Pantomime Costume Ideas

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Pantomime Fancy Dress Theme Costume Ideas

A great option if you need to think of something quintessentially British! (oh no it isn’t, oh yes it is!)

Though there are different fairy tales, most pantomimes have various essential characters which feature in many, if not all performances. From the Panto Dame, where males relish the chance to dress up as females, with over the top bright, colourful ‘loud’ dresses, wigs, make-up and appropriate accessories such as jumbo eyelashes, to the Principal Boy, which is often played by a girl.

At Props & Frocks we have costumes for most pantomimes, including Snow White, Cinderella, Aladdin, Peter Pan, Dick Whittington, Jack and the Beanstalk & Sleeping Beauty. Not only do we stock the major characters, but we also have costumes and accessories for the chorus, from fairies, to villagers and everything in between. Take a look at our large range of Fairytale costumes, our hire costume stock will fill in any gaps.

Here are some Pantomime costume suggestions, but there are so many more, and there is something to suit all sizes and budgets.

  • Snow White - Other characters include; Wicked Queen (use a witch costume), Prince Charming, woodcutter and who can forget the seven dwarfs?
  • Little Red Riding Hood plenty of red riding hood costumes available to purchase, and why not go as a couple with our Granny Wolf costume, or a peasant costume for the woodcutter?
  • Cinderella a whole host of costumes available here from Ugly Sister costumes, Fairy Godmother & Prince Charming outfits and don’t forget poor Cinders and Cinderella ballgowns.
  • Aladdin also called Ali Baba & the Forty Thieves another fantastic story with a large range of characters to help you to choose your costume. Traditionally set in China but Disneys version is set in the Middle East. A lot of Pantomimes will merge the two areas. Aladdin, Widow Twanky, Jafar, the baddie, Jasmine (wear a belly dancer costume) and of course, the genie. There are also roles for a parrot and monkey.
  • Peter Pan Yet another great story, full of terrific characters that you can dress up as. Firstly, we have Peter Pan, a green Elf costume will suffice as will some Robin Hood costumes. Captain Hook, Peter Pan’s arch enemy. You will need to wear a pirate captain costume and of course, you must wear a hook. Smee, Hooks second in command. You will need to wear a standard pirate costume for this character (as played by Bob Hoskins). Wendy wears an old fashioned white nightgown and the lost boys wear medieval peasant style clothing. Green fairy costumes work well for Tinker Bell. Other characters include: Indians and mermaids.
  • Alice in Wonderland, choose from Alice herself, The Queen of Hearts, The Mad Hatter or the white Rabbit.
  • Beauty & the Beast. You may need to wear a werewolf mask to get the beast effect. Beauty (or Belle) wears a yellow Victorian style dress. A lot of the characters (Wardrobe, light, tea pot) can be quite difficult to put together unless you are very talented and artistic.
  • Puss in Boots. We stock a large range of cat masks and accessories as well as over boots, hats and swords. Other characters include the Millers son, a poor boy, the King & his daughter, the Princess.
  • Jack & the Beanstalk Jack and his mother wear peasant costumes. You may need a very tall friend to go as the giant. This pantomime often includes characters from kids nursery rhymes such as Jack & Jill.
  • Babes In The Wood often combined with Robin Hood. Tudor style costumes, although the Disney version includes Hansel & Gretel, and therefore more Bavarian style costumes.
  • Dick Whittington Main characters include:
    Dick Whittington starts off very poor, our brown Robin Hood costume would be brilliant for this character
    Cat kills the rats for The Sultan
    King Rat the baddie
    The Sultan
    Pantomime Fairy
    Fairy of The Bells
    Ship Captain, his mate and some incompetent pirates
  • Robinson Crusoe following a ship wreck Robinson Crusoe finds himself on a remote desert island. Friday, is rescued from Cannibals. Pantomime versions often have Hawaiian based characters wearing grass skirts and flower garlands.
  • Sleeping Beauty Main Characters include:
    The Princess Sleeping Beauty
    King & Queen
    3 good fairies
    Wicked Fairy
    Prince Charming
  • Treasure Island a chance to wear those Pirate costumes again
  • The Wizard of Oz
    Dorothy
    Tin Man
    Scarecrow
    Cowardly Lion
    Glinda
    Wicked Witch of The West

Baddies & Goodies

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Baddies & Goodies Costume Ideas

When it comes to dressing up as Baddies & Goodies, or Heroes & Villains, there are so many costume choices out there that it can sometimes be a bit of a minefield. Here at Props & Frocks we try to guide you through the costume choices by dividing the areas into what we hope will be helpful categories. There is some crossover between book characters and film characters and it is always worth checking these sections as well for additional ideas.

Book Days and Weeks are a common occurrence for children, and there is a growing supply of suitable outfits coming to the market, baddie and goodie book character costumes for adults are a little harder to come by. (Unless, of course, the book has been made into a film). As a general rule, most films/series’ and their source novels share the same characters, so even if you have not read the book, you can usually ‘cheat’ with the screen version. Beware though – sometimes the movie-makers have made changes – in the MGM Wizard of Oz Dorothy’s slippers are famously red, but in the book they are actually silver!

Another factor to bear in mind is that people’s perceptions of a character can be influenced either by their own image of the character, the illustrations which accompany the text (such as Tenniel’s pictures for ‘Alice in Wonderland’), or by more recent and/or popular incarnations, especially where the book has been turned into a film and the characters’ looks may have changed or developed.

Western Costumes

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Western Costumes

INTRODUCTION

Here in Essex, the Western theme is a popular one and we stock a great range of western costumes for all the family.  Western/Wild West/Cowboys & Indians (or whatever you like to call it) and its offshoots such as Country & Western and Line Dancing all comprise one great theme which is often relatively easy to do.

There are many great Western costumes on the market available to purchase, including this men’s cowboy costume and this ladies Indian Squaw Costume and we also have some excellent costumes for hire.  However, this is one theme (Pirates is another) where there are so many western accessories available to purchase, that you may be able to put together a costume at home relatively cheaply.

How do you do this? Well, you may already have items in your wardrobe that will work and all you need do is add a western accessory or two. For example, a cowboy or cowgirl could just use a pair of jeans and a check shirt. Then cowboy accessories such as a Stetson hat, bandana (or neckerchief), guns, spurs etc., can be added to create your own unique look.

But, what if you do not happen to possess a check shirt? Or, perhaps rather than just a standard cowboy/girl you want to be a bit more adventurous with your western look? What else can we suggest?

Well, Western Costume Ideas mainly fall into the following groups:

  • American Pioneers – Frontiersmen & Women, Little House on the Prairie type costumes
  • Bandits & Outlaws
  • Cavalrymen
  • Cowboys or Cowgirls
  • Indians or rather the more politically correct Native Americans
  • Law Enforcers – Marshalls & Sheriffs
  • Saloon Bar Personnel – including Saloon Girls and Bordello Madames
  • Wild West Show Personnel
  • Wild West Other Character Costume Ideas

THE WILD, WILD WEST – The Steampunk Crossover

Those with an eye to current costuming trends will be aware of Steampunk, a costuming style involving a mixture of the fashions of the 1900s with elements of science fiction and clockwork engineering as exemplified in the novels of Jules Verne. Looking at some of the multitude of Steampunk inspired designs coming to the market, there is a crossover into elements of Western wear, notably the long frock-coat styles and female corsets. Although a little ahead of its time (the term had not been created then), the film ‘The Wild Wild West’ (1999) featuring Will Smith and Kenneth Branagh, offers an example of Western Steampunk, featuring a giant mechanical spider-cum-battlewagon and futuristic ‘Victorian’ weaponry.

For those wanting to push the envelope in Western wear, these styles may be well worth seeking out.

Pop Stars Costume Ideas

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Pop Stars Costume Ideas

The idea of impersonating Pop Stars is not a new one and there are now many different stars from various eras for you to choose from. Some of them may already be listed under specific decades, but in this section we have brought together a large number of the ideas to help you with your choice of character or star.

When hosting a Pop Stars theme party, some people will also decide it could be great fun to have a karaoke machine. So, if you are impersonating a particular star, it might not be about just achieving the iconic look with a suitable costume and/or accessories – it may also help if you can actually sing like the person, you are aiming to portray.

We have a fantastic array of costumes to help you with your chosen persona.  Even if you already have items in your own wardrobe that you can utilise, we have a great selection of wigs, hats and other accessories to help you create the right look.  We also stock a range of celebrity masks to help with your Pop Star image. Here are just some of our fabulous pop star costume ideas.

Costume Ideas for Groups

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Costume Ideas for Groups
There are certain times in the year when people want advice not only on what theme to have for their party but also what costumes we recommend. These two elements particularly combine when people want to go as a themed group of characters, notably around the main party season leading up to Christmas and the New Year. Sometimes there is so much choice in terms of costumes it may be difficult to make a decision on what would be the best group.

Why not start by looking through our selection of themes on the left hand side to see if any of these ideas appeal?

There are lots of different groupings that you might choose or perhaps a theme has already been selected for you?

Novelty Groupings – For those seeking something different, one can find some unusual potential groups in the market. Amongst those we have seen Tetris coloured block costumes and Crayola pencils! On the other hand, you might be working towards a large group of people all in similar costumes for the purposes of, say, a world record attempt. Most notably this has been seen for Smurfs (there are records for both ‘Largest number of people dressed as Smurfs in a Single Location’ and for ‘in Multiple Locations’) but recently groupings have also been organised for people dressed as Superman and for Star Trek characters.

Leading on from this, a further specialist area of suggestions for groups can be for carnival floats, processions, etc.. Here the need is to kit out what might be a large number of people (often an adults and children mix) under a common theme or concept. A major factor may also be cost, so the group might have to be based around a few key costumed characters, with others improvising or creating their outfits with expertise and/or improvisation.

Here are a few suggestions on a range of themes:

  • A pack of playing cards – Kings, Queens and Knaves with a cardboard tabard-based card courtiers – fairly easy to deal with!
  • Cruella de Vil and a collection of Dalmatians – This one’s popular with brownie and cub packs.
  • The Garden – Flowers and Gardeners, not to mention Gnomes, Frogs, Mice, Statues etc.
  • Around the World – A collection of ‘national costumes’ (official or otherwise) from many countries.
  • Circus – Not everyone likes clowns, and animals are less common now, but acrobats and circus skills still abound, controlled by a ringmaster/mistress

Some of our most popular groups tend to be based around storybook and film characters. It may also depend upon whether you have a mix of males and females, or if it is all based on one gender. You probably will not find too many males wanting to dress up as Disney Princesses and likewise a collection of Star Wars characters may be more male orientated. But, if you are having difficulty in deciding, here are a few additional suggestions.

Storybook & Pantomime Characters
Aladdin – The pantomime was set in China, whilst the Disney film was set in Arabia. Aside from the obvious characters such as Aladdin, Princess Balroubador (Traditional) or Princess Jasmine (Disney), the Genie and Abanazer (Trad.) or Jafar (Disney), for panto traditionalists there is Aladdin’s mother, Widow Twankey (opportunity for cross-dressing), the Emperor and Empress, plus a host of other characters.

Alice in Wonderland Characters – This is a popular grouping all year round, but particularly at Christmas and Easter where Mad Hatter Tea Parties can be great fun. The two books Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass offer a variety of characters. Some of the costumes from the 2010 Tim Burton film are available both online and in store. Here are just a few ideas.
• Alice
• Mad Hatter
• Dormouse
• Red or White Queen or Queen of Hearts
• Flamingo
• Playing Cards
• Frog Footman
• White Rabbit
• March Hare
• Cheshire Cat

Animal Costumes – As well as being part of the natural world, these feature in some traditional storybooks such as Wind in the Willows, The Jungle Book, Tarzan, The Gruffalo, The Cat in the Hat, etc.. Films such as Ice Age and Madagascar also have some interesting specimens. (Link to animals section).

