Monthly Archives: June 2013

Celebrating Your Flirty Thirties | Party Connection

Those of you hitting the bit 3-0 this year are no doubt wondering how to mark the occasion. Next stop is forty, so you’d better make this one a birthday to remember! And what better way to mark your thirties than by rewinding to the decade of your birth and having a ‘Back to the Eighties’ party?
First on the agenda: tunes. Big hits in 1983 were ‘Billie Jean’ and ‘Beat It’ by Michael Jackson, ‘Rock the Casbah’ by The Clash and ‘Come on Eileen’ by Dexys Midnight Runners. Add these to your party playlist along with other 80s classics from INXS, Prince and Spandau Ballet, and break out the cheese and pineapple cubes on cocktail sticks for pure 80s nostalgia.
Kit your party venue out with our Totally 80s and 80s Shapes drinks coasters and make sure there are plenty of inflatable microphones and guitars for your neon-clad guests to strut their stuff with. Add a couple of inflatable ghetto blasters for posing with, and you’re sure to have a hilarious night throwing funky shapes to those electro beats.
Decorate your venue with printed and laminated posters for 80s movies like Back to the Future, The Goonies and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – or go for cartoon posters: think Button Moon, Postman Pat and Rainbow! Another option, of course, is to print album iconic 80s album covers. If you’re feeling creative you could photoshop your face onto the existing images and give your guests a good laugh!
Club Tropicana drinks are free, remember – so kit out your bar area with a couple of inflatable palm trees or even an inflatable palm tree cooler so your pals can help themselves to something cold and alcoholic throughout the evening. If you can rope someone in to running a bar for you, cocktails should be the order of the day. The more garish the better, so grab someone of our Summer Brights drinks stirrers. Paper umbrellas optional!
f you’re stuck for a costume idea, you’ve come to the right place – we’ve got Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle outfits if you feel like dressing up as a childhood superhero. If neon and netting is more your thing, knock yourself out with our kaleidoscope of all things tight and bright, from oversized lacy headbands á la Madonna to Cher-inspired neon garters, fishnets and tutus. And remember, the 80s was the era of the androgynous look perfected by Prince and Adam Ant, so feel free and express yourself!
Our 80s Video Star costume kit includes a shocking pink wig and gold leggings, and our 80s Video Superstar costume is the very thing for those who can (or think they can) breakdance like MC Hammer. Arm yourself with a host of colourful eighties wigs to plonk on the heads of any guests whose outfits don’t quite make the grade, and get ready to vogue the night away…
by Peter Walker

What to wear to a fabulous forties themed party | Party Connection

The 40s were a time of war, austerity and rationing, but the era is also remembered as a time of glamour and excitement as World War II came to an end.
Women were always well groomed, in elegant tea dresses topped with a head of gleaming coiffured curls, despite the fact that they would often barely have two pennies to rub together, gravy browning for stockings and only meagre clothing coupons to buy clothes. Men were suited and booted, glossy Brylcreemed barnets matching the shine on their highly polished shoes, or sporting smart military uniforms as they defended our country.
The 40s make a great theme for a party. The big band sounds of Glen Miller and Duke Ellington, the soulful warbling of Vera Lynn and the smooth crooning of Frank Sinatra all make for a great forties party soundtrack. There were many cultural influences that feature in the forties look – from military glamour to land girls to film star beauty.
Create your own fabulous forties party look with our guide to 40s fashion.
Military glamour
Dress up as a Forces sweetheart with a glamorous twist in a ladies wartime officer suit , complete with authentic green officer’s jacket with medals, green pencil skirt, and mock shirt with tie and a matching jaunty hat.
Put the Tommies through their paces with a smart men’s wartime officer costume . Medals on the green khaki jacket, trousers with a razor-sharp crease and a mock tie, shirt, and matching beret complete the military officer look.
Get your forties party off to a flying start and take to the proverbial skies with a squadron leader’s outfit – add a bomber jacket, flying hat and goggles, and a splendidly abundant moustache and it’s chocks away my old son!
Land girls
Land girls were known for their true-Brit grit, strength, stamina, and above all, earthy glamour. Create the land girl look at your own 40s party with a pair of wide-leg trousers, a short knotted at the waist, and a pretty knotted scarf tied up in a glamorous pin-curled forties-style wig .
Shovel and fingernails full of dirt optional!
Forties tea party with film star glamour
If there’s one thing that ladies in the forties knew how to throw, it was a fabulous tea party. Scour flea markets and antique shops for pretty little china cups and saucers, put up some Union Jack bunting, and pop some Vera Lynn on the gramophone (or MP3 if yours is in the pawn shop).
Fill cake stands with sugary delicacies and little sandwiches with the crusts cut off, and invite your friends round to sip on cups of naughty Earl Grey (gorgeous when laced with a little gin), nibble on cupcakes and gossip.
As well as being great sources of authentic forties chinaware, flea markets are a treasure trove of vintage clothing. Search your local one for forties style tea dresses – think nipped-in waists, sleeves puffed-up on the shoulder, and floral or polka-dotted prints.
Or hunt for a dress fit for a film star – channel Marlene in a long slinky silk or satin number, with the addition of a white feather boa and sequinned cigarette holder.
Add a glamorous wig to make you look like a true pin-up girl, some cute T-bar shoes and some stockings with a saucy line down the back – or go the whole authentic austere forties hog and rub some fake tan into your legs and get a chum to draw a line down the back of your legs with black eyeliner! Well, not absolutely authentic – I wouldn’t ask you to do the gravy browning trick now would I?
by Peter Walker

