New generations are being introduced to fancy dress as a quirky and hip concept, with trendy festivals, such as Bestival on the Isle of White, encouraging attendees to get creative and bring an outfit to fit in with a theme. Bestival’s refreshing take on the old idea has meant their fields are not just awash with music, but peopled by an army of costume-clad revellers too.
The success of the campaign, and indeed the willingness of people to buy in to the idea, meant that in 2010 they were able to achieve a new Guinness World Record for the most people in fancy dress outfits at a single event, with official figures counting the number at 55,000.
The idea behind the likes of Bestival’s accentuates the idea of fancy dress being some king of act of escapism and unashamed fun. Organisers generate hype around their dressing up bonanza by focusing on a theme each year. This tends to be a loose enough concept (for example the underwater theme of 2008) to encourage creativity that helps generate a sense of anticipation amongst groups of friends ahead of the festival weekend.
Elsewhere, televised sporting events such as English test match cricket have become an unconventional magnet for middle aged men to freely dress up in all manner of fancy dress outfits while they watch the sporting drama unfold (what this says about the excitement of the sport on show is a whole other debate). It can help generate a more carnival-like atmosphere, something that stadiums are not going to say no to.
The idea of fully grown men and women of all ages continuing to find fun by taking on a new persona, simply sometimes just for the sake of it, by dressing up demonstrates the continued wide-reaching popularity of dressing up amongst many diverse social demographics.
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