Fancy Dress Hacks

We all know that fancy dress is a big part of uni culture and it is not just exclusive to Welcome Week. Fresher’s is only the beginning of a long few years of endless themed nights out and socials. If you join a sports team or society you may find yourself needing a new costume every Wednesday. Not only this, but Crisis theme nights are every Wednesday, so anybody can get involved, even without a club. Whilst fancy dress can be a lot of fun, it also gets expensive very quickly if you’re dressing up every single week. As someone who does this, here are my pointers to nailing any theme you may come across.

“Charity shops are also a gem”

Where to buy an outfit in Nottingham – by far the easiest way to source your fancy dress means is to simply to buy an outfit that is pre-made. The best place in Nottingham? Hands down the best place to go is Luvyababes, located on the top floor of the Victoria INTU Centre next to the Disney store. This weird and wonderful store is huge, and you can find anything for your fancy dress needs from small accessories to full mascot style costumes at a wide range of prices. The best thing about the store is not the huge amount of stock, but its fun atmosphere; it is an experience in itself and is well worth the visit. Be aware though, on a Wednesday afternoon it is usually full of UoN and Trent students panicking to get a last-minute outfit.

Utilise second-hand stores – one method my debt prefers is to plan an outfit and search second hand either in charity shops or on Depop and eBay to make a cheap and cheerful outfit. Just because something is second-hand doesn’t mean it is going to look worse than the expensive store-bought alternatives. You can also get many full outfits that people have used once for a cheap price, perfect for a one-off occasion! For my 80’s themed night I bagged a swimsuit off Depop for £3 and some leg warmers off eBay for £2, simple and easy! Charity shops are also a gem as there’s a ridiculous amount in Beeston you’re sure to find something.

“Sometimes the best outfits are not the boring shop bought ones”

Use what you already have – take a minute to really think about what you already have in your wardrobe, make the outfit work with what you have. For our chick-flick themed social my friend nailed her witty Mean Girl’s outfit, without having to buy in a load of accessories. Sometimes the best outfits are not the boring shop bought ones and are the ones where people just have fun with it.

Makeup can make an outfit – people often think that fancy dress means buying an entire head to toe look, but sometimes you do not even need to buy any costume and you can just use makeup to your advantage. This is a really cheap hack, and if you are not the best at applying makeup, either ask a mate or find a Youtube tutorial to show you how. For a couple of quid, I bought a headband and white face paint to make this Dalmatian look. Eyeliner is your new best friend, especially for any animal themed night.

“think outside the box”

Get creative – my absolute number one tip is to get creative, think outside the box and you can not only keep cost low, but create memorable and hilarious outfits that everyone will always remember. The bunch of balloon grapes for an alphabet themed night is fun and easy, all it takes is a little bit of creativity to make it work!

Miriam Thompson

Photos courtesy of Miriam Thompson.

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