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The Best Eras Fancy Dress

Updated on October 28, 2014

Props n Frocks - THE Fancy Dress Experts

Props n Frocks Fancy Dress has been established since 1998 providing quality costumes from our Essex base and on our website. Our aim is to provide you with FREE fancy dress theme ideas for your next fancy dress party and some fantastic costume and accessory ideas.

Are you looking for quality costumes and accessories? You can be sure you'll receive items that have been 'road checked' in our shop. Any items not good value for money are removed from our stock. Our reputation is fantastic, and we have no wish to loose it! We do offer a range of costumes and accessories to suit all budgets. A costume that is lower priced than a similar looking one is such as it is a poorer quality costume, regardless of what it looks like in the image.

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This page should give you some inspiration if you are going to an 'Eras' Fancy dress party. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment at the bottom of this page.

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Various Eras That Can Be Explored Through Fancy Dress

1920s also known as the 'Roaring Twenties' or 'The Jazz Age'

1930s also known as the 'Flirty Thirties'

1940s also known as 'The War Years'

1950s also known as the 'Rock n Roll' era

1960s also known as the 'Swinging Sixtes'

1970s also know as 'Glam Rock/Disco' era

1920s Ladies Costumes
1920s Ladies Costumes

The 1920-30's Fashion & Costumes

The 1920s are remembered for being a glamorous era, typified by 'The Great Gatsby' and 'The Boyfriend'..

The world was making its recovery from the First World War, and the young people of this era were mainly interested in having a good time and partying, especially after the horrors of the Great War from which thousands of menfolk did not return.

With the 'gender balance' altered, females became bolder and for the first time younger ladies cut their hair, wore make-up and shortened their dress hems. The 'Flapper' or Charleston costume, the iconic outfit of the Twenties, should ideally be level with the knee. Fringing is a commonly-found feature on flapper outfits as it help accentuate the movements made in the 'new' dances such as the Charleston. Sexier costumes are now available but they would never have worn them that short during this time.

Fancy dress parties were becoming regular events during this time amongst the social elite, examples of popular costumes being pierrots and oriental/Egyptian outfits. The upper classes frowned upon the activities of the young but came to accept that things could never again be like they were before the War.

This era also brought sports and other leisure activities high up on peoples agenda.

In the early 1930s, the general look for men was still smart and suits where the favoured choice of many, inspired by Al Capone and the 'gangster' era. The double breasted suit became very popular and every man wanted a striped suit.

For women there was a return of the more genteel, ladylike appearance in the 30s. The feminine figure was encouraged as busts and waistlines were seen. Hairstyles became more softer and pretty with curls and perms.

Evening wear was becoming more glamorous, new fabrics were emerging with even more glitzy, sequins and beads. The bias cut allowed fabric to swirl and halterneck and cowl necks also became popular. Ladies where copying the glamorous Hollywood 30s filmstars.

1920s & 1930s Costume Suggestions

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Black & White Flapper CostumeMens Gangster CostumeCharleston - Large sizeBlack Charleston CostumeWhite Flapper CostumeDorothy - Wizard of OzSnow White Costume1930s Glamour1920s Bathing Costume
Black & White Flapper Costume
Black & White Flapper Costume
Mens Gangster Costume
Mens Gangster Costume
Charleston - Large size
Charleston - Large size
Black Charleston Costume
Black Charleston Costume
White Flapper Costume
White Flapper Costume
Dorothy - Wizard of Oz
Dorothy - Wizard of Oz
Snow White Costume
Snow White Costume
1930s Glamour
1930s Glamour
1920s Bathing Costume
1920s Bathing Costume

A 1920-30's flapper dress

A 1920-30's flapper dress
A 1920-30's flapper dress

1940s American Uniform

A 1940'S American Uniform
A 1940'S American Uniform

1940's Fashion & Costume Suggestions

The 1940s were principally war years. Unlike the Great War, the hostilities affected many not involved in the fighting, with air raids causing devastation and hardship. This was a time of austerity, where everyone had to make do and mend, avoid waste and improvise where goods were in short supply..

