British icons fancy dress ideas cover a wide range of costumes, from historical figures like kings and queens to pop stars, spies, and wizards. British culture gives us so much to celebrate, as well as great fancy dress ideas for singles, couples, groups, females, males and well…everyone. If you’re heading to a fancy dress party or club night, why not choose from our list of British icons fancy dress ideas

20 British icons fancy dress ideas

Here’s a list of 20 British icon fancy dress ideas and how to dress like them:

1. Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II fancy dress womens

Step back in time and channel the powerful and regal Queen Elizabeth II.Opt for a pastel-coloured dress suit, and accessorise with a pearl necklace and a matching hat. White gloves add a royal touch, perfect for royal fancy dress or kings and queens fancy dress ideas. If you don’t fancy making your own, you can buy ready-made Queen Elizabeth II fancy dress costumes on Amazon.

2. Sherlock Holmes

To embody the quintessential detective Sherlock Holmes, a deerstalker hat and tweed jacket are needed for this British icon fancy dress men’s costume. Add a magnifying glass to complete the ensemble, and perhaps a pipe for added authenticity. This costume is not only iconic but also instantly recognisable, making it a perfect representation of classic British literature and cinema.

3. James Bond fancy dress


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by James Bond 007 (@007)

Dressing as James Bond requires a sleek, classic black tuxedo paired with a sophisticated bow tie. Holding a martini glass (shaken, not stirred) will add the perfect finishing touch to this suave and timeless look. This outfit is ideal for those wanting to portray the epitome of British cool and elegance, as seen in one of the most famous film franchises.

4. Harry Potter costumes

British icons fancy dress Harry Potter characters
Edmond Wells, Flickr

Enter the magical world of Hogwarts by dressing up as Harry Potter or any other beloved character from the series. A Hogwarts robe, a wand, and round glasses for a magical look, a great choice of British icons to dress up as. It’s also a good Halloween costume that’s fairly easy to do.

5. Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins British fancy dress

A British nanny who sings “A Spoonful of Sugar” and “Chim Chim Cher-ee” just screams British. The articulate voice of Julie Andrews is forever part of British culture, making Mary Poppins a classic British icon fancy dress idea. Combine a long skirt, white blouse, red bow tie, and a black hat with flowers. An umbrella adds the perfect touch to this British fancy dress.

6. Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill mens fancy dress British

Who’s more British than Churchill? And no, we don’t mean the nodding dog from old insurance adverts. Winston Churchill, the PM who led Britain during WWII is a classic British icon fancy dress idea. Embody the spirit of resilience and leadership with a Winston Churchill costume. A simple suit, a bow tie, and the iconic Homburg hat are all you need to transform into this influential British Prime Minister.

7. The Beatles 

The Beatles costume

Grab your friends and form your own version of The Beatles! Whether you choose the early ’60s look with matching suits and mop-top haircuts or the psychedelic era, being a Beatle for a day is a sure hit. It’s a fairly easy fancy dress idea for groups, where you can simply grab black suits, white shirts, black ties, and mop-top wigs for a group British icons fancy dress.

8. David Bowie (Ziggy Stardust)

ziggy stardust david bowie costume

To look like Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust persona, opt for a vibrant, glam rock outfit, complete with shimmering fabrics and sequins. Bold makeup, especially a lightning bolt across the face, and a fiery red wig are essential to embody this iconic look. This outfit not only celebrates Bowie’s musical genius but also his influence on fashion, making it a standout choice for the best of British fancy dress.

9. Princess Diana fancy dress

Princess Diana costume ladies
John Mathew Smith & from Laurel Maryland, USA

Emulate the elegance of Princess Diana with a chic 80s or 90s style dress, often characterised by its sleek lines and shoulder pads. Accessorise with a pearl necklace and a short blonde wig to capture her iconic hairstyle. This look is not only a tribute to her timeless fashion sense but also a nod to her enduring legacy as a beloved British icon and a great British icons female fancy dress.

10. Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin mens fancy dress

For a classic Charlie Chaplin look, wear baggy trousers, a tight coat, and a bowler hat. A cane for Chaplin’s famous comedic walk and the iconic toothbrush moustache complete this silent film star’s outfit. This costume is a top British outfit and a great way to pay homage to one of Britain’s most influential film figures and is perfect for any British-themed fancy dress event.

11. Adele


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Adele (@adele)

Channel the modern elegance of Adele with a sophisticated evening gown, often in deep or dramatic colours. A beehive hairstyle and striking makeup, especially her signature winged eyeliner, are key to achieving Adele’s glamorous look. This outfit choice is ideal for those looking for fancy dress as a contemporary British celebrity, showcasing Adele’s impact on both music and fashion.

12. Elton John

Elton John stage outfits at Glastonbury
Raph_PH – Glasto2023

Capture Elton John’s flamboyant style with a brightly coloured suit, adorned with sequins or patterns. Oversized, often glittery glasses and a colourful wig will help you embody his extravagant stage persona or go for his latest metallic suits. This fancy dress costume is a fun and vibrant way to celebrate this British music icon, known for his unique and bold fashion choices.

