by Sharon Archer
Reading: 'getting even with fran' by Christine Stinson
Watching: Outback 8
Listening: birds singing outside
Making me smile: This excuse to look back at pics of previous cocktail parties!
Fancy dress! Do you love it or loathe it? Does an invitation to a fancy dress event fill you with anticipation or send shivers of dread from your head to your toes?! Do you worry you’ll be the only person who dresses up... or maybe the only person who doesn’t?
Or are you like me... it all depends on the occasion?
We recently had our Romance Writers of Australia conference at Coogee Beach in Sydney. Magic place with all those crashing waves producing negative ions to stir our creativity!
Anyway, Harlequin Mills and Boon sponsor a themed cocktail party every year and it rocks! Dressing up for the event is fun. Because lots of people have a go, you feel right at home whatever you wear – normal clothes to a dress-up token to a full extravaganza! This year’s theme was Fantasy Island – which meant anything goes!
Since it was a romance writers’ party, I decided to go as the quintessential romance writer, Barbara Cartland. A trip around the op shops netted pink chiffon by the metre. A few pink feather boas, some blue eye shadow and I was almost set. Alas my “pug” wasn’t a success. The best “dog” I could find (remembering that luggage space was a problem) was Dalmation pyjama bag. It was very flat so packed brilliantly but it was very... well... spotted!
The LoveCats got together at the cocktail party for this photo opportunity. Anna couldn’t make it to the conference this year – we want you there next year, Anna!
So how do you feel about fancy dress... is it fun or is it a chore? What are your tips for success? Do you sew yourself? Raid the op shops? Hire something gorgeous? Outrageous?!
Wow, look at us! :)ReplyDelete
Re: dress up, it depends. Some years at the Harlequin Cocktail Party I get dressed up and other years I don't. It often depends on how much I had to organise before leaving for the conference that year, lol.
Don't we look smashing, Rachel!ReplyDelete
I agree - it does depend on lots of things, like time! And on whether an idea leaps out at you, too! My "Barbara" was very last minute - which is why the "pug" wasn't quite right. A bit more time and I might have sourced something less... spotty! But I'm rather fond of the little Dalmation... and I think it would work well for a different fancy dress costume!
I think the RWA cocktail party is the only time I've ever done dress ups. AS I've only been to the last two, and they were both failry easy to dress for, I've done so both times. But as to whether I'll manage it next time... guess it will depend on the theme and baggage space.ReplyDelete
It is fun though .
Hi Anita! It's such an ice-breaker being in fancy dress, don't you think? And so much fun when you know that there'll be such a mix of fancy dress and normal dress that you know you won't be out of place no matter what you wear!ReplyDelete
I've been to a few other dress up parties - including a fairytale one. I went as a pumpkin rather than Cinderella! The cushions that I used to pad out the orange material were a bit of nuisance because they all sank to the bottom of the pumpkin - I looked more like a butternut than the nice round pumpkin I should have been! But it was fun! Though I had to take my stuffing out after a while because it got too hot! I was a roast pumpkin! LOL
Baggage allowance is always a bit of a limitation!
That photo is brilliant - you Love Cats look fantastic!!! A nice mix of fantasies there too!ReplyDelete
I've always loved fancy dress parties but I find I have less time now to get organised. Years ago I would spend days getting things together, now it's minutes!!
We had a Xmas theme at work and I went as a present, complete with huge decorated box from waist to knees. It was not well thought out - aside from rude jokes all night, people insisted on bumping into me and the bruises were not good the next week!! It was very funny though.
Oh, don't you all look terrific! Great picture, Sharon.ReplyDelete
I tend to dress up for the cocktail parties and it's a lot of fun, but then it's possibly because the themes so far hav ebeen pretty easy. I don't hire costumes - seems like too much effort. Lazy, aren't I? Actually I'm due at a birthday party in a few weeks where I have to dress as a fave decade. Hm. Not sure about that one. So many of the older fashions are just not that flattering. Maybe my decade could be in the 1780s or the 1920s or something!
I love dress up, but didn't have the baggage space to take extra clothes to Sydney.ReplyDelete
My best experience was my 40th birthday when all my friends (?) were giving me a hard time. So I contacted a makeup artist from the local theatre, raided the dressup shop, got a wig, and went to my party as an 80 year old. I looked uncannily like my grandmother, and in the dim lights of the party one or two men didn't recognise me. I had a ball.
Wow Sue, what an amazing experience to come face to face with yourself in 40 years time!ReplyDelete
Did it lessen the fear or increase it?
I really enjoyed dressing up this year, it's lots of fun and kinda puts you into the whole spirit of the conference.ReplyDelete
Hi, Barbara...I mean, Sharon! Necessity is the mother of invention--the dalmation slipper looked like a great substitute!ReplyDelete
I'm hopeless at costume parties. We once held a space-themed party. I tried to make a Jetsons-style costume but it went totally awry. Our guests went to great lengths, though--Klingons, assorted aliens, cosmic bounty hunters, etc. Everyone looked fantastic, as did all you LoveCats!