With the rationing in the UK started in June 1941, ladies had no choice but to make clothing out of anything they could lay their hands on and remaking and remodelling old clothing using materials including parachute silk.

Ladies wore boxy jackets or tops with a nipped in waist and a skirt after a while trousers begun to be worn for convenience.

Uniforms were seen everywhere within the 1940s, this also continued well after the war was over in 1945

Suggestions for the 1940s

Mickey Rooney

Spencer Tracy

Clark Gable

Gene Autry

Tyrone Power

Humphrey Bogart

Dads Army

Army Uniforms

RAF Uniforms

German Officer Uniforms.

Bette Davis

Rita Hayworth

Betty Grable

Lauren Bacall

Ingrid Bergman

Vera Lynn

Land Army Girl

ATS

1940s Nurse

Tea Dresses

Some 40's Costume Suggestions

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1940s Nurse Costume1940s Day (Tea) DressRAF Uniform40s Land Army GirlDad's Army Style CostumeAmerican GI UniformLadies American GI CostumeLadies 1940s RAF Uniform40s RAF UniformLadies UK Army Uniform
1940s Nurse Costume
1940s Nurse Costume
1940s Day (Tea) Dress
1940s Day (Tea) Dress
RAF Uniform
RAF Uniform
40s Land Army Girl
40s Land Army Girl
Dad's Army Style Costume
Dad's Army Style Costume
American GI Uniform
American GI Uniform
Ladies American GI Costume
Ladies American GI Costume
Ladies 1940s RAF Uniform
Ladies 1940s RAF Uniform
40s RAF Uniform
40s RAF Uniform
Ladies UK Army Uniform
Ladies UK Army Uniform

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1950s Fashion & Costume Suggestions

After the 1940s and the War, from the mid-50s, as rationing stopped, fashions took on some major changes - The Rock-n-Roll era had begun. 50s fashion was, to an extent, influenced by American trends in the early days but then Britain began to develop its own style in parallel.

The 1950s woman dressed very smartly. Older women tended to go for the the narrow skirts called pencil skirts, While the younger women or the era opted for the wide swing skirts ( these being the well known poodle skirt or the shirt dresses pulled in at the waist with a cinch belt.)

Many 1950s young men wore tailored suits in bright colours (and contrast facings) with narrow 'drainpipe' trousers, (these where known as teddy boy suits because they echoed the styles last seen in the Edwardian early-1900s). In addition, men used bright shirts, often with bootlace ties, and bright socks and thick crepe-soled suede shoes to finish the look.

Here are some Costume Suggestions...

Rizzo

Sandy

Marilyn Monroe

Doris Day

Teddy Girl

Preppie Girl

Danny

Bill Hayley

Elvis

James Dean

Marlon Brando

Buddy Holly

Teddy Boy

A 1950s Poodle Skirt

A 1950's Poodle Skirt
A 1950's Poodle Skirt

1960s Costume Suggestions

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Ladies Mini Dress CostumeLadies Hippy CostumeMens Hippy CostumeUnisex Hippy CostumeAustin Powers CostumeFelicity Shagwell CostumeMod Girl CostumeMary Quant Style CostumeHippy Costumes
Ladies Mini Dress Costume
Ladies Mini Dress Costume
Ladies Hippy Costume
Ladies Hippy Costume
Mens Hippy Costume
Mens Hippy Costume
Unisex Hippy Costume
Unisex Hippy Costume
Austin Powers Costume
Austin Powers Costume
Felicity Shagwell Costume
Felicity Shagwell Costume
Mod Girl Costume
Mod Girl Costume
Mary Quant Style Costume
Mary Quant Style Costume
Hippy Costumes
Hippy Costumes

1960's Fashion & Costume Suggestions

The 1960s, also known as the 'Swinging Sixties' had a number of different fashion trends attached to it.

Early 1960s fashion for ladies brought us pillbox hats and suits usually in pastel colours, with short boxy jackets, and oversized buttons.(Again, some American influence here, as this style was favoured by Jackie Kennedy, wife of the new US President). Very simple, geometric dresses, known as shifts, were also seen, then for the evening wear, full-skirted gowns were worn; Stiletto-heeled shoes were widely popular.

