Once your BA accounting degree days have been and gone and you’re sat at your office desk mulling over your university years, most people will look back fondly, remembering their favourite lecturers and parties spent with housemates. One thing that will be present in around 50 per cent of these memories is fancy dress.
Fancy dress and student life appear to be synonymous these days, and if you don’t have a fancy dress box next to your broken printer then you may just be missing out on one of the most fundamental student experiences there is. Yet fear not! This guide is here to ensure that you too can be one of London’s best ‘fancy’ dressed along with a great list of where to use this newly acquired knowledge and skill.
*No bunny costumes required here.
Where to buy
When it comes to stocking up on fancy dress it doesn’t have to be the mad eBay dash that many sadly believe that it is. Studying for business management courses in London puts you in a great position, and not just for the fantastic teaching and business links, but also because the standard of fancy dress in London and the sheer number of events is at an unreal level. Here we’ve put together a selection of the best.
- Charles H Fox Covent Garden
Already a household name among those in film, theatre and fashion, make-up brand Kryolan is as good as it gets when it comes to make-up for fancy dress. It may be made for professionals by professionals, but their store Charles H Fox in Covent Garden is also fantastic for students who want to go all out on their costume – or just look good for their student card photo. They offer one-to-one make-up sessions and even have readymade kits that include everything you need to achieve certain looks, from witches and aliens to flawless photo-ready perfection.
- Angels Fancy Dress
Once the face is put on, you need to find the perfect outfit. Angels Fancy Dress is regarded as one of the best around and with the UK’s largest selection of costumes, they near enough guarantee you won’t turn up in the universally lame “ghost” bed sheet. With both their main store on Shaftesbury Avenue and their outlet shop in North London, they’re not too far away either.
Looking for current and hilarious costumes? Then Escapade is a good bet. Find fancy dress on their website easily by theme, and with regular competitions advertised online, they’re very student-friendly too. They even have a separate Escapade Halloween website, offering a one-stop shop for Halloween costumes and accessories, even going so far as to offer Halloween-inspired cocktails and food ideas.
- Beyond Retro
Want to get more creative? Then everyone’s favourite vintage shop is the place to go. Beyond Retro is like the Aladdin’s Cave of fancy dress inspiration and with stores in London, Brighton and Sweden being led by instinctive fashion forecasting and creative staff, they are more than trustworthy in sourcing the ultimate in original fancy dress.
“We offer so much more than just fancy dress though. Beyond Retro is the UK’s largest vintage supplier and alongside our 3 stores in London and a 4th in Brighton, we also have a whole room within our Cheshire Street store which is the Beyond Retro Outlet and it’s frequented and much-loved by students. The Beyond Retro Outlet is where you can purchase our fashion-forward original vintage pieces at a reduced price.” – Beyond Retro
And that’s just the shoes at Dalston!
Make your own
Perhaps you want to get out the old glue gun and unleash your inner Neil Buchanan – here is some fancy dress inspiration that you can try your hand at yourself. Parental supervision possibly required, depending on how many G&Ts you’ve sunk already.
Great as a group or going it alone. (FYI. A plain coloured strapless dress, sharpie to scribble ‘Crayola’ and a party hat also works, no one expects you to go to this effort.)
Who said couples’ costumes had to be lame?
And if you’re really stuck – this next one just goes to show that anything works when you strike the right pose/show a bit of unshaven leg. Someone say ‘Power Puff Girls’?
Where to play
Once you’ve got your costume at the ready then you need somewhere to show it off. If you’ve gotten the fancy dress bug, exhausted all of the fancy dress events in your area and can’t wait until Halloween, then here are the bars and clubs that make fancy dress a year-round delight.
- Bar Rumba
Regularly hosting themed parties, Bar Rumba is there for every fancy dress craving. Themes include the classics – Nerds & Geeks, Cops & Robbers, Doctors & Nurses and, that Christmas favourite, Naughty & Nice. With great prices on drinks and sing-along-friendly playlists, they’re a good one to make yours and your housemates’ regular at 38 Shaftesbury Avenue.
- Club de Fromage
If you haven’t heard of Club de Fromage at the O2 Academy Islington, then where have you been? Held every Saturday from 10.30pm, their fancy dress event is now legendary. With special events held regularly with different themes, it is not hard to see that they are more than partial to a bit of dress up. Their customers even receive Angels Fancy Dress discount, what more could you want?
- 2.8 Hours Later
All a bit too cheery for your tastes? Then there is another event that might just take your fancy. 2.8 Hours Later is the city-wide zombie chase game that is sure to match fancy dress skill with sheer terror, with London events held regularly. Ever thought you’d be awesome in a zombie apocalypse? Then this is the event for you; see their website for ticket details and future dates.
- All Star Lanes
For the retro Betties amongst you there’s even a fancy dress year-round location for you too. All Star Lanes is the ultimate bowling venue where you can ‘Eat, Drink, Bowl’ and have a fantastic time whilst staff in 50s American dress are swanning around with mac and cheese croquette-topped burgers. They even live up to their name with a loyal all-star following, with all the best Harry’s tying up their laces for a go – see Prince Harry, Debbie Harry and Harry Potter’s (Daniel Radcliffe’s) signatures if you don’t believe us. They have locations across the capital, including at Brick Lane, Bayswater, Holborn and Westfield Stratford City.
Image Credits: Angels Fancy Dress, Club de Fromage, Kryolan UK – Charles H Fox, Escapade, Beyond Retro, Bar Rumba, 2.8 Hours Later, All Star Lanes
This content was written by Rachel Smith. Please feel free to visit my Google+ Profile to read more stories.