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50th Birthday Dress Up Themes

WhatToGetMy Instructional Article

You are planning a 50th birthday party for someone special in your life and are looking for 50th birthday dress-up themes. Dress up themes always tend to make a celebration so much more fun, interesting and memorable.

The reason for this is because you know that a 50th birthday needs to be celebrated as it is a very special birthday and is one of the most important birthdays any person has in their lives. It is a milestone and an accomplishment.

A 50th birthday is traditionally referred to as the “golden age” it is also known as turning half a century and considered to be the halfway mark of a person’s life. So celebrating this milestone one’s life is a must for all that reach this age.

It is important to make this special day not only a celebration of their birthday but a celebration of their life too. You would want to honor them by honoring a half a century of memories, the good times and the not so good times to highlight all that they have accomplished. 

What better way to do this to plan a celebration with a specific theme that focuses entirely on your guest of honor. Every party or celebration needs a theme it does not matter whether your plan for your 50th celebration is something simple and casual or something elaborate. A specific theme helps to tie everything together, it dictates what food you will serve, what decorations you will use and the music that you will play which helps make the planning of the celebration a whole lot easier.

A great theme will make it easier to get the guests involved which makes the whole event so much more exciting and fun by asking them to come dressed up. This will create a buzz prior to the celebration as guests will discuss amongst themselves the theme, what or who they are going to dress up as.

So it is important that when selecting a theme for that special person to celebrate their 50th birthday, not to only consider what makes a great theme for dressing up for but to also take into account the guest of honor’s personality, interests, likes and accomplishments throughout their lives for the last 50 years.

Most Popular Themes

Infographic 50th Birthday Dress Up Themes

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The Golden Theme

One of the most popular themes used to celebrate a 50th is the golden milestone theme. Everything at the party is gold from the invitations to the dress code. But it is a great idea to use a simple complimentary color like white, black or silver to make things a little more interesting or to break the color a little.

The Title for this theme that you can use:

  • The Golden Milestone Theme
  • The Golden Days Theme 
  • The Golden Year Theme

Ideas for the dress code for your guests:

  • Ask all your guests either to dress up in something gold, making it entirely a golden 50th Birthday. 
  • For something a little more interesting ask your guests to dress up in the complementary color that you have chosen like black and only your guest of honor dresses in something gold to make them feel extremely precious and special by standing out amongst their guests.

The Best of 50 Years Theme

Another popular theme for a celebration of a 50th birthday is the theme that takes a walk down memory lane for the guest of honor where each decade of that person’s life is displayed in a separate area of the room with photos of them since they were born right up to the present day as well as some household items, clothing, books, toys, movies, music or anything that you can get your hands on that relates to each decade.

Popular Titles for this theme that you can use:

  • The Best of the last 50 years.
  • Then and Now.
  • A walk down memory lane.

Ideas for the dress code for your guests:

  • Ask your guest of honor to choose their favorite decade from their own life then ask their guests to dress for that specific decade, for example, the 60’s or the 70’s.
  • If you want a variety then ask the guests to choose a decade from the life of the guest of honor and dress accordingly.

Other themes that relate closely to the above are

The Year of Birth Theme

This theme revolves around the year the guest of honor was born. The decorations, the food, music and the way the guest dress will be all according to that year or era. For example, 

60s Party Themes

If your guest of honor was born in the 60’s you would decorate like you were throwing a party in the ’60s with food and music from that time. You will have a lot of fun hunting through all the great music and movies from the ’60s to include in the theme.

Your guest can dress for the ’60s which had a variety of different styles but leaned more towards a hippie style with plenty of tie-dyes, peace signs, flowers, bright rainbow color combinations. These are some of your options:

  • In the late 60’s they enjoyed loose and comfortable clothing which were long skirts in earthy colors or with patterns such as flowers and paisley, along with peasant-type blouses.
  • Miniskirts for a shorter look were also in fashion in the ’60s.
  • For men, vests, T-shirts, and jeans in a brown or darker color.
  • Bell-bottom jeans and T-shirts were worn by both men and women.

70s Party Themes

The ’70s were filled with polyester, corduroy, velour, and colored suits. The men had afros and the women had feathered hair.

Dress Up ideas:

  • Early 70’s – bell-bottom pants, floral shirts, and tie-dyed apparel.
  • Late 70’s – Disco took over with leisure suits and maxi dresses.

80s Party Themes

Some of the best memories of a lot of people turning 50 were from their teenage years. With the big hair, baggy tops, leotards and leg warmers that were taken from many of their favorite movies and musicians like:

  • Olivia Newton-John’s with her keep-fit look. 
  • Cyndi Lauper’s colorful outfits.
  • Madonna wearing her bras over her clothes. 
  • Boy George from Culture Club.
  • Mr. T from the A-Team and many others.

