I have a Devil Wears Prada moment when I see a girl in a pair of denim shorts and a flannel shirt at a Western-themed party ("Florals for spring? Groundbreaking.") Obviously it’s better than the negative eighty-eight points I award anyone who shows up at at costume party in regular, normal clothes—but still.
To me, a theme party’s an opportunity to be creative, which means mentally shelving the first outfit idea that pops into my head. Odds are it’s the same thing 90 percent of the girls invited will wear, too, making that dress code more like a uniform.
Instead, I like these outfits in the slideshow below. They’re each a bit more creative than the typical costumes for each decade, TV show and holiday theme party—without any crafting, DIY or costume store shopping involved. (Also, they’re things you’ll actually wear again in real life. You know, to parties whose dress code is simply "casual" or "cocktail.")
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