I've just passed a happy hour or two browsing the fantastically inventive fancy dress costume ideas in this 1896 book, Fancy Dress Described. There are literally hundreds of ideas, ranging from historical and regional costumes, to fictional personalities (Shakespearean and Gilbert & Sullivan characters are popular) and abstract concepts like the seasons, right through to perfectly genius ideas like a painter's palette, or photography, or electricity, or roulette. Imagine going to a ball dressed as The Planets, or Five o'clock tea! Each costume is described in detail from head to toe. If you are ever stuck for an idea for fancy dress, this is where to go.