Burlesque Chic


On Sunday night, I went to see the Red Door Burlesque at The Order Of Melbourne. It was a very exciting night, I’d never been to The Order (though I had heard good things) or seen live burlesque! The latter is especially strange, because for a while, I was absolutely obsessed with burlesque & even considered forming my own troupe a couple of years ago.

The Order Of Melbourne is wonderful, dimly lit with a rooftop garden & immaculate table service. The show was fantastic, too — two saucy curvy ladies getting their kit off, Birdman (the host) pouring tea through his nose, a cute girl in a makeshift peep-booth & Marawa, who did two acts, one with hula hoops & another where she combined trapeze with aerials!

There were free lamingtons (see below), special burlesque cocktails & an incredible cheese board on offer. We had such a great time! The atmosphere was excellent too, I felt like I was in a 1940’s lesbian joint — except there were men there, too! I wish I had dressed up more for it — I was totally underdressed, in jeans, a black trapeze dress & a red headscarf. I didn’t realise the crowd would be so dressed to kill. There was a lot of shiny black hair, red lipstick, high heels, fishnets & general glamour! It was fantastic, it’s so rare to see people (especially in the 20-35 age group) really making a huge effort when they go out.

For anyone who wants to incorporate a little old-world glamour into their daily dressing, here are some ways to do it…

Do your eye makeup in a cat’s eye style.
I almost always wear mine like this, it makes me feel very glamorous & dramatic. Here’s a good tutorial if you’re not sure what you’re doing! One thing to keep in mind is that sometimes, lining your lower lid will make your eye look really heavy, as if you’re tired or sick. Whenever I put makeup around my eyes, I only ever touch the top lid.

Change the way you do your hair.
From a short, fringed flapper-esque bob to long pin curls, an old style hair-do makes a very strong statement. This is the best online guide I’ve found for information on burlesque/vintage/retro hairstyles. Go forth & pin curl! You can also add a little sparkle to your hair with diamante slides & silk flowers. If all else fails, tie a scarf over your head, like I do!

Get your hands on a great vintage-look jacket.
A jacket is such an easy way to transform an ordinary outfit into something which looks spectacular. If you like fuzzy outer-garments, you can buy old fur coats very easily on Ebay & faux fur is all over the place. Also, keep an eye out for tuxedo jackets (regardless of your sex) & vintage jackets with nipped-in waists. It is VERY important that these items fit. If they don’t, you risk looking like an Olsen twin on a bad day (without the cash).

Start wearing high heels!
Never owned any? Can’t walk in them to save your life? It’s a good time to start! There’s nothing sexier than an elongated leg & a little shimmy while you walk.

Focus on the details.
Start drawing on a beauty spot, wear red lipstick, take good care of & paint your nails (red or pink being most traditional), & think about your silhouette! A really simple but glamorous outfit could consist of a white tailored shirt, a black pencil skirt, stockings, heels & red lipstick. I know it sounds kind of boring, but you will look like a knock-out.

For men…
I think a crisp white shirt & tight black pants is a really good look. If you can get your hair into a pomp, you should — if not, grease it down. I also like big, fake black moustaches on men… but maybe that’s just me.

I’m thinking of going again, I really enjoyed myself. This time, though, I would do my damnedest NOT to feel underdressed! I would go all out — black pillbox hat (with net), black corset over shiny rubber-look black dress, wide fishnet stockings & spike heels. The more I think about it, the more appealing it sounds! & of course, if you haven’t been to a burlesque show & have the opportunity, I strongly encourage you to go!

Extra For Experts:
Art Of Seduction, an article from The Scotsman.
An interview with Dita Von Teese, from Factio Magazine.