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Six Non-Cliché Costumes for Theme Parties

 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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Western / Cowboys & Indians

Everyone else will go the obvious route in denim, so pick a bandana-print dress instead. Then accessorize with things you can work into Isabel Marant-y outfits later on, like turquoise jewelry and a simple concho belt.

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'70s / Disco

Sparkly disco ball-ish dresses and psychedelic colors will be everywhere, so stand out in a black jumpsuit and an oversize pendant instead. The clingy fabric and plunging neckline are sexier than a minidress anyway.

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Ugly Sweater

It's got the novelty sweater thing covered, but can layer pretty discreetly underneath a winter jacket on non-ugly-sweater days.

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Mad Men / '60s

Do Betty on a picnic instead of Betty at a cocktail party like everyone else. (Really, how often would you wear that tea-length tulle dress to work anyway?)

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'20s / Great Gatsby

Choose a drop-waist dress instead of a fringed flapper one plucked from a plastic bag at Party City, and you'll actually wear it again—not at theme parties.

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White Party / Toga Party

It's the only toga costume you can actually go out to dinner while wearing, and it doubles for white parties too. (They have those outside of Gossip Girl, yes?)

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