Fashions have drastically changed over the last few decades and this is especially true when it comes to fancy dress outfits. When you need or want to come up with a fancy dress idea that represents a certain decade you have to think hard about what was trendy during each one. You might be dressing yourself for a themed party or you’ve just been feeling nostalgic for a particular decade. Either way, the process of choosing just the right outfit is an exciting journey.
60’s Fancy Dress Ideas
Let’s first revisit the decade of the 1960s and the fashions that were in style at that time. Since the 1960s were all about peace and love many of the fancy dress ideas of the decade involved fringe, psychedelic patterns and bright colors. Both men and women decked themselves out in bell bottom jeans and you couldn’t go into a disco without seeing someone wearing clog shoes.
With “flower power” being a dominant force in the 1960s many fancy dress outfits for men and women featured a floral pattern, something you rarely see in men’s fancy dress outfits today. The flower child style was adopted by many adult women during the decade.
At the time, no fancy dress outfit was complete without some decade appropriate accessories. This means it was hard to go anywhere without spotting a man or woman wearing a feather boa and the famous hippy style eye glasses made famous by John Lennon.
It was not unusual for the women of this decade to be seen in a fancy swinging dress complete with the appropriate headwear and footwear. The women that weren’t wearing clogs with a fancy outfit were instead walking around in knee high boots in bright colors.
Men wanted to emulate The Beatles in the 1960s in an attempt to attract the women that swooned over America’s first “boy band.” Many times, a fancy dress outfit for a man of the 1960s was as close as possible to the style of suits The Beatles famously wore on their album covers.
The hippy style wasn’t limited to just women, as the men of this decade wore their own fancy outfits also. Brightly colored and floral vests were a staple of any man’s fancy outfit. Back then men weren’t afraid to be seen sporting pink bell bottoms or even accessories. The peace sign was an integral part of a man’s style during the 1960s. Matching head bands were all the rage among the men who gravitated toward the decade’s hippy style.
Despite the 1960s being a decade that, to many men and women, was a blur, the styles that were popular then can still be found in fancy dress ideas for costume parties or just a blast from the past.
70’s Fancy Dress Ideas
Not to be outdone by the 1960’s the 1970’s also had a distinct style of its own. Some of its fancy dress ideas included the psychedelic style that many men and women embraced throughout both decades. While the 1960s was the decade of The Beatles and hippies, much of the fancy dress ideas of the 1970s were influenced by iconic groups such as The Village People. Sailor outfits were adapted to be used as fancy dress by those who wished to emulate the group.
Disco was still a force to be reckoned with during the 1970s and this was obvious as disco dresses were still a popular choice among women. The disco dresses of the decade were often gold or silver, as those were popular colors for women’s outfits. Women also loved mod style dresses, complete with boots and feather adorned accessories. Jumpsuits were also a preferred fancy dress option for women.
While 1960s fashions were all about bright colors, the 1970s brought a bit more somberness into many peoples’ fancy dress style. Even the psychedelic outfits of the 1970s were darker than they were in the 1960s.
Anyone who has seen the movie Boogie Nights will recognize the classic 1970s fancy dress ideas that were so popular. A brown bell bottom suit was a staple in the wardrobe of men during this decade. Other desired colors for men’s suits included lavender and certain light shades of green. These were the type of outfits men would choose for a night out on the town or even their mates wedding. The men that really wanted to make a splash were sure to be seen in ruffled disco shirts that few men would be caught dead wearing today.
The styles worn in Saturday Night Fever also played a big part in fancy dress ideas of the 1970s. A crisp white suit with bell bottoms was the outfit of choice for many of the men of that decade. The male version of the mod style was also a fancy dress idea many men embraced.
Men’s outfits during the decade often included heavy fabric pants, more so than in previous decades. This marked a transition period where men’s fashions became more evolved.
80’s Fancy Dress Ideas
No other decade was quite like the 1980s. To this day it is one of the most hated or loved decades of the past, depending on who you ask. By this time, disco had virtually disappeared and was quickly replaced by pop fever and prom king and queen styles.
In the 1980’s young men weren’t afraid to wear brightly colored suits to their high school parties. The fancy dress ideas of the decade involved colors and fabrics that hadn’t been embraced much in years’ past.
Thanks, in part, to the influence of Olivia Newton John during the 1980s, workout gear wasn’t just meant for exercise anymore. Women who became obsessed with exercise during this decade practically lived in the type of outfits John made famous in her video for her hit single “Physical.”
Another huge influence over fancy dress ideas of the 1980s was Madonna. Young women all over the country wanted to emulate her by wearing just the right styles. Wild child dresses and fishnet stockings all took off in popularity during the 1980s thanks to Madonna.
It was during the 1980s that many women began to wear fluorescent dresses, beads and other accessories. Women were becoming more bold and weren’t afraid to make a stronger statement than they had in previous decades. The fluorescent colors of the 1980s are one aspect that makes many people shun 1980s styles today.
Men’s styles during this decade were inspired by Tom Cruise’s style in Top Gun, as suits worn in that movie took off with men of the decade. The punk rock look also became prevalent among men in the 1980s.
90’s Fancy Dress Ideas
The terrifying part about fancy dress ideas of the 1990s is that this is when women began dressing like the Spice Girls. This trend called for short, tight dresses that many young women incorporated into their wardrobes.
The rave scene also became more prevalent in the 1990s and men and women alike began to adopt the fancy dress styles they observed as a result. Rainbow trim was incorporated into many of the fancy dress styles of the 1990’s. Items of clothing such as mesh tops became popular among trendy women, much to the dis taste of many conservatives that felt these tops revealed a little too much skin. Sequinned headbands were also becoming the rage during this decade, for those who went against the fancy dress ideas introduced by the rave scene.
The 1990’s saw an increasing number of women transitioning to mainly black wardrobes. This was especially true of those who identified with grunge look and chose to express themselves accordingly.
The Evolution of Fancy Dress
From one decade to the next, some fashions remained in style while others faded away and new ones were introduced to society. While fancy dress ideas were more uniform in the earlier decades of the 1960s and 1970s by the 1980’s and 1990’s people, especially women, were becoming more focused on creating their own style of fancy dress as opposed to following the current status quo.
Pop culture became more of an influence over the fashions of the 1980s and 1990s. Men and women often took wardrobe cues from the performers they followed during the two decades. More creativity was put into fancy outfits than had been in the past and color and style trends changed quite a bit.
Another trend during the 1990s especially was for both men and women to take styles they had seen in popular movies and TV shows and adopt them into their own wardrobe. Bay Watch would see the ladies sporting the famous life guards out fits worn by Pamela Anderson while the male uniform also famously sported by David Hasselhoff was a popular choice.