Dress to Excess: Halloween Edition

Party queen Violet Naylor-Leyland, founder of dress-up boutique site VioletsBox.com, reveals tips and tales from the costume bin.

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TIP ONE: Make it two-for-one.

Invest in pieces that are versatile, such as a kimono, which is a hugely popular costume — but can also be worn poolside or as a dressing gown. Corsets can also make a great non-dress-up party outfit.

TIP TWO: Theme your event.

I like a specific theme because all the creative people bust a gut to come up with an original outfit. But a general theme can be brilliant, too. I went to a "Food" party, and there were such inventive costumes, like runner beans and Carmen Miranda — with an edible headpiece!

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TIP THREE: Just do it.

If you're not into dressing up, add a little touch to your normal partywear — like a colorful tie or scarf or a wonderful hat — to help get you in the spirit. My best advice: Try it! You might like it!

TIP FOUR: Be on-trend.

Films impact costume themes. The Great Gatsby got everyone into 1920s mode, and that trend will probably carry on until Christmas. Women do look beautiful — and men very dashing — in '20s costumes.

TIP FIVE: Grin and bare it.

Nudity is the riskiest costume of choice. A girlfriend of mine dressed as a wood nymph. She painted her entire body and face and had just a bit of green material covering her crotch area. From afar you thought she was wearing a skintight jumpsuit. That's an example of triumph.

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