What to wear to a 20s party | Party Connection

The release of Baz Luhrmann’s Gatsby movie, set in the Roaring Twenties, has reignited interest in this glamorous era of gangsters, molls, jazz, dancing and parties parties parties.
In the 20s there was always an excuse for a party and you can capture the essence of this feeling of flighty freedom at your own twenties themed party.

The twenties were also referred to as the “Jazz Age” and the soundtrack to your 20s party has to include the tunes to get your guests up on the floor doing the Charleston, Tango, Foxtrot and Waltz.
Think fun, frivolity, dancing and a little bit of danger, get your flapper wigs and spats  on and follow our guide to 20s themed fancy dress.
What to wear

When it comes to choosing what to wear at your twenties party, remember that it was a time when girls were girls and boys were boys. Women dressed in flirty flapper dresses , their hair in neat bobs or waves, wearing cute little shoes made for dancing.  The men were elegant and dapper, rocking a zoot suit , hair slicked back, spiv tash at the ready.
20s themed fancy dress
The Great Gatsby
Parties, glamour and excess run through the iconic book and the Gatsby movie, which sums up the danger and decadence of the era. Modern designers have taken up the glamorous Gatsby mantle – all slinky flapper dresses and jewelled headdresses.
You can get the Gatsby girl  look for a fraction of the designer price label – our slinky Gatsby Girl costume , topped with a jaunty Charleston headband , embodies the sophisticated but flirty look. Add a sleek 1920s bob wig , a feathered boa and a sexy garter , slipping a tiny gun in there to add your own dark and dangerous secret to your look.
If you’re dressing up as the Great Gatsby himself, you can recreate the power and glamour of the enigmatic tycoon with a sophisticated pinstripe suit . Sling a white tasselled scarf around your neck and revive the 20s look with a seriously dirty martini and a flapper girl on each arm.
Gangsters and molls at the speakeasy
Prohibition in the twenties made the manufacture, import and sale of beer, wine and hard liquor illegal. So what did people do when they wanted a drink and a dance? They went to a speakeasy of course.  And no real speakeasy’s to speak of unless it’s full of gangsters and molls. Signpost your guests to the action with a glitzy Speakeasy sign.

Speakeasies were the birthplace of infamous gangsters including Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, and Bugs Moran. Invite your guests to come dressed as gangsters and molls. Give it a twist by getting the women to come as the gangsters and the men as the molls!
Al Capone was the archetypal American gangster and head of a crime syndicate called The Chicago Outfit.  Smuggling and bootlegging liquor was a serious business, and they had the serious suits to go with it.
Act like a crime heavyweight in a hefty fat cat costume or get suited and spat-booted in a sharp double breasted chalkstripe suit . This get-up instantly becomes gangster with the artful addition of a white tasselled scarf. Add some white spats  to shoes so shiny you can see your pencil-thin moustache in them, an Al Capone hat tipped at just the right angle so your victims can’t see the whites of your eyes as you approach, and bring the whole dangerous look together with a gangster gun .
Molls won’t be messed with either – you might look like a doll but tuck a gun into your garter under your elegant flapper dress and accessorise with a sequinned cigarette holder and a sweet smile and those philandering gangsters won’t know what’s hit them.
Broadway Babes
Dress up as Roxie Hart or Velma Kelly, the glamorous but deadly murderesses whose story is told in the musical Chicago. Think fringed flapper dresses , a wig of glossy waves , fishnets and killer heels.
Don’t forget to dress your venue too – you might not have Chicago’s skyline silhouetted in your kitchen window, but the next best thing is some great silhouettes of instantly recognisable 20s images.
Pick out a trumpet blowing musician, pinstriped mobster, flapper girl, Tommy gun and the classic Lincoln Coupe styled gangster car  in shadow on your walls and bring the 20s to life in your 21st century living room.
by Peter Walker

Party Traditions we’re never too old for | Party Connection

We reckon you’re never too old for some good old fashioned party games and accessories at your big celebration this summer. Party props and attractions like a piñata, a dressing up box and pin the tail on the donkey will also help get people in the party mood – and if you’re having a fancy dress party, that’s even better! Check out some of our party tips, whatever your celebration.

