Top Ten Male Fancy Dress Costumes

If you are invited to a fancy dress party it can sometimes be difficult to decide what costume to dress up in. If your host has given the evening an actual theme, it can make it a bit easier to choose a costume as your options are more focused. An actual theme also encourages people to 'think outside of the box' to get an original idea. But what if there is no costume theme and you need some ideas? Here are our top ten suggestions of male costumes for a general fancy dress party. We know that some of these you may not agree with. If you want to add in your favourite generic (as opposed to character) costume, why not send us a comment?

Props n Frocks Fancy Dress has been established since 1998 and have been providing great fancy dress costumes and accessories since then either from our shop, based in Essex and on line. We also provide FREE costume and theme information on all fancy dress themes. If you need any help with anything to do with fancy dress, contact Props n Frocks - THE fancy dress experts...

Cowboy, we love your horse!
Cowboy, we love your horse!
Cowboy Costume
Cowboy Costume
Roman Costume
Roman Costume
Monk Costume
Monk Costume
Knight Costume
Knight Costume


Wild West parties can break out throughout the year, and are particularly popular for Country and Western or Line Dancing fans. Most males will often prefer to make do with a pair of jeans and check shirt which they can often find in their own wardrobe, whilst perhaps purchasing a cowboy hat, neckerchief or bootlace tie (depending on the cowboy in question) and suitable weapons. The addition of cowboy chaps (which go over the jeans) and a matching waistcoat can certainly add a touch of authenticity. For those not possessing a check shirt, there are also a number of cowboy shirts readily available.

Other suitable cowboy alternatives could be a Sheriff's costume, either wear a frock coat or just add a Sheriff Badge to any standard cowboy costume. What about an Outlaw style of costume? Add a long coat over a standard cowboy costume.

It had been hoped that 2013 might see a revival of interest in the Western genre with the release of a new Lone Ranger film, although it practice it did not make much impact at the box office and last we heard it was up for a 'Razzie' as one of the worst films of 2013! Nonetheless, it features Arnie Hammer in the title role and Johnny Depp as his faithful Indian scout sidekick Tonto - neatly sidestepping problems of 'ethnicity' with an interesting black/white tribal-style face-paint design and what looks like a dead crow headdress (apparently Tonto's 'spirit guide').

Halloween is not the only time that the Executioner costume is required. It is also a macho style costume for a range of historical events, which otherwise might involve males having to wear tights. Most notably, when going as a group or couple, for the Tudor or Medieval periods. Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII may be the usual combo, but for something a bit different the hooded executioner normally dressed all in black (although red and black variations also exist) can certainly be an interesting addition, particularly if wielding his double headed or single headed axe.

This tends to be a popular costume for those males who are perhaps not so keen to dress up. It generally consists of a double breasted pinstripe suit, fedora or trilby hat, plus black shirt and white tie. The addition of spats (which are supposedly designed to stop the shoes getting muddy) can also be a feature. As with the pirate, the gangster has a macho image that is relatively easy to portray. A machine gun accessory may be included, although these days with health and safety issues and the laws regarding replica weapons, the chances are the unrealistic nature of the toy machine gun in question, and the ability to lose it, means it is sometimes not required. The addition of a violin case in its place can be a good substitute.

A Knight costume can go down well for many events. Whether depicting St George on his Saint's Day (April 23rd, in case you did not know) or one of the Knights of the Round Table - the most popular choice usually being Lancelot (often teamed with Guinevere), or a Monty Python spoof, the Knight is very distinctive. Knights can come in a variety of combinations. The suit of armour might seem like a great idea, but the practicalities of wearing it to a fancy dress party, the weight, lack of mobility, heat factor and cost means most costume outlets will not have this in stock. Instead what will be offered is a fabric top, trousers, and balaclava with a metallic sheen, overlaid with a tabard usually with a George Cross or Fleur de Lys decoration, a belt, sword and sometimes a cape/cloak. There are also a few lightweight latex helmets available to give that authentic touch.

Military Officer

Thanks to the continuing interest in World War II, Naval, Army and RAF officers are in constant demand. The problem with original uniforms, aside from being hot and heavy is that they can also be very well tailored to precise measurements and, because people generally have 'got bigger', rather on the small side. Replica uniforms are usually offered, with some being more authentic than others. Aside from British festivals such as the Goodwood Revival, there are many events where uniforms may be requested, including anniversaries and Glen Miller-style evenings. With World War II also being a subject on the National Curriculum, there has also been a surge of interest in 1940s uniforms for the children's market, rather than just wanting a standard evacuee costume.