Thanks, Cath! We had a ball - and actually rounding ourselves up into one spot to take the photo was a bit of a fun in itself!ReplyDelete
LOL on your Xmas present fancy dress... I can imagine you got all sorts of offers to be unwrapped! The bruises wouldn't be so good - all those angles on a boxes! But very inspired!
Sharon, love the photo! You were such fun at the cocktail party. Hardly surprising. You're such fun wherever you go! Actually I used to LOVE a dress up party and used to go to a lot of trouble. For my 21st birthday, I held an Australia party and I went as Ayers Rock. Don't ask. These days, though, I'm a bit bah humbug. At least as far as a costume for me goes. The RWOz party is always right on top of me getting back from America from RWA and I just don't have the oomph to come up with something zingy. Maybe next year! It's always amazing to see the creativity on display!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Annie! I think it's just as much fun, if not more fun, to see what can be scrounged up for a costume without the expense of hiring something. A bit of ingenuity. The most expensive part of my costume was the blue eye shadow - gosh, makeup is a wicked price! ;)ReplyDelete
I thought the "publishing contracts" were so clever at the cocktail party this year!
As for a fave decade... perhaps the 1950s would be good. Love those flared skirts and bobby socks!
Sue, how cool to go in cognito to your own party! It must have been such a lark to realise you'd fooled some of your guests!ReplyDelete
I expect that's the appeal of dressing up - we can be someone or something else for a little bit! A tiny escape!
Hey, Zana, what a good question! How was that peek into your future, Sue?ReplyDelete
Mel, or should I address you as Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile! The cocktail party is huge fun, isn't it! And I think you're right, it's a great icebreaker for the conference weekend!ReplyDelete
Oh, Vanessa, costumes can be a bit of a nightmare when they don't cooperate! Wardrobe "malfunctions"! Your space theme party sounds like a lot of fun though!ReplyDelete
I must confess that "Barbara's" boas kept wanting to unravel off the hat - I meant to get around to sewing them into place. The best laid plans and all that! In the end, I had to resort to sticky tape! So I was cutting a pink swathe through the party and probably dipping my feathers into people's canapes in my wake!
Awww, shucks, Anna, you say the nicest things! ;)ReplyDelete
Oh, you can't tell me about your Ayers Rock and then tell me not to ask! What a brilliant and challenging costume idea! You know I have to ask!
You have a very busy schedule leading up to our conference DownUnder with your USA travel, the conference over there, jetlag from the trip home - makes it all bit hard, doesn't it? Fancy dress is a bit easier if there's time to savour the collecting of items - I know this because my "Barbara" would have had a much better chance of turning up with the right sort of dog if I hadn't left it all to the last minute!!
I do find the Christmas decorations are a lot of fun to raid for fancy dress!
Anyway, come on, spill the beans on Ayers Rock!
Well, all right, seeing you twisted my arm - it was a sheet dyed orange and a sign on my head saying Alice Springs and gum leaves and a koala pinned to the sheet! It was more effective than it sounds! ;-)ReplyDelete
Oh that's fantastic, Anna! So simple and clever!ReplyDelete
I can imagine how effective it was... I've been a butternut pumpkin stuffed with lounge cushions!
Aww, look at us!ReplyDelete
I love the Harlequin cocktail party because you can dress up big or small - depending on how much luggage space you have and how much time you have to get prepared. It's not a high pressure MUST dress up, which I think makes all the difference.
I sure love checking out the different costumes, though.
Michelle, the dress code is very relaxed, isn't it? It makes it a buzz to have a go and not something to get horribly anxious about. And if at the last minute, you have a wardrobe malfunction, you can just go in dressy normal!ReplyDelete
I agree that it's such fun to check out the costumes to see what others have thought of!
Hi Sharon, the cocktail party at the conference was such fun, wasn't it! You and all the LoveCats look amazing. I love the story of your butternut pumpkin costume...ReplyDelete
I think my days of dressing up are past me but never say never!
Looking 80 at my forthieth wasn't so bad because it was extreme. At the next big birthday I used a photo of me at one and a photo of me at "80" on the invitations and headed them up Naught to fifty in no time at all. All good fun.ReplyDelete
Great post, Sharon! The cocktail party is always such fun, isn't it? This year was no exception -- there were some fabulous costumes -- yours included!ReplyDelete
I ran out of time to even think of a costume (deadline hell), but next year I'm going to get my thinking cap on early and go all out!
Ooh, I would SO love to you a photo of you dressed up as 80, Sue!
Hey, Kandy! Definitely never say never! Maybe we'll see you in some fancy finery next year!ReplyDelete
The cocktail party was fabulous thanks to you and Cathleen Ross and your conference committee! You guys did an amazing job!
Sue, your birthday album must be a hoot!ReplyDelete
Woohoo, Emily! I can't wait to see you at next year's cocktail party. And of course you've said it here in black and white... well, black and pale green in this case... so we'll hold you to it! ;)ReplyDelete
You don't have to go crazy with spending though - op shops and those warehouse type shops are great sources of goodies for dress ups!