Image may contain: Collage, Flyer, Paper, Brochure, Female, People, Poster, Advertisement, Human, Person

What to wear to Arcsoc: Penrose Palace

Believe your eyes: Arcsoc is back

#Fashion #penrose palace ArcSoc Cambridge Cambridge Fashion

It's no illusion; Arcsoc is back and as hard to dress for as ever. The theme of this Arcsoc is Penrose Palace, an allusion to the illusion (sorry, couldn't resist) of the never ending and impossible staircase. Luckily for you, this article will hopefully make your search for inspiration of what to wear significantly less never ending and impossible.

Optical Illusions

Image may contain: Person, Human, Face

Editorial makeup, Mehron Make-up promotional image, Daniel Rojas Photography, Editorial shoot

My first suggestion is to go full Picasso and use makeup to turn yourself into an illusion. Doodle all over your face in bold primary colours, drawing lines and scribbles to distort your features.

YouTube tutorials can also be incredibly helpful for this; for those more confident in their makeup skills, there are plenty of Halloween makeup tutorials that can show you step by step how to draw yourself another nose or set of eyes, that will have everyone else's firmly glued on you.

Image may contain: Female, Costume, Shoe, Footwear, Dress, Apparel, Clothing, Mannequin, Human, Person

Comme des Garçons: S/S 1997, S/S 2017, S/S 1997, Fall 2016 Ready to Wear

You could even take this idea one step further and quite literally become a walking optical illusion by distorting your own body through the magic of clothes. The iconic 1997 Spring/Summer Comme des Garçons Lumps and Bumps Collection was based on an artistic interpretation of the human form, reshaping the figures of the models to question what being "human shaped" means . Make use of that random cushion you brought to uni with you and pad your body Rei Kawakubo style and transform yourself into a walking illusion.

For those after a less extreme option, try layering different shirts to alter your body shape and create a new silhouette by exaggerating and enlarging parts of the body.

Repeated Patterns

Image may contain: Pants, Human, Person, Apparel, Clothing

Jean Paul Gautier 1996, Versace Ready to Wear Fall 2018, 1960's Mary Quant, Issey Miyake "looks", Topshop look book Spring Summer 2018

Make use of all the patterned pieces you have in your wardrobe and mixing them all together for your costume. Versace's 2018 Fall Ready to Wear collection embodies this perfectly through its experimentation with mixed plaid; check out Topshop, Bershka, or Pull and Bear for some similar options without the Versace price tag.

Alternatively, don some stripes, combining vertical and horizontal patterns. Or if you are more of a spot person, try combining different sizes. For the ultimate trippy effect, you could even mix the two; live your best life!

Image may contain: Plaid, Tartan, Woman, Skirt, Female, Human, Person, Clothing, Apparel

UNIF ($158), Topshop (£15), Dickies at Urban Outfitters (£75), Asos (£30)

Perhaps the best print to use here is checkerboard, which is used very frequently in optical illusions. Whilst personally I must admit that I am not a fan of this print, it is undeniably a great pattern for this purpose. As a bonus, it is incredibly easy to get your hands on too due to its current popularity!


Image may contain: People, Girl, Female, Human, Person, Clothing, Apparel

1967 catalogue, Urban Outfitters (£25), 1960s photoshoot, Urban Outfitters (£39)

Draw on the psychedelic effects of optical illusions for your costume by donning your finest tie dye shirt. If you don't own any tie dye, you could have a fun crafty afternoon off of work to make your own shirt!

However, if tie dye isn't an option for you, any swirling or marbled pattern would work for this effect. Alternatively, dress in a kaleidoscopic palette by combining bright pinks, oranges, yellows and greens; anything bold will work here. You can even pay homage to the 1960s routes of the movement by accessorising your outfit with white ankle boots or a headband. For that finishing touch, match your eyeshadow to the colours in your clothes.

Geometric Shapes

Image may contain: Apparel, Clothing, Boy, Face, Person, Human

YSL Mondrian dress A/W 1965, Geometric pattern, Rudi Gernreich (1971), Issey Miyake Fall 2011 Ready to Wear

The mathematical geometry of Penrose's Palace and other optical illusions can also be channeled in your look by using strong lines and shapes into your outfit.

Once again, the 1960s is a great place to draw inspiration from. The trend of colour blocking is perfect for the theme of Penrose Palace, as it creates strong geometry in your outfit. This cam be easily replicated by dressing in block colours. Pick from a palette of three and weave these throughout your outfit.

Another option for this theme would be to wear any clothing you have that features bold shapes. If you don't own anything with shapes on it, fear not; cut out shapes from some coloured paper and tape them to yourself!


Image may contain: Clothing, Overcoat, Apparel, Coat, Suit, Painting, Art, Human, Person, Tie, Accessory, Accessories

Rene Magritte The Son of Man (1964), Salvador Dali The Persistence of Memory (1931), Frida Kahlo The Two Fridas (1939), Rene Magritte The Lovers (1928)

The surrealist movement also has lots that you can draw on for inspiration; become your favourite Magritte painting by donning a bowler hat and apple, or channel Dali and cover yourself in clocks and cut out numbers. Once again, makeup is extremely helpful here to fully complete your look!

Image may contain: Apparel, Clothing, Performer, Head, Person, Human

Photo from a Rothschild optical illusion themed dinner party (1972)

Now, go forth and groove away in style at Arcsoc. Who knows; you may even be so lucky as to make the Tab's Arcsoc best dressed!