In the mid-1960s, designer Mary Quant helped popularise the mini-skirt, which completely changed the 1960s fashion scene, and came to be worn by nearly every stylish young female in the western world. Quant enhanced the use of the skirt by producing accessories and cosmetics to help create a total look: With legs now 'on show', colourful tights in plain and multi-colours became popular, as did ankle and knee-length PVC boots. With short skirts came shorter hairstyles and for the face, the emphasis was on the eyes, with bright colours and false lashes coming into their own, helped by the iconic model Twiggy.

From the introduction of the mini- skirt came the mini and baby doll dresses. These were made in floaty fabric such as chiffon. By the later part of the mid 1960s the micro-minis had been born. This pushed the way forward for the "angel dress" to make its first appearance.

The 1960s also introduced us to the Mods and Rockers.

The rockers liked 1950s rock-and roll, wore black leather jackets, greased hairstyles, and rode motorbikes

The Mods were classy they wore tailored suits in the Italian style, which were topped with anoraks and they rode on scooters, (This was also known as the city gent look of the time).

The later part of the 1960s the Flared and bell bottoms trousers also made their first appearance in the 1960s leading the way into the hippy revolution.

Around this time both sexes wore frayed bell-bottomed jeans, tie-dyed shirts, workshirts, and headbands and took to wearing sandals. Peasant blouses, gypsy-style skirts, scarves, and bangles were worn by teenage girls and young women. But for the more conservative lady there was lounging pyjamas. (These consisted of a tunic top over floor-length culottes, and were usually made of polyester or chiffon).

Costume Suggestions for the 1960s

Austin Powers

Avengers

Dolly Bird

James Bond

Pink Panther

England Footballer

Mini Dresses

Elizabeth Taylor (Cleopatra 1962)

Cher

Twiggy

Julie Andrews (Sound Of Music 1965)

Mary Poppins (1966)

Star Trek

Lady Penelope

Catwoman

Bunny Girl

Cruella de Vil (1962)

Eliza Dolittle (1964 My Fair Lady)

Beatles

Elvis

Hippy

Jimi Hendrix

Sonny

The Krays

Peter O'Toole (Lawrence of Arabia 1962)

Dick Van Dyke; Popular American comedian, probably best known for playing Bert the Sweep in Mary Poppins (1962) and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

Thunderbirds

Star Trek

A 1960s POPULAR SUIT

A 1960'S POPULAR SUIT
A 1960'S POPULAR SUIT

1970's Fashion & Costume Suggestions

The 1970s fashion began with a continuation of the mini skirts, bell-bottoms and the hippie look from the late 1960s.

This was soon changing and leading the way for the 70s clothing we all know and love the platform shoes which where worn by both men and women, the flared jeans and wide leg trousers were another fashion mainstay for both sexes throughout most of the 1970s. Also, alongside the flared look came the tight-fitting shorts (Hot Pants) for the fashion craze for girls and young women.

The fitted blazer was another trend adopted by both sexes. The blazer was flared slightly at the hip, the buttons were covered and the lapels wide.

By the end of the 1970s the disco look was making its appearance the famous three piece suit for men, ( as worn by John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever) which became available in a bewildering variety of colours, the lapels became wider, neckties became wider and bolder, and shirt collars became long and pointed

The jumpsuit and wrap-around skirts and dresses were all becoming very popular choice of the decade.

Costume Suggestions for the 1970s

Abba

Huggie Bear

Charlie's Angels

Grease ( Pink Ladies & T Birds) ( although set in 1950s, the film was released in 1977)

John Travolta

Star Wars

Madness

The Specials

Mods

Rockers

Bee Gees

Elton John

David Bowie

Bay City Rollers

Bee Gees

Kiss

Marc Bolan

Rod Stewart

Stevie Wonder

Slade

Punk

Glam Rock

Star Wars

Kate Bush

3 Degrees

Some More 70s Costume Suggestions

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Ladies 1970s costumeElvis CostumePunk CostumeElton John Overhead MaskDarth Vader Costume
Ladies 1970s costume
Ladies 1970s costume
Elvis Costume
Elvis Costume
Punk Costume
Punk Costume
Elton John Overhead Mask
Elton John Overhead Mask
Darth Vader Costume
Darth Vader Costume

How about adding that little bit of extra sparkle and add some accessories!