Cinderella
Cinderella
• Prince Charming
• Dandini (The Prince’s ‘male’ companion, but in panto, like the Prince, often played by a female)
• King
• Queen
• Ugly Sisters
• Wicked Stepmother

Harry Potter – Both the series of books and films based around the wizard Harry Potter have now come to an end and hence are perhaps not as popular as they once were. Many children grew up reading the Harry Potter books and are now perhaps the same age as their heroes. However, younger children are being introduced to the characters by their parents or siblings, so this can still be an interesting grouping, although costume choices may be a bit limited. For students there are the four houses Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff.

Here are a selection of characters:-
• Harry Potter
• Hermione Granger
• Ron Weasley
• Draco Malfoy and various other students.

Teachers and professors from Hogwarts, include:-
• Albus Dumbledore
• Hagrid
• Minerva Mcgonagall
• Severus Snape

Adversaries such as:-
• Lucius Malfoy
• Bellatrix Lestrange
• Death Eaters
• Lord Voldemort

Narnia Books – The first book in the series by C S Lewis was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. This offers the best costume ideas. The main characters are the four children Peter, Susan, Edmund & Lucy. Other potential costume opportunities are Aslan the Lion, the White Witch, Mr Tumnuss the Faun (costume will probably need to be improvised and can be a bit cold in winter months), the various animals and characters from both Narnia and the real world of 1940s Britain.

Oliver Twist – Probably one of Charles Dickens’ best known literary works. Oliver!, the 1968 musical with Ron Moody as Fagin, Harry Secombe as Mr Bumble and Mark Lester as Oliver Twist is still seen as the benchmark.

Characters include:-
• Oliver Twist
• Fagin
• Mr Bumble
• Artful Dodger
• Nancy
• Bill Sykes

Peter Pan – This can be a fantastic choice particularly around the Christmas period. Peter Pan himself can either be worn by a boy or (in the best pantomime tradition) by a girl. Here are just some of the potential groupings from J M Barrie’s books.
• Peter Pan – Green tunic, hat and tights
• Captain Hook – A red frockcoat, shirt with jabot, black trousers, belt, moustache, plus a wig. No pirate outfit would be complete without a cutlass or sword and the hook of course finishes it off.
• Captain Smee – Striped shirt, black breeches, small round glasses and neckerchief.
• Pirates (a popular group in its own right) – Various costumes available
• Lost Boys – Choose from our selection of poor Victorians – Also suitable for Oliver Twist and other Dickensian characters.
• Tinkerbell/Tinker Bell – The green fairy can be a favourite amongst the girls. She now has her own film series, the latest (2014) being Tinker Bell and the Pirate Fairy
• Mermaids
• Indians – Various

Wizard of Oz – The series of books about Oz have been adapted for both stage and screen over the years. Munchkins, Witches and Oz himself (dressed as a wizard of course!) can add variety to the traditional grouping of Dorothy (complete with Toto and basket), Lion, Tinman and Scarecrow. Recent films & musicals (eg Wicked and Oz the Great and Powerful) have concentrated on the ‘back-stories’ to the Oz witches.

TV & Film Characters

Disney Characters - Offer a wide variety of ideas for groups. If you are going to a Hen party and want to go as a group why not check out the range of Disney Princesses? Also many of the costumes in our Disney couples section can be expanded upon and turned into groups.

Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men – We have a great selection of Medieval costumes, including Monks.
• Robin Hood
• Friar Tuck
• Little John
• Maid Marion
• Will Scarlett

Snow White
• Snow White
• Wicked Queen
• Dwarf – There are seven of course, but in the original story they were not named. It was Walt Disney’s 1937 film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs which named them Happy, Dopey, Sneezy, Grumpy, Doc, Sleepy & Bashful.

Scooby Doo and the Mystery Machine gang
• Daphne
• Fred
• Scooby Doo
• Scrappy Doo
• Shaggy
• Velma

Star Wars Characters
The original six films lacked many female characters, but now Disney has taken over the franchise, this may change with the new films.
• Darth Vader
• Darth Maul
• Princess Leia
• Queen/Padme Amidala
• Jedi Knight (Luke Skywalker or Obi-Wan Kenobi)
• Stormtrooper
• Bobba Fett, the bounty hunter

Historical Characters
Greek or Roman Gods & Goddesses
Medieval
Tudors
Georgians
Victorians
Gangsters & Molls
Teddy Boys & Girls

Musical Connections
Abba – Thanks to the popularity of 1970s parties and the film Mamma Mia there are a huge amount of Abba style costumes for both males and females. For those males who don’t want to go too far over the top, the white suit can be popular.
Beatles – 1963/4 – Grey Beatles suit and wig or Sergeant Pepper uniform & longer hair for late 1960s. Paul McCartney (Blue with gold frogging) (John Lennon (Yellow with gold frogging) George Harrison (Red with gold frogging and red tricorn) Ringo Starr (Pink with military-style peaked hat)
• Bucks Fizz – The classic look is from the Eurovision hit ‘Making Your Mind Up’. White trousers and coloured sweatshirts/jumpers for the two males. Long skirt (with short skirt underneath) and coloured sweatshirts/jumpers for the two girls.
• Kiss – The four characters are Catman, Demon, Spaceman and Starchild.
• Slade – 1970s group famous for their outrageous stage costumes. Costumes for the Lead singer Noddy Holder are around. Other members – Dave Hill (glittery space suit), Jim Lea (red glittery 1970s suit) & Don Powell (1970s jumpsuit).
• Spice Girls – Geri (Union Jack Dress & Ginger wig), Scary (Leopard print two piece & curly wild wig), Baby (Blonde wig with pigtails and dress), Sporty (Tracksuit) & Posh (Tight black dress & dark straight Victoria Beckham wig)
• Supremes – Glittery long dresses or matching sixties style outfits, with high bouffant beehive wigs.
• Village People – An opportunity to get out the uniforms collection. Policeman, Native American, Construction worker, Soldier, Cowboy & Leatherman (Biker).

 

1960s Costume Ideas

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1960s Costume Ideas

Because ‘decades’ do not sit in nice ten-year segments, many of the costumes and accessories that work for the 1960s, can also feature in the early 1970s. Of course, rising trends of the late 1950s developed and/or evolved during the 1960s.

The early part of the decade saw the continued influence of American music styles based on Rock n Roll and Jazz. Equally strong, however were the UK ‘home-grown’ genres such as Skiffle. Britain’s own take on rock ‘n’ roll would later evolve into the unique sound often known as ‘Mersey Beat’ but in fact featuring musicians from many other cities, each with an individual style.

The late 1950s had seen the growth of social rebellion amongst the young, fuelled by young adults with a disposable income and disinclination to dress like their parents. As the 1960s progressed fashion became both colourful and daring as skirts became shorter to reveal the existence of legs and males embraced a more unconventional style of dress, from pseudo militaria to flower-power.

The evolution of television, with more channels (and in colour) and the outbreak of pirate radio, following the lead of Radio Luxembourg and breaking the BBC stranglehold on listening habits, also helped promote the social upheavals of the Sixties.

We have tried to split the 60s down into different sections (see list on the left navigation) to provide you with lots of Sixties costume inspiration…

Disney Fancy Dress Theme Ideas

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Disney is one of those costume themes that goes on and on and is as popular as it has ever been. With the Disney corporation adding many more global names to their very successful franchise, hosting a Disney fancy dress party gives you, and your guests a huge choice of possible fancy dress costumes.

This is such a huge costume theme, we have split it down into smaller sections (you can see these on the left hand navigation) with many of these sub-sections large enough to be the main fancy dress theme itself.

Some Disney characters may make appearances in more than one sub-theme.

When it comes to Disney Costume Ideas, where do you start?

In recent years you may have noticed that there has been a radical increase in the number of Disney costumes on the adult market. At one time there was a saying that “You don’t mess with the Mouse” and that still holds true when it comes to copyright issues.  However, Disney has expanded its range of costumes, so that now it can be difficult to decide on what or who you want to be.

Here are a few suggestions…

Disney Animals
Cats, Dogs, Lions, Tigers – Disney has used all sorts of animals in its  movies, even using animals as humans in a version of Robin Hood. For inspiration, try looking at some of the characters from Disney adapted stories such as the Jungle Book, Winnie The Pooh,101 Dalmations.

Disney Characters
There are some characters in Disney who do not fit the mould                                                        when it comes to Heroes, Villains, Princesses and Princes Characters such as Pinocchio, Dumbo, Pocahontas, Sully, Mad Hatter, Alice, Harry Potter, Roger Rabbit, Captain Jack                                                           Sparrow, etc..

Disney Couples
Core Characters such as Mickey and Minnie Mouse or Donald and Daisy Duck. Characters from Toy Story such as Mr & Mrs Potato Head or Bo Peep and Woody or ones from some of the adapted stories such as Peter Pan and Tinkerbell.

Disney Fairy Tales
Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White are just some of the                                                         classic Fairy Tales that Disney have made their own.  There are a                                                  fantastic selection of Disney Princesses, but also a number of                                                         other characters, both minor and major that you can go as.

Disney Heroes & Heroines –   Aside from the classic fairy tales, there are a number of other heroes and heroines in the Disney stable. From Buzz Lightyear  and Woody to Peter Pan and Tinkerbell.

Disney Villains & Villainesses – There are a whole host of people to choose from when it  comes to the evil set.  From Captain Hook to Cruella de Vil, from Dr.Facilier (Princess & The Frog) to the Wicked Stepsisters  from Cinderella.

Disney Couple Costumes
When going to a fancy dress party, some couples prefer to be recognised as a twosome.  Naturally there are some Disney costumes that lend themselves to being couples, although we have noticed that not too many men want to go as Princes to the various Disney Princesses.

So here are a few other ideas.

  • Donald & Daisy Duck
  • Mickey & Minnie Mouse
  • Princess Tiana and the Frog
  • Bo Peep and Woody
  • Barbie and Ken
  • Mr & Mrs Potato Head
  • Mr & Mrs Incredible

Lesser Known Disney Characters
Here are some of the lesser known Disney characters…

  • Clarabelle Cow
  • Horace Horsecollar – both of these characters are from very early Disney brainstorming inthe 1930s
  • Adella – Mermaid from The Little Mermaid
  • Anastasia Tremaine – Ugly Sister from Cinderella
  • Br’er Bear
  • Br’er Fox
  • Br’er Rabbit
  • Captain John Smith – Pocahontas
  • The Emperor Of China – Mulan
  • Gaston – Beauty & the Beast
  • Jafar – Baddie in Aladdin
  • Merlin – The Sword & The Stone
  • Flora, Fauna & Merryweather – 3 Fairy Godmothers in Sleeping Beauty
  • Mufasa – Lion King
  • Tiger Lily – Indian Princess from Peter Pan – wear an indian squaw costume

Disney Fancy Dress Ideas
When it comes to getting fancy dress ideas for a Disney theme, it’s more a question of where do you stop. You probably already have some thoughts about what a Disney costume will look like, but narrowing the selection down can be a bit of a problem.

You might want to check out some of the ideas in our sub sections such as Disney Fairy Tales – The Classic Tales. If you are going to a hen night you might decide to go as a group, so why not think about going as a selection of Disney Princesses. If that is too cutesy and you are feeling a little wicked why not try a villainess, such as Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, the Wicked Queen from Snow White or even Cruella De Vil. The latter costume is naturally not a traditional fairy tale, but based on the storybook 101 Dalmations by Dodie Smith, which brings us onto other aspects of Disney Fancy Dress.

There are a whole host of adapted books that Disney has brought to the screen. These include The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, Winnie the Pooh by A A Milne and Mary Poppins by R L Travers.

Disney Fancy Dress Outfits
Outfits for some Disney characters are more readily available than others. If you are unsure if an outfit exists and have not found it on the Props & Frocks website or instore, why not contact us?

Sometimes you might have seen a Disney outfit, but when it comes to purchasing or hiring it, you might not be able to find it. This may be due to a number of factors such as licences for particular products expiring or the suppliers being out of stock. Whatever the reason, here at Props & Frocks we aim to offer great service and advice and will help however we can.

