One of the most iconic types of parties is the Masquerade Ball. Basically an event at which the participants attend in a costume and wearing a mask, these occasions nonetheless developed a sense of style that's almost entirely unique.
It's believed that masquerade balls first became popular during the carnival season of the 15th century. However, it really came to prevalence later on, when it was enthusiastically adopted by the French aristocracy. Indeed, Charles VI of France held a number of parties, one of which became notorious when several courtiers - dressed in costumes of flax and pitch - got too close to lit torches and caught fire.
Italy also adopted the masquerade style with some enthusiasm during the Renaissance, with dances in particular becoming popular in Venice until the fall of the Venetian Republic, when the style caught on in other areas of Europe. It gained further notoriety when Gustav III of Sweden was assassinated at a masquerade ball (the event was later turned into the opera Gustave II).
It took until the early 18th century for the style to be adopted by the UK crowds, with some of London's public gardens such as Vauxhall, providing ideal outdoor settings.
Today, many people still love to adopt Masquerade costumes when attending a party, with everything from masks to masquerade costume dresses still easily available on the web for a range of different budgets. As with all costumes, it's important to check individual manufacturer size guides to ensure that the right size is purchased.