"What kind of fresh madness is this – a fancy dress article in February? But Halloween in decades away", you might say. Yes, this is not a season typically dedicated to costume, but if you think fancy dress is just for Halloween you are ever so bloody wrong.
Fancy dress parties are one of my all-time favourite types of party, level with karaoke parties and closely followed by pancake parties. Dress me in drag and give me a mic and a crepe and I've reached nirvana... but let me get back to my point.
Fancy Dress. Do it all year round for maximum fun. And I know, about fifty per cent of you probably hate fancy dress. You don't like to stand out, you hate the effort, you think it's cheesy and naff.
Well I'm here to tell you, YOU are the people that ruin fancy dress for everyone (except me, it can never be ruined for me) with your turning-up-to-a-fancy-dress-party-in-jeans-and-a-t-shirt-and-calling-yourself-Dany-Zucco ways. You dicks are dead to me.
Anyway, I digress again. As you can see, fancy dress makes me passionate. And I'd go so far as to say I'm a fancy dress party pro. So here are my dos and don'ts:
DO: WORK WITH WHAT YOU HAVEAlready have pretty much every component to a kick-ass Angela Chase costume because she is your idol? Go as Angela Chase. Already have a gorgeous Mia Wallace-style bob like Olivia? Go as Mia Wallace. Big fat arse? Go as a Kardashian!
I will always appreciate someone who has re appropriated their own clothes, hair etc into a brilliant homemade effort than someone who has just bought an Elvis jumpsuit and wig off eBay. I find this especially useful for helping me choose what to go as. Fancy dress shouldn't necessarily be a huge faff, or a massive expense. Although, for me, half the fun is in getting the look together.
DON'T: HALF ARSE ITI have one friend who, at an Americana-themed party, wore his own clothes, slapped on a bit of eyeliner and called himself Pete Wentz. Lame in two very obvious ways.
However, the chick who sewed an entire Uncle Sam meets Cheerleader costume in red, white and blue velvet, looked the bomb. It's an insult to the people who have dressed up, the person who invited you to the party and YOURSELF if you can't be arsed. You wouldn't just rock up to a wedding in your scruffs, same goes for fancy dress. No inspiration? Ask a friend who lives for it (me).
DO: PAY ATTENTION TO DETAILThis doesn't mean copying a look perfectly, but remembering the little things, ie, hair and make up, tattoos or props. This can completely transform a fancy dress costume from average to awesome.
I actually box died my hair to be Angela Chase. The damn thing lasting two months longer than the promised two days, but it was worth it.
Take a pretty average red dress... add victory rolls, red lipstick, a beauty spot and killer heels, and you have a Vargas Girl.
There are a squillion YouTube tutorials on costume hair and make-up. The internet is your friend.
Fifty per cent of my recent Frank N Furter costume was a bit cobbled together, but by completely nailing the make-up and rag-rolling my hair, it ended up being scarily convincing, for a woman playing a man playing a woman.
DO: ACCESSORIZEA 1920s outfit is all in the accessories, obviously. A headband, stole, fag holder and you're ready to go. But this is also important whether you're being Agent Dana Scully – a low level court shoe, gun and ID card all add authenticity, or Rachel from Friends – natural tan tights, apron, blonde streaks of hair mascara.
I've now dressed up as Madonna three times and have a startling collection of beads and shag bands to prove it. If the accessories are right then what lies beneath can be pretty average.
DO: HAVE FUNMuch like karaoke (and pancakes) pretty much every fancy dress sceptic I know has a riot once they are out and about in costume. You are being someone else, escaping from yourself and the every day.
You feel like you can do anything, say anything, dance with anyone and even drink Jagerbombs without consequence (I don't know why I always end up drinking Jeagerbombs in fancy dress, but it happens).
There's a reason cosplay is gaining popularity – adults need a break from being adults. And while I'm not ready to dress as a latex covered cartoon character, I do see the appeal and enjoyment of getting your look perfect. So, now, go forth and costume!
Do you like fancy dress? What should I theme my birthday party? What's the best costume you've ever put together? Can we start a gallery?
Tory tweets @toryfrostwrites.