I’ve always been a big fan of dressing up and when someone has a party demanding that you do so, it is kind of like a red rag to a bull. My first pubescent/adolescent experience of this was a Halloween party when I was 14 or 15. I bought flowery lady trousers and blouse from a charity shop in the days before ‘vintage’ and then some boring office type clothes a bloke would wear, grey pants, white shirt and cut them in half. They were sewn back together so I was a half and half person with eyeliner down the middle of my face, one side of my hair slicked back, the other back-combed (this was in the days when I had shoulder length purple hair), the flowery side of me was made up to look like a lady and the other side like a zombie. I even had one black Dr Marten and one orange one to wear. Good idea, bad execution, the eyeliner and make up rubbed off after I’d sweated, gotten drunk and cried or been sick or both. TIP: Hairspray over make up works a treat if you are a sweater.
I like the gender bending side of fancy dress, it makes it so much more fun and this is why, for Halloween some 10 years later, I was spotted sporting the outfit below.
I remember being referred to as ‘the hot Manga girl/boy’, I’m not sure what I was going for really but I think it worked, not so much a character or an idea but a mash up of styles and objects to create something unique. Hardly couture with those marigolds on but…
The party I threw for my 26th birthday was themed as a Pimps and Hos party, but of course I decreed that all the men must dress as women and all the women must dress as men. We decked our squat-like house out like a brothel of which I was the madam, as you can see the bearded lady look really works for me.
It was noted that evening that my poise and grace were terribly feminine and gentle and that I was born to be a madam, charmed, I’m sure. This was before a transvestite reveller threw a glass at my head and promptly ended the party.
Demanding a night of fancy dress isn’t really a bad thing, if everyone is a little outside of their comfort zone you hope they might relax and have some fun but what if you take this to another country for an 80s themed Hen Party? I never thought I’d be one of those people. I was, I am, it is true and I feel no remorse because not only did I get to dress up as Freddie Mercury but my best mate Sue got to dress up as Michael Jackson.Her childhood Elvis posturing mutated into an innate ability to impersonate ‘Billie Jean’ era Jacko, this was noted everywhere we went as she was chased around nightclubs and bars with people shouting after her. Please note Sue had previously refused to dress up and this was a real turn of the tides for her, now there’s no looking back.
Dressing up is for everyone and totally allows you to become anybody you want to, confuse people, amuse people or scare the shit out of people (my disco zombie outfit acquired me a cash card after a ‘28 Days Later’ style snarl and grunt). I know it isn’t for everyone and people don’t like enforced fun but there’s nothing like becoming someone or something else for an evening, somehow it really allows people to be themselves.