13. Kate Middleton

Kate Middleton fancy dress
Nick Warner from Windsor, England

To emulate Kate Middleton’s style, choose a classy dress that reflects her elegant and sophisticated fashion sense, often seen in midi lengths and clean lines. A fascinator hat is a must for that quintessential British royal look, along with elegant jewellery to add a touch of grace. This outfit is ideal for anyone aiming for a modern royal fancy dress.

14. Mr. Bean

Mr Bean fancy dress outfit ideas
Antonio Zugaldia from Brussels, Belgium

A tweed jacket, red tie, and brown trousers are essential to capture the unique style of this beloved British character. Carrying a teddy bear adds an element of humour and authenticity, making it a perfect humorous British icon fancy dress.

15. Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse fancy dress celebrities

The iconic beehive hairdo and winged eyeliner are key to replicating Amy Winehouse’s distinctive look. Pair these with a retro dress to fully embody her style, making it a great choice for British icons female fancy dress.

16. Doctor Who

Dr Who Tv Show fancy dress
The Conmunity – Pop Culture Geek

The Doctor’s costume varies with each incarnation, but typically includes a long coat and suit. Don’t forget the sonic screwdriver, the Doctor’s multi-functional tool, to complete this timeless British outfit.

17. Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher costume

A dark blazer and skirt reflect Thatcher’s professional attire. Accessorise with a pearl necklace and style your hair in an 80s bouffant hairstyle to mimic the Iron Lady’s look, suitable for a political figure fancy dress.

18. Robin Hood

Douglas Fairbanks as Robin Hood

Dressing as Robin Hood involves a green tunic, a hat with a feather, and a toy bow and arrow. This costume captures the essence of the legendary outlaw and is perfect for British fancy dress.

19. Union Jack Costume

Union Jack costume fancy dress British icons

A costume featuring the red, white, and blue of the Union Jack is a bold way to show British pride. It’s ideal for Union Jack fancy dress events or as part of Union Jack costumes. Smiffys are a good shout if you want to just order one ready to wear for a pretty good price too! If you want more Spice Girl-inspired costumes, check out our top 90s fancy dress ideas.

20. King Henry VIII

King Henry VIII British icons fancy dress

To represent this infamous monarch, wear a Tudor outfit with a decorative doublet, cloak, and a mock Tudor hat. This regal attire aligns well with kings and queens fancy dress ideas. In case you’re not sure which one he was, he was responsible for beheading Anne Boleyn, having six wives, and formed a new Protestant faith in England coming away from the Catholic Church.

These British fancy dress ideas cover a range of historical figures, pop culture icons, and royal characters, perfect for any fancy dress occasion.

Why choose British icons for dress up?

British culture, icons fancy dress inspiration
Jon – Flickr

British icon fancy dress ideas are a fantastic way to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of the UK. Whether you’re looking for British icons to dress up as for a themed party or a special event, there are plenty of options to choose from. For those interested in British icons female fancy dress, consider iconic figures like Queen Elizabeth I or contemporary stars like the Spice Girls.

British fancy dress often includes characters from British history and pop culture. The best of British fancy dress can range from British outfits inspired by the Royal Family to pop culture figures like The Beatles or Harry Potter. For a more patriotic look, Union Jack fancy dress or Union Jack costumes are always popular choices, embodying the spirit of Britain.

If you’re inclined to fancy dress as a celebrity, British icons offer a plethora of options. From rock stars to literary characters, the possibilities are endless. For those interested in historical figures, kings and queens fancy dress ideas provide a regal touch. Dressing up as a member of the royal family, or adopting a royal fancy dress theme, can add a touch of elegance and history to your outfit.

5 tips for DIY British icon costumes

5 tips for DIY British icon costumes

Creating a DIY British icon costume can be both fun and rewarding. Here are some tips to help you craft the perfect outfit:

  1. Research the icon: Start by researching your chosen British icon. Understand their style, era, and the key elements that make their look iconic. This could be anything from a specific type of clothing to a trademark accessory.
  2. Use what you have: Before buying new items, check your wardrobe for pieces that can be repurposed. For example, a black suit can be transformed into a James Bond outfit, or a floral dress can be modified for a 1960s Twiggy look.
  3. Focus on key elements: Identify the most recognisable features of your icon’s look. For instance, a Union Jack dress for a Spice Girls costume, or a bowler hat and cigar for Winston Churchill. These key elements are crucial in making your costume identifiable.
  4. DIY accessories: Use your creativity to make accessories. For example, cardboard and paint can be used to create a Union Jack for a costume, or a toy microphone for a Freddie Mercury outfit.
  5. Attention to detail: Small details can make a big difference. For Amy Winehouse, it’s the winged eyeliner and beehive hairdo. For Doctor Who, it could be a specific colour of a scarf or style of a coat.

There are tons of British icons to help inspire fancy dress. But you could also look to pop icons. And who’s better than Queen B? Her latest Renaissance tour gave us looooads of great ideas for costumes. 

Last Updated on March 21, 2024