"The joy of dressing is an art." — John Galliano
Feathers, sequins, battery powered lights — all nestled and flung together in a big red plastic tub in my closet. If you need it, I probably have it. Though I’ve always had a party box, this is my most outstanding to date.
Ever since I was little, I’ve always loved dressing up. My dad sewed my Halloween costumes every year, which allowed me to choose pretty much anything to be. My costumes ranged from a rainbow pegasus to a ballerina cat.
In high school, Friday night home football games were my favorite day of the week because I could put on an aggressive amount of glitter, face paint and themed clothes.
I’d started collecting pieces of clothing from thrift shops, party stores and my grandma, regardless of whether they had a practical use toward the end of high school. In college, especially in the first couple years, Halloween became my “thing” and these pieces of clothing were used as inspiration and incorporated into costumes.
Here is how my party box has grown with me the past three and a half years:
Freshman year, I wanted to prove how fun and outgoing I was, and did so through my costumes. For Halloween, I knew I wanted to go all out. The first night I was an alien, dressed in a matching purple iridescent top and bottom, only complete with a sparkly antena. This was the first costume that started my party box.
I also knew I wanted to create something unique. I decided that I would make a jellyfish hat, complete with battery powered lights and streamers and ribbons that went down to the ground.
I ordered yards of tulle and glitter from Amazon. The hat and the extra ribbon got thrown in the box as well.
Though I was only on campus one semester during my sophomore year, I still managed to add to my party box. I made a Kuzco costume from “The Emperor’s New Groove,” which involved a red t-shirt, a crown made out of yellow felt and a headband and earrings made by sticking earrings through more felt fabric. I even attempted to be a flamingo one night by pinning feather boas to a pink tube top and pink tutu.
All of those feathers and sparkles made their way into the red tub.
Junior year was the year the party box became what it is today. I brought various fun accessories and clothing, like a flashing pink, sparkly cowboy hat and a glittering pink strapless dress, that I had picked up over the summer to school. My friends started to come to me for outfits and fun things to wear to date parties. This was also the year the party box gained its first wig and sequined dresses when I was a disco ball for Halloween.
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This year, I haven’t added to it as much as I would like to. I’m starting to incorporate these unique articles of clothing I previously thought were exclusively for a costume into my daily and nightly rotation.
The most fun accoutrements I have to date are as follows: my grandma’s flapper-esque dress from the 50s she wore out for dancing, a sparkly Playboy tube top from the early 2000s and a long silver tinsel wig.
When I was a freshman, I used costumes as a way to show off my individuality and, in a sense, my style. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to embrace the part of my style that gravitates toward loud, funky clothing, instead of reserving it for a holiday or party.
Creating costumes every year in college has allowed me to explore my style in a way that’s safe, since there is little to no judgment of those who choose to dress up for Halloween or a party. It has directly impacted my confidence because I feel powerful when I wear clothing that makes a statement.
To me, there’s no feeling quite like creating, and then wearing, something that grabs the attention of a whole room.
Most importantly, it’s fun.