(Photo: Elvis and Wilma on their way to the party! Sydney, Australia January 2017)

One of the things I have noticed over recent years is the power of fancy dress at parties. With siblings and cousins all turning 40 in recent years we have attended many a fancy dress event – Australian parties seem notorious for the liberating experience!

From the moment the invite arrives, it is either excitement because ideas come pouring in or sheer terror trying to think of anything creative and different.


Nothing gets a group talking to each other quite like a fancy dress invite. Where normally you would turn up to a party and enjoy the night, with fancy dress, people are more likely to get together and discuss what everyone is going as in the lead up.  Should there be a group theme? A couples theme? How can we be different to what everyone else will turn up in? All with a view to ensure we don’t end up with double up costumes.

Nothing beats a fancy dress event to create a bonding experience amongst the guests. It is a great way to get people together, to draw out their inner beings to the max and reduce some inhibitions whilst in the process creating some new identities for people who had been boxed in as a certain ‘type’.

Man and woman dressed as Elvis and Priscilla for fancy dress

(Photo: Elvis and Priscilla ready to party! Sydney, Australia January 2017)


I took my parents to choose their fancy dress costume recently for my brother’s 40th. It was a ‘something big in the 70s’ theme and we siblings had already agreed that dad would be the best at pulling off the Elvis costume. Once we got to the shop it didn’t take much to convince him at all, in fact quite the opposite, my parents became childlike people I had only seen rarely on occasion, usually at recent fancy dress parties! All of a sudden they got right into it.  Mum wanting to (in her own Italian words) ‘either do it properly or not do it at all’… no safe 70s dresses for mum. Oh No! It was flare pants and glitzy top just like Priscilla would wear including appropriate wig!

Out of the change rooms they came strutting their stuff and posing like celebs! I was laughing so hard my muscles hurt! Their inner child came out in both of them. All of a sudden they were back in their youthful days and reliving the fun and most likely their favourite era. Cue the song “Fernando’ from Abba….that always reminds me of them in the 70s.

(Poto: Wilma and Pebbles, Sydney, Australia, January 2017)


When it’s time to party, laughter precedes every emotion. The ridiculousness of embodying a new persona and being able to just let go for a little while always brings out those endorphins. People you thought you knew and recognised all of a sudden need a second look because their mannerisms don’t match the pre conceived box we had placed them in. Just getting to the event is hilarious, with double takes from onlookers and the sheer courage needed to push past the comfort zone and be someone we are usually not…emotions run high…

At my brother’s party we had Elvis and Priscilla but also a whole gammot of varied icons such as Kelso from That 70s Show, John McEnroe, Globe Trotters, Stayling Alive, Xanadu, Hippies, The Flinstones Family (Wilma, Fred and Pebbles) and many a Disco Diva.

Man on dance floor dressed as a 1970s Globe Trotter





(Photo: Globe Trotter letting it go on the dance floor, Syney, Australia, January 2017)


One of the standouts for me that night was our friend the Globe Trotter. I distinctly remember seeing him come outof his shell – normally getting any information out of him is like pulling teeth and getting one word answers, he is normally very quiet and unassuming – on this night, he was all talkative, with a globe-trotter label on his lapel, an afro with white shorts and singlet dancing moves on the dance floor that just cleared space to facilitate his own show. We were all so shocked to see this side of him! It was the talk of the party for days….and seeing him a few days later for Australia day, I swear he was a much more open and talkative individual owning his part in creating a fabulous night.


There are some distinct benefits of fancy dress parties…

Facilitates pre party communication
Brings out people’s creative side
Allows the inner child to come out
Sparks up conversations on the night…with people you may not normally talk to
Encourages moments for bonding
Creates fabulous photos
There are always memories of the night that link you forever
Fills the dance floor…guaranteed! (Provided you have a good DJ!)
Makes it easier to party on afterwards – amazing how much easier it is to party on!
Elvis holding prize for winning fancy dress competition

(Photo: Elvis wins the prize for best costume, Sydney, Australia January 2017)

If we looked at it from a business context, it is what great teams are made of – out of ‘office’ events like these enhance the gel needed to bond people together – to work better as a team during business hours and to have stories that bind us for the future.

I wish you all the opportunity to embrace your inner child and get a fancy dress invite…if not create one of your own…you won’t regret it!

lizzy hodgins