Once you have spent the time picking the costume that is just right for you.

You may decided that you wish to accessorize your costume. There are some fabulous accessories available to add that little bit of extra sparkle.

Below is a little taster of just some of the accessories that are available to add the perfect finishing touch to your chosen costume.

1970s Accessories

* Eyelashes - a must for a ladies fancy dress costume

* Platform Boots

* Platform shoes - for both men and women

* Bling Jewellery for a pimp costume - includes rings, necklaces, medallions

* Wigs - for both men and women

* Punk accessories - including spiked collars, tattoo sleeves, mohican wigs and fake body piercings

A 1970'S JUMPSUIT

A 1970'S JUMPSUIT
A 1970'S JUMPSUIT

Have a look at some of the fantastic costumes available

1980's Fashion & Costume Suggestions

In the 1980s both both men and women began to wear looser shirts and tight, close-fitting pants.

Men were wearing power suits as a result of the greater tendency in the 1980s for people to display their wealth this was the era of the Yuppie.

Despite the 'fashion houses' becoming less influential, brand names and 'labels' became increasingly important in this decade with the like of Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein becoming more household names.

During the 1980s, Madonna was many young girls fashion icon. Around the time of the very popular film Flashdance (1983) maked ripped sweatshirts the next in thing.

The 1980s also brought us many fashion dilemmas, including...

The Shell Suit

Puffball and Ra Ra Skirts

Acid Wash Jeans

Parachute Pants

Cocktail Dresses

Leggings, Leg warmers

Tailored Suits - with big shoulder pads

Two Tone Suits that had trousers that stopped above the ankle to show the socks that were being worn.

Costume Suggestions for the 1980s

Blues Brothers

Adam Ant

Ozzie Osbourne

Pet shop boys

Spandau ballet

Tina Turner

Village People

Madonna

Fame

Banarama

Wonder Woman

Cyndi Lauper

Tina Turner

Toyah Wilcox

Ra Ra Skirts

Adam And The Ants

Duran Duran

David Bowie

Bryan Ferry

Boy George

Freddie Mercury

Miami Vice

Nightmare on Elm Street

Friday 13th

Stars Wars (Empire Strikes Back)

Madness

Top Gun

US Naval Uniform (Officer & A Gentleman - 1982)

Indiana Jones

Rambo

Beetlejuice

Blackadder

He-man

New Romantic

Punk

More 80s Costume Suggestions

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Super Mario CostumeFreddy Mercury Style CostumeTina Turner CostumeMichael Jackson Thriller CostumeBeetlejuice CostumeBlue Gnome - SmurfOompa Loompa CostumeRambo CostumeFreddy Kreuger CostumeIndiana Jones Costume
Super Mario Costume
Super Mario Costume
Freddy Mercury Style Costume
Freddy Mercury Style Costume
Tina Turner Costume
Tina Turner Costume
Michael Jackson Thriller Costume
Michael Jackson Thriller Costume
Beetlejuice Costume
Beetlejuice Costume
Blue Gnome - Smurf
Blue Gnome - Smurf
Oompa Loompa Costume
Oompa Loompa Costume
Rambo Costume
Rambo Costume
Freddy Kreuger Costume
Freddy Kreuger Costume
Indiana Jones Costume
Indiana Jones Costume

A 1980s STYLE DRESS

A 1980'S STYLE DRESS
A 1980'S STYLE DRESS

We Love To Know What You Think...

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Drop your comments here regarding fancy dress parties set in a particular era. Did you have a good time? What sort of costumes were there?

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    • CruiseReady profile image

      CruiseReady 6 years ago from East Central Florida

      Love the purple flapper!