You may find some outfits on the internet which are Disneyish in style, but not necessarily under the name of the given character. These are costumes that have been created by manufacturers and are not necessarily to do with Disney. Cruella is a classic example. Dodie Smith’s book 101 Dalmations was there before Disney adapted it and consequently some manufacturers will have used the book as their source of reference for the costume, rather than the Disney films, which can be heavily copyrighted.

Disney Themed Fancy Dress Party
If you are going to a Disney Themed Fancy Dress Party then we have a fantastic selection of costumes for you to choose from. The first question is do you want to go with the traditional characters, such as Snow White, Cinderella, etc.. Or would you rather have something more up-to-date such as Tron, Toy Story, Monsters University, etc..

Now that the Star Wars franchise is also under the Disney umbrella we are noticing an upturn in the fun fancy dress ideas, where people mix and match costumes and ideas to suit.

1980s Costume Ideas

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Welcome to the 80s decade...

The 1980s brought us big hair, huge shoulders, shell suits and mullet wigs. New Romantics were everywhere as were neon coloured leg warmers and leggings. Outlandish colours, the brighter, the better, were the fashion statement of the time.

Props & Frocks stocks a wide range of 80s costumes and accessories including the infamous leg warmers!

Our 80s fancy dress outfits include costumes from famous 80s films such as Top Gun, Freddy Krueger, Supergirl, Superman & Batman.

The 1980’s music scene has also provided us with plenty of scope for 80s costumes including Adam Ant, Boy George & Madonna.

We have split the 80s decade into smaller sections, just have a look through the left navigation areas to find your perfect 80s outfits. As always Props & Frocks offers top quality hire costumes as well as a huge range of costumes & accessories that you can purchase.

1990 Costume Ideas

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90s Costume Ideas

When it comes to dressing up, the 1990s may not be the most popular theme at present, but we are certainly being asked for it more than ever before. For those who want to celebrate the era (perhaps you were born in the 1990s?), here are a few 90s Costume Ideas.

As costume suggestions for the decade can be extremely diverse, as with other featured decades, we have divided our 90s costume ideas into specific categories, such as fashion, leisure, movies, pop stars, TV, etc. It is not an exhaustive list and can no doubt be added to, but here at Props & Frocks, we hope to give you plenty of food for thought. Where possible, we have included dates – certain eras (or people) do not fit comfortably into ten year chunks. This means that costumes & accessories from previous decades, particularly the 1980s, can also feature in the early 1990s. The list is also designed primarily for our British readers but, of course, were happy to help anyone. So look at the left navigation for the various sections to take you back down the 1990’s memory lane.

Leisure activities of the 1990s

Lara Croft – Before the Angelina Jolie films in the 21st century, there was the highly popular video game introduced in 1996. Official costumes are based on this original look.

Millennium Bug Because most computers worked on a dual digit date format, it was thought that the turn of the century to 2000 would create a major computer-crash crisis. It never happened, but perhaps you can create an entity to symbolize this feature of the late 1990s.

Mr Blobby – Originally a character associated with the highly popular Noels House Party TV show, the larger-than-life pink entity took on a stardom of his own.

Sonic the Hedgehog The flagship character of the Sega video gaming system, (counterpart to Nintendos Mario the Plumber).

The Macarena – Knowing the dance moves was the ‘it’ dance craze of the decade

 

Halloween Ideas

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Halloween is still growing in popularity in the UK and is the busiest time for all of us in the fancy dress industry. At Props & Frocks we aim to provide you with the best Halloween costumes, make-up, wigs and decorations.

As well as stocking a great range of fantastic hire Halloween costumes, we also stock a huge range of costumes that you can purchase so you can wear it again next year. With some different accessories, it can be amazing how one costume can be made to look very different.

Halloween would not be Halloween without some spooky decorations and at Props & Frocks we have a huge range of fantastic Halloween decorations and animated characters to help theme your function room. We are happy to give you any advice to make your spooky event go off with a bang!

Whether you are looking to theme an entire room, dress up in a werewolf costume or just need some fake blood for a vampire costume, Props & Frocks is THE place to be seen this Halloween – or order online.

This is such a huge subject, we have split it into various sections (see left navigation) to help you to find exactly what you are looking for.

Let Me Entertain You Costume Ideas

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Let Me Entertain You Costume Ideas

This is a huge theme, and rather than repeating a lot of our costume ideas, this page will provide the links you need to the main costume ideas page for each main section.

You have so many options open to you, just look at whatever you class as entertainment and for each individual that will be completely different. For example, if you find Formula 1 boring, you would not choose a racing driver as your costume option unless you were desperate!.

Take your costume inspiration from:

  • Theatre Shows: Use a Freddie Mercury costume for Well Rock You! We have a huge amount of Musical Costume ideas, but don’t stop at musical theatre, you can also look at plays including all of the ones written by Shakespeare. We have a page full of Shakespeare costume ideas.
  • Television offers a wide range of opportunity. How about the Scooby Doo gang or Only Fools & Horses? We stock a Del Boy and Rodney Masks. For lots more Television costume ideas, click the link.
  • Films provide a huge selection: Freddy Krueger, Wizard of Oz, Twilight Saga we stock a great range of werewolf and vampire costumes and accessories. Films are one of our largest section of costume ideas, our main film section splits down even further to certain film genres including Carry On… & Horror.
  • Pop / Rock Stars: Michael Jackson costumes, Abba outfits, Amy Winehouse etc/etc. another large theme, check out our pop star costume ideas here.
  • Sporting Events – Football, Rugby, Showjumping etc You may feel that this is a little limiting but look at the Sport Costume ideas page
  • Magicians
  • Circus: Our information page is full of Circus costume ideas
  • Colosseum in Rome: Roman Gladiators & lions

Entertainment you can use for your party could include:

  • Karaoke

Songs to play during your Let Me Entertain You fancy dress party…

  • Let Me Entertain You – Robbie Williams
  • The Entertainer  – Scott Joplin
  • Send In The Clowns  – Barbara Streisand
  • That’s Entertainment from the film ‘The Band Wagon’
  • Entertain Me  – Blue
  • Tears Of a Clown  – Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
  • Death Of a Clown The Kinks
  • Ha Ha Said The Clown – Manfred Mann
  • Entrance Of The Gladiators (Traditiona ‘circus’ music)  – Julius Fucik
  • It’s a Kind Of Magic – Queen
  • Do You Believe In Magic? – The Lovin Spoonful
  • Magic Moment – The Drifters
  • Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic – The Police
  • Black Magic Woman – Santana
  • Rockstar  – R Kelly
  • Rockstar – Nickleback
  • Thank You for The Music  – Abba
  • The Entertainer Billy – Joel

1930s Costume Ideas

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The 1930s Costume Ideas

Up until recently, most requests for 1930s costumes here at Props & Frocks have tended to be centred round the Murder Mystery party, or event. However, thanks to the film The Kings Speech and the recently updated TV series of Upstairs Downstairs, this is beginning to change. It is still one of those eras that is difficult as far as costuming and if you cannot get inspiration from the more authentic 1930s ‘look’ why not look at some of our more ‘out of the box’ costume ideas further down this post?

The 1930s is an odd decade, sandwiched between the bright young things of the 1920s and the stark austerity of World War II. It was a decade which, following the 1929 Wall Street Crash in America, saw not only the Great Depression, but also a partial return to the social structure and class system, experienced before the advent of World War I. A major difference between the 1910s & 1930s was the gradual emancipation of women, which meant they were leading more active and busier life-styles. As a consequence, there was a difference in daywear, with more practical outfits being used, whilst for evening wear, the dropped waistline of the flapper decade, was replaced with the natural waistline. Dresses of the period (particularly evening wear) were often made of satin, cut on the bias, and embellished with frills and bows. In the 1930s, costume jewellery in the form of necklaces, brooches and rings was also very popular, as were cigarette holders.

When it comes to costumes, at Props & Frocks we have both day and evening wear for males and females in our hire range. Aside from the dresses, suits, top hat and tails, we also have a range of products to help you carry off the look, including wigs and make-up. The latter was another aspect of life which had become more mainstream during the 1930s, with manufacturers such as Elizabeth Arden and Max Factor becoming household names. In the 1930s, pencil thin eyebrows and lipsticks in pinks and shimmer colours replaced the 1920s flapper look of heavy kohl eyes and bright red lips.

Another fashion trend that became adopted by some women in the 1930s was the wearing of trousers. Nowadays of course, women wearing trousers is an acceptable fashion look, but back in the 1930s and even as late as the early 1970s, it was unacceptable in certain quarters, for females to be donning trousers. Consequently, the film star Marlene Dietrich caused a sensation when she wore a male Top Hat n Tails outfit in the film Morocco in 1930 and she found herself banned by the Chief of Police in Paris when she went out in public in a male-orientated ensemble.

Hats also evolved in the Thirties: The cloche of the 20s developed a popular twin, the toque, a similar tight fitting piece of headwear. Meanwhile, a soft hat with a dented crown, seen in a stage version of a du Maurier novel, took the name of the heroine of the piece, Trilby, (and with an added feather became especially popular with the Germans of both sexes). The 30s also saw a first appearance of the fashion pillbox hat: Garbo wore one in the film As You Desire Me and it generated almost as much enthusiasm as when Jackie Kennedy helped revive the style in the early 1960s.

When it comes to costumes from the 1930s era, the style was very focused on the glamorous look, with some of this being attributed to the increasing popularity of the cinema as a leisure activity. Fashion trends, based on what was being seen on the Silver Screen, started to evolve, with both men and women wanting to copy their screen idols. If you are looking for inspiration on hair and clothes, female stars of the time were Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Greta Garbo, Jean Harlow, Mae West and Shirley Temple. Male icons included Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, James Cagney, Tyrone Power and the Marx Brothers. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were also much emulated, whilst at the other end of the spectrum we have The Brazilian Bombshell Carmen Miranda (who was actually Portuguese), whose extravagant outfits included platform shoes and fruit headdresses!

1930s Films – an ideal place to get some alternative 30s costume ideas…
If you are attending a 1930s party and not particularly wanting to emulate the fashions of the period, the Silver Screen also spawned a number of films, for which costumes are available. These include:

  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • Tarzan
  • Frankenstein
  • Dracula
  • The Mummy
  • Cleopatra (remake)
  • Alice in Wonderland (remake)
  • Adventures of Robin Hood, starring the swash-buckling Errol Flynn
  • Dr. Jekyll & Mr Hyde
  • King Kong
  • Bride of Frankenstein – great for a couple
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame – another great couples costume idea
  • Treasure Island – a chance to wear a pirate costume
  • Gone with The Wind (also a book) – Scarlett O’Hara & Rhett Butler costumes – take a look in our Victorian costume section

Why not go dressed up as Pluto? The planet was discovered in 1930, but dressing up as the Disney character is much more fun!

1930s Books that may help you to choose your costume…

  • Little House On The Prairie
  • The Hobbit
  • Murder On the Orient Express
  • I, Claudius – Gives some Roman Costume options
  • Mary Poppins

Aside from the cinema there were a number of other leisure pursuits that occupied the masses during the 1930s. Whilst private car ownership was still in its early days and out of the reach of the masses, public transport improved opportunities for access to the countryside, which in itself called for some other varieties of clothing styles. For the upper and middle classes, the country gent could be seen during the day in the Norfolk suit or tweed jacket and trousers, whilst changing into a lounge suit or evening dress for dinner.

Whatever your take on the 1930s look, contact us here at Props & Frocks and see how we can help.

1920s Costume Ideas

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1920s Costume Ideas

Most people would automatically think about flapper dresses and gangsters for this particular decade, and indeed, as it is so popular, we have a page dedicated just to Gangsters & Moll costumes. However, there is more to the 20’s than just those costumes. Here are a few more costume ideas that you may decide to use for your costume inspiration and look to the left margin for lots more 1920s costume ideas:

  • Charlie Chaplin – an easy costume to put together, just wear with a black suit, one of our bowler hats, Chaplin Moustache and carry a cane
  • Harry Houdini
  • Mary Astor – go for a glamorous silent movie look
  • Joan Crawford, as above
  • Douglas Fairbanks – famous for his roles in Robin Hood, The Mask of Zorro and the Thief Of Bagdad, why not wear one of these costumes?
  • Al Jolson – not very politically correct but you could dress up in a suit with white gloves and a black up face.
  • Rudolph Valentino – famous actor known for his roles in The Sheik, Son Of The Sheik and The Four Horseman Of The Apocalypse – why not take a look at our Arab costumes?
  • Fred Astaire – wear a black tail suit

 

1910 Costume Ideas

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The 1910s Costume Ideas

When it comes to costumes, the second decade of the 1900s is currently probably one of the least requested decades of the twentieth century here at Props & Frocks. However, with the TV series Downton Abbey and the number of 100th anniversaries of events and locations due to take place in the next few years, this particular period is likely to become more fashionable when it comes to fancy dress.

