Easy Cheap Fancy Dress Ideas

Add a decorative border to a long tunic cut from a sheet.
Add a decorative border to a long tunic cut from a sheet. (Image: Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

When you want to dress up fast in a fancy dress outfit, prepare to make simple changes to traditional wear, which means you don't have to spend tons of money on a fancy dress outfit at the store. Cheap and fancy dress-up ideas are easy using insider trips from the fashion industry.


Dress up in a tuxedo or evening gown with a mask for a masquerade. If you're thinking of Phantom's character in "Phantom of the Opera," that's the idea! A mask is something you can wear attached to your head with a piece of string or elastic, or buy or make a mask that you hold in front of your face. Dress up this masquerade idea with shiny shoes and a fancy hairdo.


To go with Roman fashion for your next dress-up event, take a simple sheet, or a fancy decorated sheet, and cut it into a tunic. You can tie the toga at the waist with a simple rope. Dress up this idea by crafting a headdress out of garland, ivy, flowers, baby's breath or another colorful flowering vine or plant. To substitute for live plants in a headdress, use artificial flower trim sold at the local craft store.


A guy or a girl seeking to dress up over a pair of black pants and a white dress or linen shirt will find this idea easy. To do this the cheap way, just purchase a few accessories or find them at a thrift shop. You need an eye patch, a black or brown vest and a sword. Optional accessories are face makeup, long striped socks, a black or red scarf to tie over the head and chunky jewelry.

Period Dress

If you like to shop at vintage stores, it's easy to turn clothes from the early 20th century or earlier, such as colonial America wear, into a period dress costume. Men should look for a trousers and vest combo. Ladies only need a dress and perhaps matching petticoats. To make a period dress more authentic, use the Internet to find the right hairstyles popular at that time. Add jewelry, a coat or shawl and antique-looking jewelry. You should be able to get away with plain leather shoes for period costumes.

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