Nancy Dress vs The Ugly Suit:
The Fine Art of Fancy Dress



Depending on who your friends are, the word PARTY can elicit a completely different host of images. For example, you say 'Blondie': she says 'Abba'. You say 'Cider': she says 'Sex on the Beach'. And nowhere is this partying disparity displayed more clearly than at that most time-honoured of carnival rituals: the fancy dress party.

bunny girl


Sadly, most fancy dress parties are attended by people in costumes so crap that they desecrate the manifesto of fancy dress. This mode of party dressing should therefore be renamed Nancy Dress.

A male Nancy Dresser will usually disappoint by turning up as Elvis or just bottling it in flares and an afro wig. Excuse me, that is not fancy dress! What have you come as anyway? Only every single male who was old and able enough to dress himself at any given point between 1970 and 1980. ONLY him!

It's even better when boys cop out and dress up as a random woman. Oh, her. Only any person of the female gender then. Yeah nice one. In favour of males, at least they are willing to look stupid. The value of stupidity is essential when fancy dressing, as we will see later.


Nancy Dresser girls simply will not go to a fancy dress party and risk looking stupid. God forbid nobody at the party wanted to pork her because she looked a little on the blokey side for one night. The female Nancy Dresser is the girl who will wear a fairy/ French maid/ Ballerina/ Fame character outfit. She is the girl who, at Hallowe'en, will be the Sexy Witch. Or, the epitome of bad sportsmanship... that heinous horror of fancy dress... a Bunny Girl. The Bunny Girl makes you want to blow an air horn in her ear from behind so she jumps and spills her Sex On the Beach down that stupid white shirt thing that's like a bib. Girl Nancy Dressers favour whatever they consider to be the disgusting, drool-inducing fantasy of a mundane man. Bunny girls blatantly want anal. And yes, there is something wrong with that.

charlie dimmock


So, you receive a party invite from your Abba-loving, Sex on the Beach-drinking friend. I know: but you've known her or a long time, she can't help being ditzy. Though all the attendees will undoubtedly be Nancy Dressers, there is fun to be had at this kind of party. Unfortunately, it's fun you have to make. Luckily, making your own fun in this situation is a piece of proverbial piss.

By wearing an Ugly Suit (the opposite of Nancy Dress) you are guaranteed entertainment for the whole evening. Especially if you take another friend in an Ugly Suit to laugh at you - you can laugh at them too. A few Lambrinis and a pair of Ugly Suits - now that's what I call a party.


So what is an Ugly Suit? Say for instance you wear a straight-jacket and don't wash your hair - or your pubic area - for the week building up to the event. Genius. Or you get a big ginger wig, some hiking boots and Marks and Spencers jeans, lose your bra and - hey presto! It's Charlie Dimmock! A big white cloak, painted on wrinkles, pointy hat and throne on wheels....The pope, no less! However, the highlight of any such occasion is the ridicule and confusion you will engender in those pedestrian party partners, the Nancy Dressers.

'Nancy dresser girls will not go to a fancy dress party and risk looking stupid'

the pope


When a Nancy Dresser meets someone in an Ugly Suit they seldom know quite what to say. It's a mixture of confusing emotions for them. They feel sorry for you because you are ugly. They secretly want to laugh at you, but then they run the risk of being a horrible, bad person, which isn't who they want to be. On top of all that, they're upset with you and get huffy because you're going to ruin all of the photos, you fucking bitch. Sweet.

Of course there are other factors which will rock this shindig. Getting your tits out, snogging someone's boyfriend, and vomiting, a personal favourite, should never be overlooked. And if you're strapped for time, don't forget that pretty much any outfit that involves a bald-head wig automatically becomes an Ugly Suit. Perfection in fancy dress!



W H E R E ?
Relief Fund For Romania, Clapham.

W H E N ?
June 2001.

W H A T ?
Trying on a pinstripe man's suit jacket for that Patti Smith look. I slide my hands into the pockets in order to slouch attractively before the mirror. My hands touch something cold, plastic, wet. A knotted, used condom full of sperm. Neeurgh. How gross! Just this once, the shop let me use their staff's hand-washing facilities. Thank fuck.

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T H R I F T   F A C T I O D

Then again, there's always BARTERING. Have a clothes swap in your front room and give the leftovers to charity. No cash involved. Revolution!!!!