When requesting costumes from this era, most people will tend to ask us for Edwardian Costumes, although King Edward VII actually died in Spring 1910 (May 6). Technically, 1910 saw the start of the reign of King George V and his wife Queen Mary (Queen Elizabeth IIs grandparents), but the Edwardian influence of the previous decade was still very much in evidence.

For females, whilst the hour glass figure had been popular in the previous decade, the start of the 1910s saw increased popularity of the hobble skirt (so-named as it only allowed wearers to take very small steps, due to the width of the hemline). Hats were also extremely popular, and the continued use of fur and feathers were very much in evidence. For upper-class males, it was still a case of dressing for dinner, with the informal lounge suits, being replaced by three piece tail-suits.

Despite the changes in the Victorian and Edwardian periods, the 1910s still saw inequality between the various social classes, and it was also the heyday of the womens suffrage movement. Costume requests from this period may involve people wanting some form of domestic service uniform. Servants often came from the lower classes, but there was a recognized social structure, even amongst the working classes, with scullery maids at the bottom and the housekeeper and butler at the top. Typical uniform requests from this period are for nurses, maidservants, nannies, chauffeurs, butlers and cooks.

The other type of uniform request received here at Props & Frocks – particularly pertinent to this decade – is the military option, where First World War uniforms are required. Military uniforms can be difficult to obtain at the best of times, and this period saw a change in the colour and style of outfits. Up until August 1914, colourful uniforms such as the red of the Infantry and the dark blue of the Royal Horse Guards and Royal Artillery had been much in evidence. However, the outbreak of a war primarily fought entrenched on battlefields, required a more practical and sensible approach, and these coloured uniforms were superseded by the khaki look, as the latter made soldiers a less easy target.

The advent of the Great War meant a gradual change in clothing of the period, which by the end of the decade resulted in a much more relaxed attitude to fashion styles. With so many men-folk being called-up and, sadly, not returning, women began to take a more proactive role and required greater freedom of movement, than the narrow skirts and corsets at the start of the century allowed. The more radical even began to adopt the androgynous styles which would become a feature of the next decade. The war also meant a change from the opulence of the early part of the decade to a more practical type of dress, which, by the end of the decade, also saw the hemlines rise in preparation for the start of the 1920s.

If you are dressing up as a character from this decade, perhaps for a Murder Mystery or an anniversary event, here are a few things you might like to know:-

  • Corsets and stays were used to create the hour glass figure at the start of the 1910s.
  • The hobble skirt was a popular fashion look between 1910 & 1913.
  • Gloves were very important for both men and women (and were worn when out and about during the day. The ladies would wear long gloves, with their evening meals).
  • Hats would have been worn by both males and females.
  • It would not be until the 1920s that ready-to-wear mass market clothing could be seen.

Colour Costume Ideas

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Using a colour as a theme for your fancy dress party is an easy way of getting a diverse range of costumes. A coloured theme can be chosen for a special country day where it is usual for the colours of the country’s flag as the base for costumes, or it may just be a colour that is chosen at random.

Some costumes are obviously more suited to a certain colour, for example a ladybird , or devil costume for red, and an angel for white. Morphsuits are also ideal for this type of costume theme. These come in a range of colour options, as well as specific characters.

It is also possible to wear coloured wigs, eyemasks and hats to join in the chosen colour theme and it is ideal as it suits people with all budgets.

We have split the main colours into smaller sections so take a look at the various colours (in the left navigation) that we are looking at in more costuming detail

Character Costume Ideas

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We are often asked for a character to dress up as, for a fancy dress party.

There are two types of fancy dress costumes, generic ones and specific named characters. The first are usually associated with general types of themes, such as pirates, western, the various twentieth century decades such as Gangsters & Hippies etc., where the emphasis is on individuals turning up in similar costumes to add atmosphere to an event. Character Costumes on the other hand are designed so that they should be immediately recognisable, whether its a film characters such as Jack Sparrow or The Mad Hatter, or cartoon personality such as Bart Simpson.Interest in a particular costume will vary from month to month. Much will depend upon what is in the media. Sometimes a particular news story can generate interest in a specific character. This could be a celebrity dressing up; a campaigner wanting to get their point across; or a specific costume highlighted at a sporting event. Anything can capture the public imagination, and half the challenge is being able to obtain the costume when you want it..

Many character costumes are subject to licensing laws (although not all of them are). This means that only one official costume may be available for a given character. Some companies may choose to ‘enhance’ the official costume, perhaps providing additional accessories to give added value to the core product. Licenses can take some time to obtain, and often, Licensed costumes are not around in time for the release of a new film and can literally ‘miss the boat’ as some costumes only have a limited shelf life.

The licensing of these costumes does limit what you will find legally available to purchase, and causes fancy dress suppliers numerous problems, quality, sizing and price being the key ones. Companies that sell, or advertise ‘fakes’ are liable to be prosecuted in the courts.

Sizing
It is very difficult to advise a customer that a particular character costume is available only in a standard male size (about a chest 42/44″) if they need a different size. This is why you will find ‘copies’ or a costume that is similar on the market, purely to allow people to have a choice of a wider sizing range.

Costs
The companies who ‘own’ the costume license pay a substantial price for the privilege to produce a particular character costume for general sale. This initial cost is recouped by these companies charging more money for these ‘licensed’ products. A Licensed character costume will generally cost more than a generic costume.

Quality
Although, this is now improving there is a general feeling that these costumes do cost far more than a generic costume, yet the quality does not always represent the additional cost.

To make your life a bit easier, we have split this costume category into men’s, women’s and children’s, and in some instances they will split down even further. There may be some overlap in certain areas between categories but this is intentional to help to make your costume choice easier.

So take a look at the main categories (on the left) and find your perfect character costume.

Royalty Costume Ideas

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We have found an increase with the amount of Royalty costume themed fancy dress parties over the last few years mainly due to Prince Williams’ marriage to Kate Middleton and of course, The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

You can use a general Royalty theme, or you can split it into:

  • Kings & Queens
  • Prince & Princesses

There are obvious overlaps between these two themes, but each do give an interesting array of costumes to choose from.

Our costume suggestions for each of these themes are found to the left of this post, whether you group them as one theme is entirely up to you.

Animation Costume Ideas

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Animated films have always been popular with children, just think about Disney’s Snow

White & the Seven Dwarves -the first sound, and colour, animated feature film. although there are many animated films aimed towards children, Shrek & Toy Story, there is also a growing animated film genre aimed more towards adults with films such as Avatar.

The costume choices for animated films are huge and it can be used as a fancy dress them on its own. We have had to split this subject down even further as some films have so many potential costume ideas. The list below gives you a good overview of animated films, some of these have so many characters they warrant their own page, look at the list on the left for a list of some of these animated films in more detail.

Avatar A blockbuster film of 2009, the story of the Navi, their planet Pandora and their conflict with invading mining colonists from Earth proved hugely popular. The costumes took a little time coming (although it is said there will be a sequel) and the blue skinned look is not for everybody (unless youre a Smurf) but at least its distinctive.

Beauty & the Beast Belle is the heroine and wears a poor peasant dress at the start and a beautiful golden gown at the end. the beast wear a blue tailcoat and black trousers, possibly use a werewolf mask to adapt for the beast’s head.

Pinocchio – The story of a puppet that comes to life. Hire costume only for adults, packaged costume available to purchase for children

Dumbo – elephant costume. Film released in 1941

Alice in Wonderland – ful lof interesting characters, look at our Alice in Wonderland page for more costume details

Cinderella- another Disney classic. Take a look at our dedicated

Cinderella page for more costume details

Peter Pan – another Disney classic. Take a look at our dedicated Cinderella page for more costume details

The Adventures of TinTin

Jack & The Beanstalk – wear a Robin Hood style costume for Jack

Aladdin

Toy Story A franchise story about toys that come to life. The first film was released in 1995. Characters include; Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Mr & Potato Head, Bo Peep, Slinky Dog. Some licensed Toy Story costumes are available.

Jack Skellington & Sally From Tim Burtons The Nightmare Before Christmas, a popular pair of animated actors, especially around Halloween! Variations on Jacks costume include different types of mask and Sallys outfit may also be offered in different levels of complexity.

Kung Fu Panda The unlikely hero of this popular martial arts cartoon

feature is soon to be seen again with his companion Furious Four kung-fu masters in 2011.

Little Mermaid (Disney 1989 film). Based on the story by Hans Christian Anderson who wrote the original fairy tale of the same name. Ariel, the lead character is a mermaid with red long hair. Only an official girls costume is available although there are many other mermaid costumes available that could be used.

Monsters Inc. This popular film 2001 from Pixar about the lives of the monsters who live under your bed, in closets etc is set to return for a sequel in late 2012. Thus we can enjoy the further adventures of Mike, Sulley & co. First time around, costumes were only made for children perhaps itll be different next year.

Monsters v. Aliens One of the first animated features to make us of the new 3D technology, Monsters v Aliens (2010) involves a group of monsters (including Ginormica, a bride who became a giantess following a meteor accident) kept under cover by the US military until the Earth is threatened by an alien master-mind and his giant robot. (They also battled some mutant pumpkins, but thats a different story). A Ginormica costume (complete with car shoes) was available at the time the film was current.

Cars Costumes for the Small Set only here! The first Cars film was a

surprise hit, with very little costume merchandise made available but you should find that a few outfits albeit made within the limits of child safety standards should be available for the new Cars film later this year (2011).

Shrek & Fiona Once simple book characters, now major stars of four films, the ogres Shrek and Fiona have certainly made a great impression on fans of all ages. Costumes have been available in the past but following the release of Shrek 4, the licence seems to have been withdrawn, possibly in preparation for the forthcoming Puss-in-Boots spin-off. There are so many other cartoon characters that make appearances in Shrek that you should read our information page that is full of costume ideas for Shrek

The Smurfs Smurfs, small blue gnome-like creatures in white hats, were Franco-Belgian in origin and originally appeared in the late 1950s. However they gained popularity worldwide and this reached a peak in the 1980s when they had their own cartoon series, were in the pop charts and, in Britain, even helped promote petrol. Although they never really went away, with smurf-style costumes offered from several sources, their popularity may increase again with a forthcoming live-action/CBI film featuring Katy Perry as the voice of Smurfette!

Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs (Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy, Dopey & Doc). Although Snow White existed as a book character beforehand, Disney has very much made Snow White their own. The Snow White costume look and the names of the dwarfs are copyright, but costumes for Snow White and masks for the dwarfs are now on the market.

Tron The futuristic film which was ahead of its time on its first outing and made full use of CGI in its recent sequel, even though some felt the official costumes arent all they could be!

Wallace & Gromit Inspired by the pioneering Morph, Wallace and Gromit an inventor and his long-suffering side-kick/dog have achieved fame and Academy Award success with their exploits and adventures. Official costumes can be found in Britain and on some international markets.

Cartoon Character Costume Ideas

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This is a very popular fancy dress theme and is so vast we have split it into three different sections:

  • Animated Films – this section grows year on year with films such as Toy Story & Shrek
  • Comic Book Characters – full of your old favourites including Batman but there are also some new kids on the block!
  • Cartoons – Think back to your favourite cartoon characters on the telly from your childhood and I am sure Tom & Jerry and Scooby Doo come into your mind.

