College Dress-Up Party Themes

by Harry Havemeyer

Dress-up themes add a sense of flair and fashion to parties, particularly college parties. Greek-life organizations, as well as other student organizations, can generate a buzz for their events with the simple addition of a dress-up party theme. Announcing a dress-up theme sets a challenge for attendees: How can I interpret the theme in a way that gets everyone talking? These themes are sure to draw plenty of creatively garbed guests.

Traffic Light

A traffic-light theme can add a practical, yet entertaining, quality to any college dress-up party. Ask that attendees wear red attire if they are in a relationship or green clothing if they are single and ready to mingle. Party people who define their relationship status using the "It's complicated" option on Facebook can don yellow; they're telling the world "You can proceed, but only with caution." Partition off the dance floor with orange cones. You're sure to have at least one person singing "Life Is a Highway."

Country Club

Some colleges are preppier than others, but a country club-themed party takes the preppiness to the next level. These parties allow the boarding-school types to kick it up a notch while allowing the more down-to-earth crowd a chance to satirize the Polo kids. Traditional prep-school looks are encouraged as a starting point. Tennis and golf attire are rewarded, particularly pleated miniskirts for the girls and plaid pants for the guys. Think J. Crew catalog or Ralph Lauren when putting your ensemble together.

Black Light Party

Most people are familiar with the all-white clothing or toga themes that have become a staple of college parties. Add in black lights and some highlighters, and these colorless clothes take on a colorful new vibe. Highlighters show up brightest under this style of lighting. Just make sure that patrons know not to wear expensive or irreplaceable clothing. In fact, encourage party animals to don an old, well-laundered bedsheet or T-shirt if that's all they can afford. With this kind of party, a costume doesn't have to be expensive to work.

Wrong Clothes, Wrong Party

Throw a party with decor that contrasts with the attire theme. Have patrons wear beach attire, but decorate the party house or venue with disco balls and club items. Or have patrons dress for a Jimmy Buffett-style beach party while decorating your party venue like a ski lodge. This plan works best if you do not let attendees know that the party decorations will contrast with their clothing. Watch the looks on their faces when they walk in, and you will have a ball before the party even gets rolling.

About the Author

Harry Havemeyer began writing in 2000. He has written articles for the "San Antonio Express-News" and the "Tulane Hullabaloo." Havemeyer holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and philosophy from Tulane University.