When it comes to costume parties there seems to be two types of people in the world – those who embrace a theme with gusto and go all out, and then other type, who their roll eyes and groan and make a half-hearted attempt.
I’m in the second group. I recently attended a three-day conference in Port Douglas, which naturally got me super excited about the packing when it came to resort dressing.
I laid everything out on the floor and accessorised each outfit separately like a committed Instagram influencer: black swimsuit, straw hat, tan sandals, white muslin robe, retro sunglasses for the pool, tick.
Linen dress, hoop earrings, espadrilles, leather tote bag for lunch, tick. Silk trousers, peasant blouse, dangly earring, sandals, satin clutch for dinner, sorted.
And then I read the itinerary. First night cocktail theme – all white. Second night, Boogie Fever. The horror.
White doesn’t seem so bad, but a quick wardrobe check showed that I had nothing suitable for a poolside cocktail. White jeans, no, too hot. A white shirt. Boring.
I don’t own a white dress except for a long, flowing muslin one I bought at an up-market hippie shop, but the effect is more 19th century ghostly woman clutching a candelabra than it is poolside chic.
And Boogie Fever? Dear God. I hate ’70s fashion. If I looked like Michelle Pfeiffer in Scarface then I think I could get excited about it, but my days of looking good in a clingy jersey halter neck dress are long gone. If indeed they ever existed.
I called my colleague, who was also packing.
“What on earth are we going to wear for Boogie Fever?” I screeched at her. “Oh I’ve thrown some things in my suitcase, we’ll work it out,” she said.
Fast forward to us the next day in our hotel suite, pulling random pieces of clothing out of our suitcases that had nothing whatsoever to do with either theme.
“I thought I’d wear this kimono dressing gown,” Lisa said. “With what?” I asked dubiously. She showed me a pair of high-waisted, wool Max Mara trousers. That didn’t fit anymore. And a pair of tan, high-heeled sandals. It was very 2018.
We decided she could wear my black satin slip underneath the robe and a glossy red lip and that would have to do.
I had, in my infinite wisdom, eschewed disco glam and thrown in a peasant blouse, Gypsy earrings and platforms, but nothing to wear from the waist down. My hair had turned into a massive, curly frizz-ball from the heat, so at least I had something vaguely ’70s going on.
I pulled on a pair of black silk pants and the result was that I didn’t look Boogie Fever glam, just vaguely terrible. As we entered the room I saw to my horror that everyone had made a huge effort – there was a full Ziggy Stardust look, men with open shirts, flares and long flowing hair, there were caftans and boots and mini dresses and amazing wigs.
I slid into my seat in my sad, apologetic peasant look to see that the woman on my left was dressed as a human mirror ball, complete with silver body paint. Note to self for next time: room service.