So browse the 3 sections (from the list on the left) to get your costume inspiration for your Cartoon Character Fancy dress party…

Book Character Costume Ideas

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Book Character Costumes is a great fancy dress theme for adults and children alike.Book Character Fancy Dress ideas

Many schools now have a day,or week, dedicated to encourage children to read books. World Book Day is in early March, and National Book Week is held early October, although many schools will fit their own ‘Book week’ in during a more suitable time for them at some point throughout the year. Children,and teachers, are encouraged to wear book character costumes during the school day, making it really fun for all concerned.

A Book Character Fancy Dress is always popular because many of the costumes are instantly recognisable when being worn.

We have split this huge section into 3 sections (choose from the list on the left):

  • Book Characters
  • Nursery Rhyme Characters
  • Comic Book Characters

 

European Costume Ideas

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If you are looking for costumes ideas for an European country, this is where you will find them. Ideal if you are attending, or hosting, a Eurovision party.

This section splits down further into actual countries- just look at the categories on the left.

Why not allocate guests a specific country and ask them to bring some food and / or drink that is associated with that country?

Put up European country flags to decorate your room and play various National Anthems during the evening. If guests know it is their National Anthem (what they have dressed up as) they get a prize, or if they don’t, they get a forfeit (may be more fun!!)

American Costume Ideas

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American Costume Ideas – Overview

American Independence Day (the US National Day) is on July 4th and thus there is a strong likelihood that America could crop up as a theme idea. The theme, like the county itself, offers vast potential. so in order to channel your thoughts we have selected a few sub-themes and suggestions.

American Icons
The leading icons are probably The Statue of Liberty and Uncle Sam. Though the American Bald Eagle might come in a close third, a costume for this is not quite so readily available. When thinking about US Presidents, apart from the present incumbent, Barack Obama and those that are in living memory, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are probably the main two former Presidents that might be recognisable, if anyone nowadays wants to dress up as them?

More accessible costumes and symbols of the American Dream, might include the Marvel creation Captain America(a Miss Captain America is now also available), the Cheerleader (which continues to be extremely popular, because of High School Musical, Grease and Glee), the American Footballer and the 1950s Diner Waitresses (on roller skates as an extra challenge).

Wild West
Indians (or Native Americans) are now less fashionable than they used to be for Wild West parties, but for those who want to be different, at Props & Frocks we do stock a range of costumes, jewellery, bows and arrows and other accessories.

Cowboys still tend to be one of the most popular costumes for Wild West parties. Cowgirls are possibly less so as there are fewer female role models (Annie Oakley and Doris Day springs to mind, and some might remember Cat Balou (Jane Fonda) from the Sixties). Country and Western singers, such as Dolly Parton have also given the cowgirl a more glitzy image that that portrayed by Doris Day as Calamity Jane. However, when faced with this theme, many females now tend to gravitate more to the saloon-girls style fashions, which we have in a range of colours and concepts.

Western is often used as a fancy dress theme in it’s own right, so take a look here for lots more Western or Wild West Costume ideas

Las Vegas
Las Vegas is a bit of a cheat, because whilst sheltering under the American theme, you can then use the wide range of Casino Resorts in this City of Light in the Nevada Desert as an excuse for a range of other non-American costumes. Obviously you have already got the Wild West covered (you are virtually in it in Las Vegas as Arizona is just next door). In Vegas they have very thoughtfully put together a version of the essence of New York, with its own scaled down statue

of Liberty, for the benefit of those who cannot be bothered to fly to the East Coast. However other world cities are also represented here such as Paris and Venice (with a canal which is a lot bluer than the real thing and several storeys above street level).They have not quite got round to capturing the essence of the England of nowadays, but you can usefully choose costumes from our range of medieval outfits to represent Olde England as seen in the Excalibur resort. Also possible are Pirates (at Treasure Island), Circus Characters (at Circus Circus) and an entire range of film characters (notably those from The Wizard of Oz) at the MGM Grand. More in depth information on Vegas will be available in our forthcoming specialist information sheet.

Las Vegas is often used as a fancy dress theme in it’s own right, so take a look here for lots more Las Vegas Costume ideas

New Orleans
Aside from being the birthplace of Jazz,New Orleans is one of the major world centres for Mardi Gras and Carnival, with green, gold and purple being the three predominant colours. Well known for its French Quarter and its connections with Voodoo, which were epitomised in the James Bond film Live and Let Die it has a unique feel and is an interesting take on an American theme. Obviously the citys encounter with Hurricane Katrina caused major damage and heartache to the inhabitants, but their spirit lives on and the Good Times continue to roll.

Hollywood
A Hollywood theme is synonymous with a movies event, but in deference to the American theme, you might want to concentrate on US film stars such as Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean or movies with an obvious American back-story such as Gone With The Wind. The latter gives females the opportunity to be a Southern Belle, whilst males can either look dashing in a Confederate or Union Soldiers uniform, or model themselves on Rhett Butler. Other Hollywood films also putting men in uniform include GI Blues, Top Gun and An Officer and a Gentleman.

Hollywood is often used as a fancy dress theme in it’s own right, so take a look here for lots more Hollywood Costume ideas

We hope we have given you a few additional ideas for your American theme event. The above is just a small sample of some of the costumes and accessories that Props and Frocks can offer and you might have your own ideas. Red/white and blue are the obvious colour choices for this theme, and aside from the costumes and accessories mentioned above, we also stock red, white and blue bunting, make-up and hair colours. So, come and have a chat and see what we can do to help.

Around The World

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Around The World Costume Theme

In this section we look at fancy dress parties that have countries as their theme. Whether you are looking at the entire world including the polar regions, a specific continent such as Europe, or even a particular country, take a look at the left navigation bar and you will be able to find all the information that you will need.

This fancy dress theme could also be called:

  • Countries
  • Eurovision (just look at the countries that are allowed to take part)
  • Nationalities

During any given year, there are times when costumes representing countries of the world, might come in useful. The first obvious example is one of the many National days around the year. Here in Britain, we have the opportunity to celebrate England (April 23rd – St George’s Day and Shakespeare’s birthday), Wales (March 1st - St. David’s Day) and Scotland (November 30th – St Andrew’s Day), plus, of course, Ireland on March 17th (St. Patrick’s Day). We might equally well choose to celebrate the French National holiday on July 14th or American Independence Day on July 4th. Also, once a year, the Eurovision Song Contest may inspire a European based national costumed theme event (despite Britain’s recent lack of success).

When choosing a costume to represent a country, you are not necessarily opting for the official national costume as such. (No-one seems quite sure what the national costume of England is – a Morris Man or a Beefeater seem the main choices). It needs to be a costume that epitomises the country, even if it may be something of affair stereotype. No one seriously imagines that all German males wear lederhosen breeches, but it is an iconic and popular look. Similarly, very few Australians have probably had cause to make use of a hat with dangling corks, but many party-goers would consider it an integral part of an Aussie costume. We hope that we do not offend anyone, but it is meant to be a bit tongue in cheek!

Here are a few suggestions for Countries of the World

  • Morris Dancer or Beefeater to represent England
  • French Maid, Moulin Rouge Dancer, Frenchman or Gendarme for France
  • Matador or Flamenco Dancer representing Spain
  • Germany – Lederhosen and Bavarian hat. The female equivalent is the dirndl skirt (sometimes spelled dirndle).
  • Venetian – We stock a wide variety of Venetian style masks, and this can be teamed with a hooded cloak or cape and hat (the tricorn style works well).
  • Italy/Roman – Aside from the Venetian (above) or a Gangster (for the Mafia), Italy may be best represented by Togas or the Gladiator Costumes of Ancient Rome.
  • Greece – As with Italy, Greece may be represented by Togas (unless you favour the Demis Roussos-style robes).
  • Egyptian – Fezes and colourful Arabian-style robes may be used, or again, you can opt for the Cleopatra/Neferetiti/Pharoah look.
  • Arabia – Arabian Sheiks and Belly Dancers may be an obvious stereotype, but they can add the exotic element of Eastern Promise.
  • India – Standing between the Middle East (Arabia/Egypt) and the Oriental Far East of China, Japan, etc. India offers opportunities for Saris, Dhotis and Lungis, although you can also look to Bollywood for further costume ideas.
  • China – The traditional stereotype look is the two-piece silk tunic and trouser outfit with the shallow pointed Chinese hat (sometimes with an integrated pigtail). An alternative is the fitted and elegant Cheongsam.
  • Japan – Popular characters are the Geisha (elegant and the make-up, though elaborate and requiring some time/effort, is worth the effort), the black-clad Ninja or the more elaborate Samurai.
  • America – Like Britain, a single American national costume is difficult to define: One can choose the patriotic Uncle Sam or Lady Liberty (or Statue of Liberty) outfits. Alternatively, an American footballer or Cheerleader can work, as can Cowboys/Girls and Native American outfits. For a simple option, use  Hawaiian Shirts.
  • Canada – Unless you can find a Beaver outfit (there are some on the market, but they tend to be the non-party friendly mascot style), the choice is a Canadian Mountie.
  • Mexico – Aside from the Mexican Poncho & Sombrero approach, there are, uniquely, some food costume options such as the Taco, the Tequila bottle or the Chilli Pepper.
  • Latin America – Aside from ponchos (as used by gouchos on the pampas), Latin America is usually portrayed with dance costumes in the Latin/Spanish style – Flamenco, Brazilian, Rumba or Salsa or characters such as Carmen Miranda. With the Olympics and World Cup in prospect, some may choose the Brazilian football kit option, or our Rumba Man costume
  • Caribbean – Possibly the best known of the Caribbean countries is Jamaica, with its dreadlock Rastafarian look or Bob Marley-style outfits. For an alternative colourful look, how about the carnival costumes of Trinidad & Tobago.
  • Russia – Choices here probably involve fur-hatted Cossacks or the peasant-like Baboushkas.
  • Australian – As mentioned above, the stereotype image is the Outbacker in a safari-suit and corked hat. Alternatively you can choose characters such as Dame Edna Everage or Crocodile Dundee.If you can’t settle on a particular country, why not go as a Tourist? There are a few OTT designs on the market, or you can improvise your own using items you have picked up on your own travels.Further alternatives are Animals from particular Countries. Bon voyage.

1950s Costume Ideas

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The 1950s is often seen as a really great theme for a costume party or other event. Here are a few ideas for 1950s-orientated costumes, with a little background information. Just look at the left navigation as we break this rock and roll decade down into the main areas of Fashion, Music, Television and Films as this decade is a little diverse!.

The selection is not comprehensive or over detailed, but it may help give you some guidelines on how to work with the 1950s fancy dress theme.

In the UK, the 1950s may have started as a decade of austerity and rationing thanks to the aftermath of the Second World War, but it did not end up that way. The ten years from 1950 onwards, saw many social and cultural changes, to lead Prime Minister Harold Macmillan in 1959 to say that you’ve never had it so good! The American influence was everywhere, from music styles based on Rock n Roll and Jazz, to trends in radio and television.

Equally strong, however were the UK home-grown genres such as Skiffle and influences from the continent. The late 1950s saw the growth of social rebellion amongst the youth population, fuelled by young adults who now had their own disposable income and no wish to follow in their parents footsteps, in terms of dress and social activities.

Animals Costume Theme

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Animals Costume Theme
Animals as a general fancy dress theme does give you a great variety of costumes to choose from. And, if you don’t fancy dressing up in a complete animal costume, you always have the choice of wearing one of our fabulous animals overhead masks or face bops. We also stock a range of animal parts such as hands, feet and tails so that you can create your own animal look, or accessorise a catsuit, morphsuit or onesie.

When choosing an animal costume, there are several decisions to be made beyond just what animal to be, and some of the choices may be limited by what is available on the market.

First decision – fur or fabric?  Most animal costumes might be expected to be fur-based and indeed many are, but some come in fleece or fabric and this might be relevant if you anticipate wearing the outfit in a warm environment. As a general rule, fur-based may cost more but offers a better look and in fact some costumes with ‘long fur’ may be cooler than those with short fur or fleece, as the pile density is not so intense.

