Insights From Our Social Status Report

As highlighted in our Social Status report, young people are showing increased interest in social experiences where they can dress up in themed attire. While nightlife in the traditional sense is losing its luster among modern young adults, theme parties are an exception since they give people a sanctioned excuse to be playful and flex their creativity through fashion. 


Seven in 10 Trendsetting young people in the U.S. and UK aged 14-34 say one of the best parts of going out is getting dressed up. Ikea leveraged this love for its 30th anniversary by hosting parties that celebrated each decade it’s been in business. The retailer took over a townhouse in London and furnished each floor to represent a typical British lounge from the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, as well as floor of the future. Attendees could enjoy food, drinks, TV, and games related to each decade and don thematic attire to party like they’re in any of those periods. Tickets for all four nights sold out within 24 hours.


More than half of Trendsetting young people in the U.S. and UK (59% and 55% in each country, respectively) prefer to get dressed up when they go out rather than look casual, and increasingly, this means getting to play dress up with a creative on-theme outfit. Last fall, cosmetics brand Benefit provided a reason to do so in celebration of its anniversary; it threw a ‘70s themed party in East London and Liverpool where ticket holders could enjoy a secret disco party and were told to dress for the decade. Upon arrival, guests were treated to a brow treatment or makeover before heading into a nightclub to enjoy ‘70s-inspired cocktails, music, and décor. 


Young adults’ interest in themed events is reflective of a larger desire: to fill their social lives with more varied, notable experiences. As a 25-year-old woman in our qualitative research put it, “A lot of parties are the same format. I actually like branded events because they’re always different. It’s not like a bar that will always be there.” Themed events are one way to accomplish this, as beer brand Staropramen recently did through its “Spirit of Prague Banquet,” where diners travelled back to ‘90s Prague and were immersed in the sights, sounds, and flavors of the city. Guests were assigned a thematic dress code and were divided in teams for a surprise competition.