Costume parties can be great fun, but who wants to dress up as a clown or a witch when you can flex your fashion muscles and choose a fancy dress costume based on someone you'd actually like to dress like instead? We firmly believe Halloween, or any other costume party for that matter, is the perfect excuse to get dressed up in the true sense of the world and have fun with all those outfits we never get the opportunity to wear at any other time. Here are our Top Ten suggestions for fashionable fancy dress:
1. Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's
The ultimate fashion icon, and a really easy outfit to do, too: a little black dress, a string of pearls, a cigarette holder and some winged eyeliner are all you'll need: either tease your hair into a beehive and secure with hairspray, or buy a cheap wig. Viola: instant Audrey!
(Click here for a more in-depth look at the Audrey Hepburn fancy dress costume idea)
2. Jackie Kennedy
The first lady of style! Create your Jackie O costume with the aid of a black wig cut into a bob, a pillbox hat, twinset or boxy jacket (think Chanel), pencil skirt and gloves. Add a pair of dark glasses and a rich husband and you're all set. OK, maybe just forget the rich husband bit...
3. Marilyn Monroe
Instantly recognisable and never out of fashion, a Marilyn Monroe fancy dress costume is your opportunity to unleash your inner blonde bombshell. You might need to buy a wig for this one, and a white dress wouldn't go amiss either: other than that, a slick of eyeliner and some bright red lipstick will help create that old Hollywood glamour.
(Click here for a fuller guide to this costume)
4. Lady Gaga
OK, so "style" may not be synonymous with Lady Gaga, but fashion definitely is. If your budget won't quite stretch to Alexander McQueen, don't worry: this costume is basically an excuse to let your imagination run wild, and wear the most outlandish outfit you can come up with. We have some Lady Gaga costume ideas here for you, or you could always try making yourself a meat suit. No? Not even a little bit tempted?
5. Anna Wintour
Vogue's editor-in-chief is a great option for true fashion fans (who don't mind spending the evening explaining to their non-fashion obsessed friends just who they're supposed to be). You can wear anything you consider stylish (Anna tends to favour print dresses with big skirts) for this, as long as you add the famous Wintour bob (buy a wig if you need to) and a pair of dark glasses, which you must not remove under any circumstances. A ferocious scowl will finish this one off perfectly.
6. Joan Holloway from Mad Men
Love Mad Men? Love Christina Hendricks? Just love a bit of 60s style? Joan Holloway is your perfect fancy dress choice: even better if you happen to be a redhead. Once again, the beehive hairdo is key to this look: once that's in place, all you're going to need is a secretary-style pencil dress (perfect excuse to buy one if you don't own one already: trust us, you'll wear it enough to justify the purchase) and a cigarette: any joke shop will sell you a fake one if you're a non-smoker.
7. Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction
It's Mrs Mia Wallace! Simple but effective, all this costume requires is a white shirt, black capri pants, and a slick of Chanel's Rogue Noir. Oh, and if you don't have hair like Uma Thurman's in this movie you're going to have to spring for a wig (don't worry, you can re-use it when you dress as Anna Wintour next year...).
8. Cher from Clueless
If you were a teenager in the 90s, a Cher-from-Clueless fancy dress costume might just come easy to you. Plaid skirt? Knee socks? Lots of shopping bags? (Bonus points if you actually went shopping in order to acquire these) Well, then, you're just so adorably Clueless, aren't you? Altogether now: "But daddy...!"
9. Flapper Girl
Sure, it's generic, but if you appreciate the fashion of the 1920s, a flapper girl costume can also be a lot of fun. Beaded dresses, strings of pearls, feathered headbands and art-deco style jewellery will all work here, as will anything beaded, sequined or feathered. Oh, and you're going to need that wig you bought for the Uma Thurman/Anna Wintour costumes: the bob was big in the 20s...
10. Pin-Up Girl
OK, we admit it: we included this one purely to give ourselves an excuse to shop from some of our favourite vintage reproduction clothes sites. If you can find true vintage in this style then so much the better, but the pin-up look is popular enough right now to mean you'll have no problem finding something inexpensive on eBay if you're having difficulty working out what to wear. On that subject, you're going to want to look for wiggle dresses, pencil skirts, capri pants, anything vaguely nautically themed: there are so many different options with this look that you can have a lot of fun with it and find something flattering. Hair and makeup are key to the pin-up style: if you're having trouble recreating that perfectly coiffed 40s 'do, there are lots of wigs on eBay that'll make it easy on you.