Second decision – animal overhead mask or make-up? Most off-the-peg costumes will come with a full-face overhead mask which gives a better overall ‘authenticity’ to the outfit but can create something of a problem when it comes to eating, drinking and seeing where you are going (or speaking your lines if you are in a play). Some outfits may offer ‘half-face’ options which leave the lower face free, others may have the animal’s head worn on top of the wearer’s head but the usual alternative to the overhead mask is a balaclava in matched fur/fabric leaving the face free with the option to create a face-paint design. Some animal designs are easier than others – cats, dogs, lions, tigers etc. are not too difficult, but others such as horses and birds can be more of a challenge! Sometimes there is help in the form of novelty prosthetic noses or beaks, but occasionally you just have to improvise or use your imagination.

Here are a few ideas for animals you can be:-

  • Cats – Black cats are particularly popular around Halloween, as is Catwoman
  • Dogs such as Scooby Doo or various breeds (Boxers, Bulldogs and Dalmatians)
  • Bats – what about a Batman or Batgirl costume?
  • Mouse
  • Rabbit
  • Pig
  • Kermit the Frog
  • Chicken
  • Gorilla
  • Lion
  • Tiger
  • Parrot
  • Ride-on Emu or Ostrich – hire only
  • Pantomime Cow, Horse or Camel (one and two person versions can be found, although the two-person types may not be practical in some party situations) – Hire only
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle
  • Butterflies and Insects (some might contest ‘Insects’ as ‘Animals’)

Sometimes an animal costume theme is made more specific, so take a look at the list (on the left) which will give you lots of animal theme options. We have even got some examples of animal songs to play during your event…

So are you going to be a party animal? With Props & Frocks, you certainly can!

Alphabet Fancy Dress Theme

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Letter Related Parties

Giving your guests a letter as a costume theme is quite common and can make for some very interesting ideas for costumes. You have a few options…

  • Allow guests to dress up in a costume related to their initials (or just first name if you want to narrow their choices)
  • Ask guests to dress up in costumes related to your initials
  • Choose 1 or 2 letters that they have to find a related costume for.

To be honest, when you first send out your invitations, many of your guests will be very confused as to what you are asking. We would suggest that in the invitation you do give them a good explanation. If your guests are confused, they may not even attempt to dress up, or worse, not bother to attend your party.

I would include some costume suggestions for various letters, just to get their brain cells working a bit. If you really want to help, why not print out this page, or share it with your friends on Twitter, or Facebook. so you have a complete A-Z list of possible costumes.

We have costume ideas for the entire alphabet, and think of new potential costumes all the time. We’d love to know what costume you would dress up as, or any other costume ideas you may have. Why not drop us a line?

Now, we are not saying that we stock everything on these lists,but we hope our information on all of these costume ideas for a letter fancy dress party will give you inspiration. We will provide links, where more detailed information may be available to help you even further.

1970s Costume Ideas

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70s Costume Ideas

Quite often a 70s themed party will be linked with either the 60s or the 80s. There is particularly a fashion overlap with the 60s at the beginning of the decade. For the purpose of these pages each decade will be looked at separately and go into far more detail.

If you look to the left list, we have looked at various 1970s areas to give you as much costume inspiration as we can.

Hopefully, this page will show you how diverse the 70s decade actually was in the way of fashion. A 70s fancy dress party, does not need to be boring, read on and get some great costume inspiration…

1970s Flares
Bell Bottomed (or flared trousers) were only worn by sailors until the late 60s and then became very popular during the 1970s. The Oxford English Dictionary first mentions Flares in 1964. Flares were worn by both male and females, with many people decorating their own.

Flares can be purchased separately or as part of a costume. In the 70s, flares were worn shorter than they are today. In fact the flare would often stop at the ankle, showing off the footwear.

70s Hippy Costumes
Although mainly thought of as a 60s fashion style, hippies were still popular in the early 70s. There are lots of benefits to choosing to wear a hippy costume.

      • They tend to be very comfortable to wear and are not too hot.
      • They do not show off any flesh you’d rather not have on display.
      • They are suitable for both men and women
      • Many styles available to suit all different figures. At one time, it was difficult to purchase a fancy dress costume if you were a larger size. I am pleased to say that suppliers have at long last realised this fact and larger sizes are now widely available
      • There are fantastic accessories that can be purchased such as wigs, giant spliffs, peace medallions and wacky weed.

1970s Music

During the 1970s, music was probably the greatest influence on fashion, with many followers of particular groups wanting to dress in similar outfits. The decade saw the rise of ‘Glam Rock’ with artists such as Slade, Roy Wood & Wizzard, Marc Bolan & T Rex, Elton John and David Bowie all creating their own unique styles. Aside from costumes, make-up also became extremely popular during the early seventies, particularly those male stars wishing to develop a striking image. For the ‘teeny bopper’ generation, groups such as The Osmonds (white suits with black shirts) and Bay City Rollers (bell bottom stage suits with tartan trim) were much copied.

Glam Rock

Think Glam Rock and you will immediately think of the 70s. Tight lycra jumpsuits, sequins and platforms. Glam Rock first started about 1973 and had reached its peak by 1975 and was taken over by the punk movement in 1977. Glam Rock allowed both men and women to wear outlandish colours, sequins and make up. The pop stars of the day Marc Bolan, David Bowie & Mick Jagger realised that ‘sex sells’ and exploited it to the full.
Jumpsuits are a risk to purchase without being able to try them on. If your body is too long, you will find that what is on show is more than you bargained for! Many suppliers are now selling two piece items that are far more flexible.

Also, bear in mind that lycra is designed to fit fairly snugly. So be honest with yourself, do you have the body that this style will suit? Look at the model in the picture, even if the costume states it is suitable for a size 18, the model may only be a size 10. Will the design still suit your particular body shape?

Do not worry if maybe lycra is not your thing. Ladies can still wear A line dresses. Many are available for all sizes, just stay away from black and white designs that are more 60s. Men can wear a pair of flares and a frilled shirt and have a great 70s look.

Teddy Boys
In the mid- 1970’s a return to the Edwardian era took place, with Laura Ashley prints and Edwardian high-neck blouses making a comeback for the ladies. This look was all about a natural, floaty, feminine look and was worn with little or no make-up. The Teddy Boy jacket (originally named after Edward VII) made another appearance but this time using brightly coloured and glittery fabrics. Bands such as Showaddywaddy and Mud took this look on as their own.

1970s Pimps, Suits and Frilled Shirts
Pimp costumes are very popular choice for a 70s themed party. Available in many various styles, most fabrics tend to be velvet or fur print. Pimps are not strictly a 70s phenomenon and have evolved from exaggerated film characters. Even so, pimps are one of the most popular 1970s costumes for men.

Pimp costumes are available in many sizes and to suit various budgets. Pimp costumes are just great to accessorise. There is just so much choice from wigs, moustaches, sideburns, rings, medallions, pimp sticks, hats etc… If you love a bit of bling, then the pimp costume is for you!

So, if the men are going as pimps, what can the ladies wear? Well, there are lady pimp suits on the market or you can go as the pimp’s ‘hoe’ or tart! There is plenty of choice on the market in a variety of styles. Add a wig, some knee high, platform boots and eyelashes and you are ready to party the night away!

1970s Fancy dress suits are also available and tend to be in more subtle colours than the pimp costumes. Frilled shirts are available to buy separately. Do take care when buying a cheaper shirt as we have found that they come apart at the seams very easily.

The Punk Phenomenon
Punk hit the world in the mid 70s and things were never going to be the same. Punk was based on anti government and political views and anarchy, basically anything anti-authoritarian. As unemployment was high, young people didnt have the spare money for new outfits, so they adapted their old clothes by tearing jeans, tops and adding safety pins and chains. Vivien Westwood & Malcom Maclaren are generally thought to be the punk pioneers. Punk lasted until the early 80s as a fashion / music trend

There are many punk accessories available on the market that you can purchase to compliment a purchased outfit, or one that you’ve put together at home.

It is very easy to put your own punk outfit together at home. All you need is some ripped jeans, old tops, some safety pins, scrap pieces of tartan (not essential) and maybe some light chains.

        • Rip the jeans even more! Sew pieces of tartan, on the inside to cover some of the holes, so that when you turn them the right way, you can see tartan where the hole is.
        • Leave some holes, as holes. You may want to attach some safety pins to each side of the hole.
        • Link some chain from some safety pins to others.
        • Do exactly the same with your tops.
        • Basically, you can do whatever you want with this fashion statement.

Welcome To Our Decades Costume Ideas Section

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Decades as a fancy dress theme covers the eras from the 1900’s right up to the 00s’. It is such a vast theme so we have split it into 10 years sections, and these sections may also split down into further costume.

Take a look at the list,on the left, to get your costume inspiration

Our aim is to provide you with all the information that you will ever need to host,or attend, a themed fancy dress party. For some themes we may even provide you ideas of songs to play, entertainment to use, and food to provide, as well as costume ideas.

As ever, we are on hand 7 days a week for any questions that you may have.

Star Wars Films

There is a new Star Wars film ‘The Force Awakens’ in the offing December 2015, and some of its secrets were ‘leaked’ by Vanity Fair magazine on May 4th (geddit?). Meanwhile, in London, the Secret Cinema organisation is creating a stir between June and September with its immersive version screenings of ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, even bringing the film back into the popularity charts. It is time for Props & Frocks to look at Star Wars and its characters.

A quick note: The Star Wars universe, like Space itself, is vast, with a great many more characters than are listed here. Even within the Props & Frocksiverse, we cannot necessarily hope to have all characters listed here in stock (some of them you can create yourself and others are not available on the mass-production market). On the flipside, other characters not listed here, notably the leading female character Rey, a scavenger of planet Jakku, may become available and in stock as more about the new Force Awakens film is revealed. We will try to keep you updated.

Anakin Skywalker – Anakin is key to the whole Star Wars saga in ways you can only envisage if you have seen the films. Suffice to say, costume versions of both the young Anakin and his later Jedi persona are generally available.

Asajj Ventress – An evil female sith from the Clone Wars era who clashed many times with the likes of Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. An official costume was produced but can probably now only be found on specialist sites.

Ashoka Ta –  A character seen in the earlier Clone Wars animated episodes. She was a young Jedi padwan (apprentice), hence only childrens’ outfits were/are available. She is notable for distinctive white facial markings.

Aurra Sing - Female albino bounty hunter who trained Boba Fett following the death of his father. Seen briefly in Phantom Menace and may reappear in a future movie.

Boba Fett - Bounty hunter and son of Jango Fett, has made regular appearances throughout the Star Wars story.

Cad Ban   – A ruthless bounty hunter ‘gun for hire’ seen in the Clone Wars series. Wears a distinctive wide brimmed hat. Child costumes only available.

Chewbacca – The Wookiee warrior and co-pilot on Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon starship. The trailer for the new film confirms the return of this popular character.

Commander Cody – (Clone Trooper) A character derived from the Clone Wars series, and currently one of the few adult outfits on the market from that series. (Must be the Stormtrooper thing).

Darth Maul – The villainous Sith of the Phantom Menace prequel film. Most notable for his red/black facial tattoos and small head horns – masks are available.

Darth Vader - Supreme leader of any best film villain poll ever conducted, and menacing even down to his breathing technique. The costume comes in a range of complexities, but the helmet is iconic and usually essential, except in the somewhat lightweight skirt-based female version available!

Emperor Palpatine - A pivotal character in the prequel films yet no dedicated outfit was mass-produced. There is/was, however, a character mask. Specialist contact lenses, plus a black hooded robe can create the Palpatine look.

Han Solo – Pilot of the Millennium Falcon and mercenary fighter. Was a leading character in the original films and is set to return (along with Chewbacca) in the new films. Costumes in various formats are available.

Imperial Guard – With their distinctive crimson robes and helmets (which have been available as masks in the past), an undoubtedly striking visual addition at any Star Wars event, but probably not the most practical outfit for a party.

Jabba the Hutt - An intergalactic gangster and racketeer who resembles a giant slug. For the enthusiast there is actually an inflatable outfit available for those wanting to portray this character.

Jango Fett – A bounty hunter seen in Attack of the Clones, and actually the template for the clones in question, one of which was his ‘son’ Boba Fett. His costume is a blue/silver variation on the trooper outfit with a more distinctive helmet.