Military Uniform
Military Uniform
Gangster costume
Gangster costume
Pirate costume
Pirate costume

The monk is a good costume for those who just want to keep it simple. Consisting of a hooded robe, with or without a collar, a rope belt and cross, this is a popular choice of costume whether for a standard fancy dress party, a medieval event or one on a professions theme. It can be accessorised with a bald pate wig and sandals.

The traditional pirate costume has always been popular with boys of all ages. This may be something to do with the fact that aside from the costume itself which usually consists of breeches, baggy shirt, jacket, hat, plus assorted pirate accessories, a cutlass, sword or pistol is also essential. There was a time when Captain Hook from J M Barrie's book Peter Pan was the obvious pirate that males would choose. Nowadays, following the success of the Pirate of the Caribbean series, males are more likely to be requesting an outfit in the style of Captain Jack Sparrow, as portrayed by Johnny Depp.

Thanks to the Ridley Scott film 'Gladiator', which came out in 2000 and starred Russell Crowe, the Roman armour look is usually the most requested. However, there are many different types of looks to the Roman costume and much may depend upon the character you are thinking of portraying.

For children, a standard Roman Soldier may be all that is required when it comes to dressing up as Romans for the school curriculum. However, as this type of Roman normally has the addition of a sword (which is often confiscated immediately by teachers), the plain toga is an obvious option. When it comes to adults, toga parties are not as popular as they once were (it might have something to do with the fact, it's not as easy as it used to be, to find a white cotton sheet to drape around oneself) but celebrations around Julius Caesar's birthday in July (and his assination in March) or an Ancient Times theme during the summer months are still popular occurrences.

Teddy Boy
As with the Gangster, this is a relatively simple choice for those males who are happy just to don a suit. Admittedly the Teddy Boy suit can be rather more colourful, than the pinstripe dark coloured suits favoured by gangsters. When it comes to the drape jackets, red is perhaps the most requested colour, but there are many other coloured jackets on the market, in varying shades and lengths. The jacket is usually teamed with black drainpipe trousers, white/coloured shirt and a boot lace tie. The Teddy Boy wig, brothel creeper or winkle picker shoes can also be useful additions.

White Suit
The single breasted white suit, with flared trousers may have been an iconic image from the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever, featuring John Travolta as Tony Manero, but it was also a staple costume for many others, during the 1970s and early 1980s. Aside from the fashion addicts of the time who went out and purchased their own, there were various music stars of the era who also possessed one. These included John Lennon, Bjorn and Benny from Abba, Michael Jackson and even Elton John. Teamed with a black or pink shirt you can certainly strike a pose on the dance floor.


Although not all males favour the tight-fitting 'spandex look', superheroes remain a regular request, especially with the newer costumes emphasising the 'six-pack' element! Despite having being around for many years, the popularity of Superman and Batman continues thanks to several 'reboot' films (and we are promised a film featuring both of them again in 2014). In the meantime, whereas these two are from the DC Comics stable, a number of Marvel Comics superheroes have also been seen on screen recently, both individually and as an ensemble. These include Captain America, Iron Man and Hulk. As further 'ensemble films' are promised from both Marvel and DC (in the guise of The Justice League), expect the Superhero genre to continue for many years to come.

White 70s Suit
White 70s Suit

Please Give Us Some Feedback

which Costume from our top 10 would you choose?

  • Cowboy
  • Executioner
  • Roman
  • Monk
  • Pirate
  • Teddy Boy
  • 70s White Suit
  • Gangster
  • Military Uniform
  • Knight
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Would you purchase a fancy dress costume on line?

  • Yes
  • No, please give a reason below
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Why would you not purchase a costume on line?

  • Previous bad experience
  • Worried about payment security
  • Worried about costume quality
  • Worried about costume sizing
  • Other, please state your reason in the comments box
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Teddy Boy Costume
Teddy Boy Costume

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We'd love to know what you think... 2 comments

Alan rixson 14 months ago

Love the cowboy and horse but no price and no contact number?

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leshey 5 years ago from England

Love the cowboy and horse! Fantastic!

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