Another great idea for dressing up for the ’60s, ’70s or ’80s is to dress up as famous people throughout these times, like actors, musicians, philosophers or scientists.

Black & White Theme

A black and white theme is such an easy option when it comes to decorations and dress-up ideas for a 50th birthday because most of your guests will own something either black or white. A black and white theme is perfect if you are going for a more elegant and classy look for your party.

A Dress Up ideas:

  • Ask all your guests under 50 to wear black and all your guests over 50 to wear white.
  • Ask all the men to wear black and the ladies to wear white.
  • Ask your guests to wear black shirts white bottoms or vise versa.

The Guest of Honor Theme

With this theme, you would create a theme around your guest of honor, their hobbies, their likes and their favorite places to go.

Look at things they enjoy, for example

If they like to travel

Create a theme around your guest of honor’s favorite country, include their favorite food from that country and make use of their favorite countries traditional colors for the decorations, pictures, and maps.

Dress up ideas:

  • Ask your guests to dress in those countries traditional clothing or colors.
  • Dress up relating to famous people or places that make the country your guest of honor’s favorite.

If they love sailboats or cruise ships

For this theme, you can create a deck of a sailboat or cruise ship with pictures of boats and ships, ropes and the sea or you could create a ballroom with the Titanic in mind with a glamorous dance floor and seated dining.

Dress up ideas:

  • For a sailboat or cruise ship deck, you can ask your guests to dress up in sailor outfits, bold Hawaiian type shorts, and shirts or beach clothes.
  • For the Titanic ballroom type, you can ask your guests to dress up ball gowns and tuxedos.

If your guest of honor enjoy Reading Novels

Create a theme around their favorite book or a selection of books by the same author. Themes focused around great murder mysteries, horrors or love stories can make a 50th celebration very entertaining.

Dress up idea:

  • Your guests can dress up as characters from the novel or selection of novels that the guest of honor has chosen.

Love for the Movies or theatre, 

If the person turning 50 loves going to the movies or theatre then create a movie theatre or cinema theme for their 50th birthday focusing the entire event around their favorite movies, actors, actresses, movie soundtracks and costumes.

Many of all time greats wore some really incredible costumes which will give your guests a great selection to choose from, depending on the types of movies you choose.

Dress up ideas examples:

  • Great GatsbyThe costumes were taken from the ’20s, for the women it was either a beaded or sequin short dress with fringe hems in black or neutral colors or a long beaded evening gown with accessories like a feather or crystal headpiece. For the men a medium brown, grey or light blue suit with a French cuff shirt with cufflinks and vintage style shoes.
  • Bonnie And Clyde – For the ladies a pink beret, a pink shirt with a scarf for around the neck, a brown pencil skirt, and oxford shoes. For the men a brown fedora hat, black suit with a brown and white necktie, and black oxford shoes.

Energetic and Fun Themes

These themes are for an extremely energetic, young at heart type of person who loves to have a lot of fun. They love bright colors and loud, festive music and love to dance.

Masquerade Theme

This theme brings a little mystery to the party making it interesting and fun while being a happy medium between costumes and formal attire.

Dress up ideas:

  • Ask the guest to dress up in something formal with different face masks as an accessory.
  • Ask the guest to wear exquisite costumes from a certain decade and include a beautiful face mask as an accessory.

A Mardi Gras Party Theme

If you’re thinking about a Mardi Gras Carnival theme party for a 50th birthday celebration, you would need lively music, bright colors, plenty of colorful beads, trinkets, masks and to make it extra fun, get your guest to dress up in costumes. The colors that you would use for this theme is purple, green and gold. Purple symbolizes justice, green means faith and gold is power.

Dress up ideas:

  • Ask the guest to dress up in anything they have that has the traditional colors of purple, green and gold.
  • Ask the guest to go all out and wear costumes, the bigger and bolder the better with the masks and feathers as an accessory.

Remember to take plenty of pictures throughout the evening of all the guests, the decorations and especially the guest of honor so that they can add another great event to their book of memories.

Another great idea is to give all the guests a token from the celebration as they are leaving, it will give them something to remember the party by, they will remember how much fun they had and their ideas they used to dress up for the celebration as well as some of the other guests.

When coming up with 50th birthday dress-up themes remember to not only consider themes that will give the guests some great ideas of how to dress up but to understand and take into account the guest of honor’s personality, interests, likes and accomplishments throughout their lives for the last 50 years. After all the celebration that you are planning is all about them and for them.

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