Jar Jar Binks – A love/hate alien character from the prequel films. At the time of the movies’ releases, masks were available but despite the divided opinion about Mr Binks, there is rumour he may return in some form in the new film.

Jedi Knights - The Goodies of the Star Wars saga (unless they turn to the Dark Side) come in all shapes, sizes and alien species. Some characters such as Anakin, Luke and Obi-Wan have their own outfits available, others such as Mace Windu have part-costumes (tunic, belt) on the market, but for the custom cosplayers you can buy your own Jedi Robes in Light Brown, Dark Brown or Black and create your own character.

Kylo Rent - One of the new characters, and an apparent villain at that. Seen in the teaser trailer wielding a cross-guarded light sabre (expect those to be a popular accessory), he is one to watch, but may be fronting for a more evil as yet unrevealed master.

Luke Skywalker – The original Star Wars hero, with a range of outfits virtually continuously available since that film. The new movie is set 35 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, so he returns, although one might expect the focus to be on the newer characters.

Obi-Wan Kenobi – He is, of course, the iconic Jedi master of the original Star Wars films. For all his status, he wears the simple dark brown robes of the Jedi and is, of course, armed with a light sabre.

Padme Amidala  – Once Queen Amidala gave up the trappings of royalty, she became a Padme and Ambassador and pivotal to the whole Star Wars saga. It says much for her that her feisty padme fighter outfit is still on the market, whilst her royal persona has been written out of the catalogues apparently.

Pio Koon – An alien Jedi master from the Clone Wars series and a mentor to Ashoka Tano. As with most of the Clone Wars series costumes, outfits are only available in child sizes.

Princess Leia – Was about the only female in the original Star Wars films, so lucky she cut such an iconic figure with her long white robe and ‘danish pastry buns’ hairstyle. The look is still popular and the traditional costume remains available, along with a slightly sexier slit-skirted version. Leia is set to return, possibly with a more varied wardrobe now that she’s a ‘Disney Princess,’ in the new film.

Princess Leia as Slave to Jabba the Hutt in Empire Strikes Back created an iconic costume counterpoint with a metal bikini look. This costume is not as widely available as the traditional Leia outfits, but it’s a staple of many a Star Wars and Costume Convention.

Queen Amidala -The Queen of Naboo and central to the action (in various guises) in the three prequel films. The Phantom film had her in many elaborate gowns, with a symbolic face make-up, but only the ‘gown of lights’ was widely available on the market. Even this now seems deleted.

Rey - Scavenger of Jakku. A leading character of the new film but so far with little background info. Cosplayers have taken a photo from the Vanity Fair article, featuring her in a desert outfit, made mostly of cotton, hemp, and leather, (similar to Luke Skywalker’s Tatooine costume) as their lead.

Savage Opress – A warrior/fighter/assassin who was allied with the villainous Count Dooku. He is apparently the brother of the better known Darth Maul (seen in The Phantom Menace).

Stormtrooper – These outfits have had a long-lasting appeal to Star Wars fans (you can buy a ‘build your own’ kit for around £800, but not from us!). Aside from the standard stormtrooper outfits there are a couple of skirt-based ‘sexy’ variations on the stormtrooper available. The good news is that the new film brings some named Stormtrooper characters to the screen. The one causing the most speculation is Captain Phasma, a chrome-clad trooper played by the actress responsible for Brienne of Tarth from Game of Thrones.

TIE Fighter Pilot - For a militaristic option, and less restrictive than a Stormtrooper, the TIE Fighter Pilot flightsuit might be a good choice. You might have to explain your character a few times though.

X-Wing Pilot – Like the TIE pilot, the orange flightsuits can add a colourful dimension to a Star Wars party.

Yoda – An undoubtedly well-known Star Wars character and this is one where, due to the jedi master’s small stature, he can be well portrayed by a child or young adult.

Disney Marvel Characters

Once comic books characters were uncomplex – they were either from DC Comics (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman) or Marvel (Spiderman, the Hulk and the Fantastic Four basically), but things have moved on and after some initial TV shows, comic characters can now be found on the big screen: The Marvel Universe has certainly expanded, with an ambitious program of future films and ‘crossovers’ between individual movies. Big budget movies offer merchandise opportunities, and such is the enthusiasm to cash in that, in some cases, costumes are being made for children who, in theory, should not have been able to see the film to which they relate: The Guardians of Galaxy Film is rated 12, yet there are official costumes for children up to 11 (and often no adult versions of the same outfits).

Anyway, here are the highlights of current and future developments. Note: On occasion we mention that ‘several costume versions are available’. This is because, aside from Basic and Deluxe costumes (which may vary in build quality, and what accessories are included, or need to be purchased additionally), there are also versions which come in the skintight ‘morphsuit-style’.

Spiderman: The original (2002) movie caused a change in British film classifications because its original 15 rating meant children could not see the movie and merchandise opportunities were diminished. As we have seen, there are apparently no such problems nowadays, and Spiderman costume varieties (plus variations such as the Venom version from the  2007 film) are widely available.

The Hulk: A hero with a number of solo films under his belt, but more recently seen as part of the team of Avengers saving the Earth from various threats. The ultimate in muscle-chest outfits, some versions require you to provide the torn trousers and green skin!

Guardians of the Galaxy: A breakout hit film of 2014 (and hence due for a sequel), the Guardians are a bunch of intergalactic misfits who turn their hand to a little world-saving of their own. Given that two of the Guardians are Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, and a talking humanoid tree (Groot), the costuming is unusual (but outfits are available, if only for children). We are on safer ground with the ‘hero/leader’ of the group, Star Lord (an outfit featuring a long coat, bandolier and face-mask) and the no-nonsense female mercenary fighter Gamora. The official outfit for Gamora, uses a green jumpsuit base, reflecting the fact that she is green skinned. Matching the green colour on your face and hands adds extra dimension to preparation for partytime and the ombre wig (black turning to dip-dyed/orange), which might also be useful, is available separately.

Thor: Well-known Norse God with a multi-talented war-hammer, and various costumes, plus hammer accessories, are available. Like Hulk, he has had a few solo film outings, but is now another of the mighty Avengers. As a side-note, nothing is certain in comic-land, and mid-2014 there was talk of the magazine version of Thor becoming female – not a gender-change, dream or ‘parallel universe’ story, just a change of incumbent. We always thought the Valkyries would break the glass ceiling!

Captain America: One of the earliest (and most patriotic) of Marvel Heroes, originally created for action in World War II, fighting the Nazi-orientated Red Skull. The stars & stripes inspired red white and blue outfit with matching shield has undergone a few makeovers over the years, and the Captain is now another of the stalwart Avengers band.

Iron Man: Iron Man is the creation of millionaire Tony Stark who dons the high-tech orange/red cyber-suit to become another of the Avengers. Power dressing at the highest level!

Black Widow: A female action hero of Russian origin and another of the Avengers, the Widow favours an uncompromising dressed-to-kill black jumpsuit outfit with appropriate weaponry.

Fantastic Four: Victims of a space radiation accident, the Fantastic Four have featured in two recent films and are apparently due for a ‘reboot’ (doubtless so they can get involved with other heroes). The foursome are Reed Richards (Mr Fantastic), Sue Storm (Invisible Girl), Johnny Storm (The Human Torch) and Ben Grimm (The Thing, a more craggy and orange version of the Hulk).

Antman: Showing size isn’t everything, Antman is a Marvel character due for an outing in mid-2015. Here’s one area where child-size only might work.

X-Men (Original & ‘First Class’): After a few ‘conventional’ movies featuring the ‘Goodie’ mutant X-Men (including Storm, Phoenix and Wolverine, for which costumes were available) versus the Baddies (including the all-blue shape-shifter Mystique, a favourite with the dedicated cosplayer), things have become complex, with a series of prequel stories (for which X-Men/Woman outfits were ‘reimagined’) and a time-travel film incorporating ‘old’ and ‘new’. Add to that some spin-off films featuring the blade-handed Wolverine and there’s plenty of potential choice here.

Looking to the future, as we have said, Marvel Studios has an ambitious plan to roll-out other heroes over the next year or so, including Black Panther, the first ‘superhero of colour’ and Captain Marvel. The latter is a female hero who might take over as major role-model from Black Widow, whose integrity and motives have been called into question recently (no, really). As always, female superheroes can be thin on the ground in the Marvel movieverse but with ‘strong’ females making an impact elsewhere (such as Game of Thrones), things may change.

New Year Parties Costume Ideas

New Year Parties Costume Ideas

Choosing a fancy dress theme for New Year can be an interesting challenge. Although Christmas itself is seen as very much family orientated, the New Year sees parties for friends and families, often crossing over many generations.

Over recent years, here at Props and Frocks we have found that people want to keep the theme fairly expansive, in order to include as many different options as possible. Aside from general fancy dress parties, where anything goes, the most popular themes for New Year tend to be:-

 

Christmas Costumes

Christmas Costumes

Do you belong to the “Tis the season to be jolly” brigade, who start planning their Christmas as early as possible?

Or, are you more like Scrooge with his “Bah! Humbug!” outlook on Christmas fun, where everything gets left until the last minute?

Whatever your viewpoint, here at Props & Frocks we can make your Christmas festivities exceptional.

If you want more than just the traditional Christmas costumes for nativity plays or local events (perhaps you are going to an ‘office’ party or need a novelty Christmas costume) take a look at the list on the left for other ideas & suggestions.

Traditional Christmas Costumes
We have a range of traditional costumes for the festive season, from a diverse selection of Mother Christmas Costumes and Miss Santa outfits to an assorted range of products for Santa’s other helpers. Needless to say, we also have Father Christmas suits for those wishing to emulate the Great Man himself.

Father Christmas – We both sell and hire Father Christmas outfits. Whatever your budget we have a costume for you. If you already have a purchased costume why not check out our range of Father Christmas accessories, such as wigs, beards, eyebrows, belts, white gloves, bell? The person chosen to represent Father Christmas may not necessarily have the required girth – in which case we have the answer – the Santa belly. There are even Father Christmas costumes for the small set.

Mother Christmas – Not everyone wants to go short and sassy at Christmas. Our range of Mother Christmas and Miss Christmas outfits, offer a more modest length and also have long sleeves and capes to keep you warm on those chilly winter days and evenings.

Miss Santa – The short and sassy Miss Santa is a popular look for those with an inclination for festive fun, and needless to say, there are a wide range of styles and designs available, both for hire and retail.

Elves – We have got some great fun Elf costumes in stock, for males and females, adults and children. For a more impressive look, we have a Mascot-style Elf for sale (although be mindful of the limited vision and enclosure factors). If you want to improvise your own costume, we also have a range of elf accessories such as ears, hats, kits, shoes (some with bells on) and even half red/half green tights.

Fairies – Fairies and Fairy Godmothers are integral to both Christmas and to several major pantomimes (another popular Christmas theme). As a general rule, with godmothers being a little ‘older’, their outfits tend to be more like ballgowns, rather than the tutu-based outfits found with the younger, flightier fairies. Although white and silver may be the traditional look, the essential wings and wands sets are available in a variety of colours. Our selection of tiaras may prove useful.

Victorian Carol Singers – For a more historical/classic look to your festivities, the Carol Singer concept can be popular. Admittedly it works best for a group, but at least, if the weather is seasonably cold, if you are outdoors, you are warmer than those who have chosen the skimpier options.

Nativity
When it comes to Nativity costumes, these are usually required for children rather than adults, although we have found ourselves occasionally providing some adult costumes such as Angels and Shepherds for the benefit of an office Christmas party or seasonal fund-raising event.   See our main Nativity Section.

 

Baddies in Films

Baddies Character Costumes from Films

As we have said before, not everyone necessarily wants to be a goody-goody hero/heroine and sometimes they want  to be wicked. In this piece we look at a wide range of villains and baddies to be found in films (and not just the usual suspects!). For simplicity, although we could try to categorise this bad bunch, instead we are keeping it semi-alphabetical (taking liberties with given and first names in some cases). Because of film merchandise, a number of these characters have ‘official costumes’, but others may need some creative improvisation. You will also notice that in some cases an ostensibly male outfit (Riddler, Beetlejuice, Chucky) has a female equivalent costume available for the benefit of couples, pairs or femmes who think they cannot be fatale without imitating a male!

