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Who remembers Mr Benn, the bowler-hatted gent who used to pop into a fancy dress shop and emerge in a costume that led to an adventure?  If you’re of a certain age, you’ll have many happy memories of the cartoon character. The shopkeeper wore a fez, glasses and a bow tie, an interesting choice in itself and while it was never clear what the fancy dress shopkeeper got paid for his costumes, he certainly had a regular costume clientele! Which makes it interesting that an insurance company Equine & Livestock, is resurrecting the character to star in their commercials.

For August we want to share a little tongue-in-cheek fun, because we know we are always saying how much fun it is to wear fancy dress, and how any occasion can be made more enjoyable with a fancy dress theme. So we’re going to reverse our usual policy and tell you about the times that you shouldn’t wear fancy dress:


3 - Supermarkets.  Playboy model Tanja Brockmann was asked to leave a supermarket in Majorca because her ‘tiny top and hotpants’ were considered unsuitable and when she said she had no other clothes to put on, she was escorted outside! A Preston supermarket refused to serve a man who was trying to buy bananas … because he was dressed as a MinionEven Tesco have said that they prefer customers not to show up in nightwear as it makes other people uncomfortable.

The story of a chap who turned up to a christening in fancy dress went viral on social media. Apparently the dad of the child being christened simply told his mate that the christening would be different, because it was in fancy dress, and was taken at his word. While the dad assumed his mate was simply playing along with the joke, it turns out that he’d been completely taken in. So when his friend arrived dressed as a medieval knight, complete with sword, to find himself in an otherwise ‘formal’ environment, it was a bit of a shock.


Now we applaud his choice - if you’re going to show up anywhere in a fancy dress costume, you really can’t go far wrong with a nice knight. It’s patriotic, it suits all body types, it’s easy to move around it and … well, you’ve got a sword! But the moral of the story is clearly that if you’re apparently invited to a fancy dress do, check out with a couple of the other guests to be sure you’ve really understood the invitation!

Trending at festivals so far this year are super-cute dresses - by which we mean pretty outfits, not those showing massive amounts of thigh or cleavage - worn with cowboy hats, and bright raincoats (no surprise there). However the trend of fancy dress for weekend festivals is growing rapidly: we saw lots of costumes at Glastonbury, with political themes proving popular there, while  mates fancy dress was a big deal at many other events, with Power Rangers and Transformers appearing quite often while the Addams Family and Flintstones were very popular with groups … one interesting trend we spotted was costume swapping - with the girls and guys in a tent swapping the costumes they’d worn on the previous day so the girls went as guys and guys as girls. Getting twice the life from your fancy dress outfit, obviously!

There are hundreds of great reasons to get into fancy dress: parties, anniversaries, charity runs and special events of all kinds. But one new reason for putting on a fancy dress costume is unexpected - funerals.


According to the Co-op, one of the UK’s leading funeral providers, ‘quirky’ funerals are becoming more commonplace. The most notable occasions have included the funeral of an eighty-three-year-old whose family gave him an Only Fools and Horses themed send-off, complete with a Robin Reliant to carry the coffin!

From the Dundee church penguins with their scarves and sweaters to the Queen Victoria in Brighton who occasionally sports sunglasses, fancy dress for statues has become commonplace. But the Cockermouth town council has said no to the idea of dressing up the statue for a festival. It’s a reversal of previous behaviour - during the visit for the Tour of Britain, the statue was given a bike, sunglasses and a cycling helmet, but the idea of giving the sixth Earl of Mayo a guitar and sunglasses was a step too far, apparently.

Some Fancy Dress Costume events happen every year - the London Marathon, New Year’s Eve parties, Hallowe’en etc, but our attention was caught this month by a well-established event that we haven’t been really familiar with - the Glasgow Easter Egg Run.


The reason this dressing up charity event focused our minds was that it’s an unusual occasion - it’s Easter themed but done on motorbikes, so finding costumes is a bit of a stretch (literally!). The costumes have to meet a set of criteria:


This month contains a few great fancy dress events, one of which you might not think of as ‘fancy dress’ - the FA Cup Final!


Yes, when Chelsea and Arsenal kick off at some point on 27 May - the time still hasn’t been decided, pubs, clubs and private homes all over the UK will be filled with costumed revellers waiting to see if they will be this year’s winners or all time losers. So for some of the UK’s population this will be a nail biting few hours - but what about the rest of us, who might not be completely committed to football? We have a few suggestions to make Cup Day fun for all.

23 April 2017 is the date of the London Marathon. It’s definitely too late to get a place in the marathon, but there’s still plenty of time to organise your marathon-watching marathon party!


This can also be a good way to raise money for your favourite charity - for example by holding a sweepstake on the winning time, giving a small prize to the person who gets closest and donating the rest of the entry fees to a charity.


It’s not to too late to play an April Fool’s Day trick in fancy dress costume. We’ve seen some amazing costumes that prove that anybody can use fancy dress to create the funniest prank ever and here are some of our favourites:

 1. Pregnant women painting up their bellies - oh yes, this is a thing! The funniest one we saw was a mum-to-be who dressed up in drag as a builder, including low slung trackies and a line of false hair running from her navel all the way down into her trousers - it totally fooled people in the corner shop she went to. We’ve also seen bellies painted like footballs or hot air balloons.

 2. Nun but the brave - the old nun or priest costume may seem clichéd but for April Fools it’s a great old trick that often works much better than you’d imagine. Our favourites included nuns boogying on down in bus shelters and the vicar who walked in a stately fashion down a major London street before stopping, tucking his cassock into his Y-fronts and doing a Ministry of Silly Walks all the way back again!

 3. Clown costumes - are always popular for April Fool’s Day - although after the recent creepy clown epidemic you might want to be careful about going out dressed as a clown as this is one costume that a lot of people seem to find quite the opposite of funny!



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