends three feet into the air, with fire shooting out of the narrowed top.

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