Fancy dress for less

26 Oct

First up, a quick apology for the long delay between my posts. My excuse: a severely temperamental  internet connection that has resulted in several major attacks of rage, worsened by the baffling computer speak I’ve been wading through on trouble shooting forums. Today, I finally accepted assistance from a MAN and despite him not being able to find the root of the problem or therefore a solution, things now seem to be working.  Nonsensical.

So, I thought I’d make the most of the (probably temporary) breakthrough and get a post up, which is already rather out of date. A few weekends ago, I received an invite to a 1920s-themed 30th birthday do. Now, I do love a good fancy dress party (they always seem to be the most drunken affairs) but the actual process of putting together an outfit is one I find quite stressful. I put this down to two reasons:

  1. The first is a rather traumatic experience I had as a child. Aged about five,  my parents took great joy in dressing me up as Oliver Twist for a school friend’s fancy dress bash. I seem to remember it was quite a good outfit: muddied cheeks, a flat cap, ripped shirt etc, but when I arrived at the party, all the other little girls had come as princesses and fairies (not quite sure how Oliver fitted in with the theme?). The result: lots of tears, a temper tantrum and a flat-out refusal to go inside.
  2. The other factor is the cost. Whenever I’m presented with a legitimate reason to go shopping I tend to get a bit carried away. You start off with good intentions, raiding the charity shops and trekking up to Camden market to seek out a bargain, but somehow end up in a panic on the day of the party shelling out £30 for a pair of shiny lycra leggings from American Apparel in a colour you’ll never wear again (a putrid blue, if you’re wondering) because your outfit (retro ski-wear in this particular instance) just won’t work without them.

So you’ll understand, that sorting out a 1920s outfit, while trying not to shop is something of a challenge.  I had a good idea of what I wanted to look like (think Kate Moss in that lovely jewel-encrusted, nude dress – yes, wishful thinking!), and a definite option in mind that would do quite nicely (1920’s fringing seems to be a look that’s in at the moment) but no such budget.

Ideal Fancy Dress Fix: Tiered Fringe Dress, Rare at Topshop - £45

(photo credit:

The solution:

Beg, borrow…and do what any right-minded lady should if they find themselves with any kind of a clothing dilemma: visit Primark.

The outcome:

  • One pair of long black gloves, a black feather and an accompanying head band loaned by a generous Miss Smith
  • One long pearl necklace retrieved from my ever-expanding fancy dress box
  • One £5 drop-waist dress (thankfully, the 1920s style drop waist was one of this summer’s trends, so it was in the sale) purchased after a stressful dash around Primark, Oxford Street on a Friday night, which required nerves of steel, an aggressive elbows-out stance and a glass of wine lined up for after.

And, here we have the flapper girls, ready to go to the party:

Trying out twenties style on the cheap, with Alana and Charley



3 Responses to “Fancy dress for less”

  1. Barbara Davies October 28, 2010 at 4:23 pm #

    Can we see a photo of the retro ski-wear outfit? I seem to remember it was rather good!

  2. Jules October 28, 2010 at 10:08 pm #

    Hi Hannah, really enjoying your blog! This one I can relate to especially as I too have fallen foul of American Apparel metallic leggings! Stay strong with the money saving 🙂

    • misshandavies November 2, 2010 at 9:18 pm #

      Thanks Jules! And Mum – I don’t think it’s necessary to see me in those pretty dreadful leggings!

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