Alex Delarge (Clockwork Orange) – The antihero and master of the ultraviolent in a film that was banned on video for many years because of its content. The look involves a white boiler-style suit with braces, a bowler hat and walking cane. Another feature is the false eyelash worn on one eye. A commercial costume is available.

Alex Forrest (Fatal Attraction) – The original femme fatale bunny-boiler. 1980s style power-dresser with a wild corkscrew-curl hairstyle. Because of the pivotal role of a rabbit (?), some sort of bunny prop might be useful to enhance your impersonation. If you do not get the reference, get the DVD – which has a choice of endings!

Baby Jane Hudson (Whatever Happened to Baby Jane) – The faded film star with a vindictive edge and love-hate relationship with her sister.

Beetlejuice – The bio-exorcist from the film of the same name. Supposedly helping a deceased couple to reclaim their homestead, he is working on his own agenda. The commercial outfit (of which there is also a female version) is based on a distinctive black/white stripe suit plus mask/wig. A red frilled wedding suit could also work.

Captain Bligh (Mutiny on the Bounty) – Does your hire outlet have one of those Napoleonic war naval uniforms (the sort of thing seen in Pirates of the Caribbean)?  An excuse to use it in a baddie context and recreate the Charles Laughton anti (Fletcher) Christian role.

Blofeld (James Bond films) – Although there have been twenty plus Bond films, the arch villain Blofeld has only appeared in about five (depends if you count ‘For Your Eyes Only’ where his role is a fleeting one). Different actors have taken the role, but the basis of the outfit is a grey Nehru-style suit (not dissimilar to the commercially available Dr Evil (Austin Powers) costume).

Bonnie & Clyde – Instant couple costume! In theory Bonnie wears a number of outfits not usually associated with a gangster’s moll (beret, long coat, etc.) but if you avoid the flapper-style and go for the female pinstripe counterpart to the male gangster outfit, you can probably crack the impression.

Carrie (Carrie) – An early Stephen King book character who has featured in at least two movies (there have been lesser-known sequels). The outfit is based on the climactic Prom scene where (spoiler alert) things get messy.

Catwoman (Batman films) – Whether she is a heroine or villainess is debatable, but this is a costume popular for all number of reasons. As Catwoman has had almost as many costumes as a cat has lives, there are a range of looks to go for, from the basic stretch-knit catsuit and winged mask (Lee Meriwether – Batman, 1966) to Anne Hathaway’s cat-burglar ensemble (Dark Knight Rises) through the Michelle Peiffer’s  PVC (Batman Returns, 1992) and the ‘nothing-to-do with Batman (but Razzie Award-winning)’ Halle Belle street-fighter Catwoman.

Child Catcher (Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang) – Things were so much simpler before DBS checks – a wheeled cage, some sweets as bait and a large net, you know where you stand with this ultra-meanie – nowhere near him if you are a child!

Chucky (Child’s Play & Chucky films) – The spirit of a psychopathic killer gets trapped in a doll through voodoo and this little chap then spends several films wreaking havoc, gaining a wife and offspring in the process. Going one better than the films, the costume trade has created a female version (Chuckee, Chuckette?) for that living doll with a homicidal edge.

Commodus (Gladiator) – The villainous Emperor featured in the film Gladiator (2000) who has his father strangled and forces General Maximus Decimus Meridius into exile. Any Roman Emperor-style outfit should command respect.

Darth Maul (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace) – The dark assassin sent to eliminate the young Anakin Skywalker. Although an imposing figure, the red/black facial tattoos and vestigial horns may involve more make-up time than people want to put in (and we have seen some female Mauls in our time). There is, of course, the mask alternative, but this brings its own problems, especially for those wanting to eat and drink.

Darth Vader (Star Wars films) – Undoubtedly one of the best recognised film villains of all time, but the problem is the outfit: Not only does being the Dark Lord of the Universe involve wearing an imposing suit, but the mask is Vader and it is difficult to be the character without it (it can be difficult to eat, drink talk and see with it). That said, there is a female Vader costume available on the market which is short, sexy and far, far away from the original Dark Lord concept.

Dr Elsa Schneider (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) – The sharp dressed but devious archaeologist, who works with both Joneses to further her plans.

Dr Evil (Austin Powers) – Models himself on arch Bond Villain Blofeld in his plans for world domination and his grey Nehru-jacket-style outfit.

Faora (Superman/Man of Steel) – Also known as Ursa, this is a super-villainess from Superman’s home planet of Krypton who joins with General Zod (below) to try to defeat the Man of Steel.

Frank the Rabbit (Donnie Darko) – Cult film involving an air disaster, time travel, physics and this giant menacing rabbit, for which there is (or at least was) an official costume.

Frankenstein’s Monster (Frankenstein) – Classic horror monster, available in a wide range of costume options. For a couple, there is, of course, the Bride of Frankenstein, but despite a striking hairdo, her conversational skills were a little limited and she probably wasn’t bad – just made that way.

Freddy Krueger (Nightmare on Elm Street) – Wes Craven’s nightmare made flesh (sort of). With his burned flesh, tatty striped jumper and fedora he has become one of the most popular modern day Halloween baddies. Although masks can be found, use of some of our specialist make-up products such as the bloody face scar special effects kit can yield dividends.

General Zod (Superman films) – Arch-enemy of Superman who, with female accomplice Faora, seeks to destroy the Man of Steel. An official costume and accessories are available.

Ghostface (Scream) – A popular and simple Halloween baddie whose look derives from Edward Munch’s famous Scream Painting.

Gollum (Lord of the Rings) – Although a victim of circumstance, portraying this devious creature may prove a challenge, as it is generally agreed that a mask is essential and little else.

Gordon Gekko (Wall Street) – The ‘greed is good’ yuppie of 1987, who preceded the ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ by many years.

Gru (Despicable Me) – Looking like a cross between Uncle Fester of the Addams Family and Dara O’Briain, the Irish writer/comedian, Gru is a criminal mastermind much helped (or hindered) by his multitude of Minions (for which costumes are available even if they are not ‘baddies’).

Hannibal Lector (Silence of the Lambs and others) – Infamous cannibal made famous by Anthony Hopkins, although films of the other books with other Hannibals have also been made. Commercial outfit usually involves a prison strait-jacket and mouth-guard, but a suit plus a bottle of Chianti may be more subtle.

Jason Voorhees (Friday 13th) – Along with Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger, one of the three classic modern horror fiends who have appeared in multiple sequels, although Jason has also made it into the 25th century future in Jason X. The commercial outfit, is however based on the original outfit worn for the Camp Crystal Lake homicides.

Jigsaw (The Saw movies) – Although Jigsaw is ostensibly a killer, taking his name from cutting a jigsaw piece of flesh from victims, his later argument is that many of his victims harm/kill themselves when forced to take chances in perilous situations. He works through two intermediaries (for which costumes are available) – Billy the Ventriloquist Puppet (who also rides a trike!) and the cloaked Saw Pig.

Leatherface (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) – A horror fiend with a chainsaw, and a film which has been remade/recut. There is also a female version, featuring a chainsaw handbag as an accessory.

Lex Luther  (Superman films) – Although some of Superman’s foes from the Krypton Phantom Zone have been already mentioned, this is the Man of Steel’s main earth-bound nemesis and leading criminal mastermind.

Loki (Avengers Assemble) – Thor’s wicked brother in Norse mythology and the Marvel Avengers series. An official costume, involving a muscle chest, cape and interestingly horned helmet could certainly create an impression, but for licensing reasons, it seems to have been withdrawn from the market.

Medusa (Clash of the Titans) – Medusa was the snake-haired gorgon from Greek mythology, whose glare could turn you to stone. For such a supposedly ugly character, there are a surprising number of Medusa costumes commercially available. One to look at (carefully) for Halloween!

Michael Myers (Halloween) – From the successful series of horror movies started by John Carpenter (although Halloween III Season of the Witch, involving evil masks, was not part of the Myers series).  In best slasher movie style, the costume involves a mask and large knife!

Mystique  (X Men) – For the girl who wants to make an impression, this blue-bodied shape-shifter should do the trick.

Poison Ivy (Batman and Robin) – A delinquent in the original comic, in the film Poison Ivy was a sultry seductress played by Uma Thurman. In recent years she has also taken on other incarnations as one of the Gotham Girls group of female heroes/villains. She is often teamed with the Joker’s sidekick, Harley Quinn, but as Harley has not appeared in a movie (yet) she does not qualify as a movie baddie.

Pris (Blade Runner)One of the four replicants who return to Earth from the mining colonies in search of their Maker. Pris’ combat gear whilst disguising herself as an automaton, involves a white unitard/catsuit, racoon-style eye-make-up and an orange/white frizz wig – very discrete.

Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland) – There have been several film versions of Alice in Wonderland and, not counting the more recent Tim Burton variation (see Red Queen), possibly the most memorable is Disney’s 1950s cartoon creation. Although the playing card-inspired red/white/yellow outfit is pretty standard, there are also some interesting short and skimpy versions available – watch out for the one with the flamingo handbag.

Ravena, Queen  (Snow White & the Huntsman) – In a 2011 reimagining of the Snow White story, we have a wicked stepmother who is also a shape-shifting sorceress, turning into a flock of ravens occasionally (hence the name). There is an official costume for this character.

Red Queen  (Alice in Wonderland) – A variation on the Queen of Hearts noted above, this character from the Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland combined elements of both the Queen of Hearts of the Wonderland story and the Red Queen of the Looking Glass sequel. The heart motif is dominant in the commercial costume.

Regan (The Exorcist) – Good excuse to look bad and behave even worse. If you can create the look, it should turn a few heads.

Riddler (Batman films) – Frank Gorshin reprised his TV portrayal of the Riddler in the 1966 Batman movie and Jim Carrey undertook a suitably restrained interpretation in ‘Batman Forever (1995). Either way, the outfit involves a green suit (or jumpsuit) with a question-mark pattern. Accessories may include a green bowler (also decorated with question-marks) and a cane with a question-mark shaped handle. Carrey also had an orange buzz-cut wig. A ‘Miss Riddler’ outfit is also commercially available.

Saruman (Lord of the Rings) – The white wizard who went to the Darkside. Commercial costumes are available.

Sheriff of Nottingham (Robin Hood) – Classic film baddie (he is the one who cancelled Christmas in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves), the outfit is basically rich medieval.

Sweeney Todd  (Sweeney Todd – Demon Barber of Fleet Street) – Seeking revenge on a judge who has wronged him, Sweeney deals with the cut-throat competition head-on and, with his accomplice Mrs Lovett, goes into the catering business.

The Invisible Man (The Invisible Man, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) – There are those who cannot see this working, but aside from a complex commercial costume of a few years ago involving  ‘floating glasses and a hat’ and a trench coat, the usual approach is a bandaged head, glasses and gloves.

The Joker (Batman films) – Rather like the comic book character, the Joker has had a few different screen incarnations. Cesar Romero recreated his successful TV persona for the 1966 Batman movie, Jack Nicholson gave an impressively enigmatic performance for the Tim Burton Batman (1989) and most recently Heath Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for his manic portrayal of the Joker in ‘The Dark Knight’ (2008).

The Shark  (Jaws films) – We have not had many animal baddies in our list, most probably for practicality reasons. We could have had King Kong, but many regard him as Victim not Villain, T. Rex (Jurassic Park) or Godzilla are no-nos, and although there are a few manimals such as Werewolves and Cat People, we thought a Shark was best, most famously seen in Jaws and also in an upgraded version in Deep Blue Sea (1999). It is also helpful that there are a few shark outfits on the market.

Tony Montana (Scarface) – An American gangster of Cuban origin who commands respect throughout the underworld with the help of his trusty ‘little friend’, a companion of lethal calibre. He has a trademark white suit worn with a 70s-style burgundy shirt. The outfit is available commercially.