Dressing Up Box
This is a must for any celebration from hen nights to weddings, “grown up” birthdays – no longer is tussling over tiaras an activity limited to children’s parties! Whatever your party theme (and even if you have none), a clearly situated and signposted basket or suitcase full of dressing up props is a fantastic way to break the ice among your guests whilst creating hilarious photographs. Even better if you can set up a backdrop or ‘photo booth’ for taking pictures in front of. Bung in a load of old costume jewellery and scarves along with a few wigs, a selection of hats (perhaps a few trilbies, Rasta hats and top hats), some oversized glasses and masks and a few packs of comedy moustaches. A clutch of leis and feather boas will bring a little glamour to the occasion, and there’s nothing like a few blow-up microphones, champagne bottles and other musical instruments to get your guests strutting their stuff on the dance floor.
Pin the Tail
Forget the donkey and get creative with the endless fun possibilities presented by this age-old children’s party game – just a bit of cutting and pasting is involved here. Blowing up a large photograph of the birthday girl or boy is a good way to start – then have a think about what prop you might associate with them. Mortar boards, chefs’ hats, stethoscopes, bottles of wine – you get the idea! The same fun can be had on hen and stag weekends… and you decide how rude you make the ‘tail’ substitute! Is your stag a keen footballer? Use a large picture of him and get fellow stags to try to pin a cardboard football to the end of his foot! Hens could follow this suggestion and try pinning the garter on the bride. The possibilities are endless…
A long-time children’s party staple from America, piñatas are now found at summertime parties all over the UK, too. Your piñata (which we offer in a variety of themes and designs) is stuffed full of treats and surprises, then hung from a tree branch and whacked mercilessly with a piñata buster by blindfolded guests (causing much hilarity…) until it’s ripped open and the treats come tumbling down. Fill your piñata with sweets, decorations or favours – things that aren’t too heavy, for obvious reasons. Otherwise we’d suggest mini bottles of flavoured vodka…
Table Decorations
Keep your party theme consistent by dressing your table properly. Paper centrepieces will create striking focal points, and table cloths or table skirts (if you’re going Hawaiian…) will add to the tone. Table confetti is an easy way to jazz things up, and nobody in our experience is ever too old for a couple of party poppers… or a party bag, in fact! If you’re planning a party without a specific theme, look out for our coloured, sparkly and champagne bottle shaped table decorations!
Have fun!
by Peter Walker

Gatsby FEVER | Party Connection

Thanks to the roaring success of Baz Lurhmann’s blockbusting adaptation of ‘The Great Gatsby’, this summer is seeing a wild influx of 1920s-inspired ‘speakeasy’ parties. Think flapper girls, bootleggers, sequins and pearls. Sip champagne, let your hair down and do the Charleston. And leave the costumes and decorations to us…
The fun starts here! Set your expectations high by carefully designing your invitations – your guests will then know that fancy dress is NOT optional but strictly mandatory, darling! Stuff your invitations with a pinch of Hollywood or top hat confetti, then pick a vintage font and stick to black and white colour schemes. Decorate with images of dancing flappers and musical notes, art deco sunbursts, moustaches, beads and feathers. You could even theme your invitation on a ‘Wanted’ poster to ensure those RSVPs and provide a secret password for entry to your speakeasy.
Set the scene
Set up your party venue like a genuine New York speakeasy bar by keeping the lighting low and the jazz turned up high. Your bar will need cocktail glasses for martinis and tumblers for whiskey. Entertainment should be strictly of the illicit kind, so gambling is the order of the day – or night. Bring in roulette wheels and card tables and give your guests a handful of chips for playing with on entry. Amuse your guests by putting their mug shots on ‘WANTED’ signs on the walls and doors and use our gangster silhouette cutouts of jazz musicians, gangsters and molls to set the tone. You could even stage a raid!
We’ve got the props
Get your guests in the mood by providing an exciting dressing-up box and a backdrop to pose for snaps in front of – our art deco ‘Speakeasy’ sign is ideal for this. Grab an armful of feather boas and pearls, wigs, braces and tommy guns and throw them in a large basket or chest for rummaging around in. Gun holsters and spats might encourage any shy and retiring guests to get into the party spirit – and if in doubt get your barman to fix them up with a whiskey sour. Add a few props for posing with, like cigarette holders our gangster car cutout, and you’re good to go.
Dress it up
For the girls – molls and flapper girls, screen sirens and showgirls – it’s all about fringed dresses, ruffles and low waistlines, feathers, pearls and beads. Try out a bobbed wig and long gloves for pure 1920s elegance – and show up in a trench coat with your Tommy Gun Handbag. Guys – go for sharp pinstripes and thin moustaches, spats and gun holsters. A trilby at a jaunty angle will finish off the gangster look – or check out our Scarface mask and our brilliant Fat Cat costume for something extra-impressive. “Noo Yoik” accents optional.
by Peter Walker