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The Rhode Less Traveled: Tiaras and Camo, a Guide to Themed Parties

Ah, back to school. The fresh smell of Lysol, laundered sheets, and fear. If there are freshmen staring at the seemingly identical buildings in a dumbfounded manner while the victims of Welcome Week hookups try determinedly to avoid each other and pretend they don’t go to a school of just 1,800, it means just two things: 1). There’s going to be fried chicken on Friday and 2). Themed parties are about to begin.

If there’s one thing I like more than deep fried poultry, it’s a party with a purpose. While some may think that parties are intended to socialize, branch out, and become more immersed in the Rhodes community, in actuality parties are primarily an excuse to dress up. Dress up in costume, I mean.

There is nothing better than a name of a Frat with the word “Luau” in front of it. Or “80’s”. Or even “ABC.” These simple words transform a gathering of slightly awkward, intoxicated people into a magical world of themed drinks and unique pick-up lines, a place completely unlike Memphis or anywhere else in the world.

For many, the concept of a themed party may seem daunting. How far do I go? What is the ratio of clever to sexy? Is this material flammable? And most importantly, what the h*ll is everyone else going to be wearing (and am I going to look better than them)?

In order to answer these pre-party questions and ease any of the first time jitters, I’ve devised a simple set of rules for themed party. Whether it’s thrown by a Greek organization, a religious organization, RAB, or just a random group of people you met walking through your hall Wednesday night, with these simple guidelines, you’re sure to be a star.

1). Fanny packs are always acceptable.

In normal society, fanny packs are reserved for middle aged mothers dragging their children through Disney World, or the powerwalking club at the mall. At Rhodes, fanny packs have somehow managed to climb the closet social ladder, to the point that they’re almost as acceptable as an interesting pair of socks, or strangely printed scarf. Maybe it’s because they’re retro. Maybe it’s because they’re ironic. Or maybe it’s because they’re just so d*mn useful. Whatever the reason, as long as they’re brightly colored and have something witty splayed across the front, a fanny pack is always a win at a theme party. Fob, gum, lipgloss, anyone?

2). Use glitter with caution.

Everyone’s been there. You’re sitting in your room with your friends, killing time before the you head over the frat row. You’re giddy and excited, and suddenly decide that your perfectly satisfactory costume needs to be taken up a notch. Someone pulls out a bottle of loose glitter (isn’t that how glitter always goes? It just sort of appears…), and suddenly the four of you are frolicking around the futon, singing “Waking Up in Vegas” at the top of your lungs while completely covering every bare inch of skin in the sparkly stuff like some sort of clumsy, hormone-charged Tinkerbell. Oh, it’s fine for that night, sure. To be perfectly honest, it’s probably so hot at the party people can’t even tell the difference between glitter and sweat. But then the next morning, you spend about an hour and a half scraping off the top layer of your skin in the shower, and still walk into class on Monday looking like you just came from a strip club. For something that seems so innocent, it’s got some serious staying power. New Years or neon parties may tempt you to indulge in this princess dust, but be prepared to explain your “side job” to your professor when class rolls around.

3). When in doubt, wear animal print.

When you arrive at Rhodes, everyone will tell you to buy a pair of rain boots. And yes, while that is valuable advice, I think it’s essential to buy rain boots AND a cheetah print dress. Honestly, for almost any party, animal print works. Obviously, jungle parties, hunter/hunted parties, zoo parties make this outfit choice easy. But an 80’s party? Animal print dress, red pumps, frizzy hair. Done. Rave? Animal print dress, neon tights, feather boa. Perfect. Halloween. Just add a cat ear headband. Nerd Party? Wear the animal print dress, blazer, tie, and converse, and you’ll be the cutest nerd out there. Seriously, there is not a party at Rhodes that animal print isn’t acceptable. And, as an added bonus, it’s perfect camouflage to hide in the bushes for when you need to escape from that creepy guy who’s been dancing on you all night. What’s not to love?

A sassy small-town blogger who thinks she's a princess and loves the color pink.
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