How to Look Fabulous at a Burlesque Show: Top 10 Tips and Tricks

At every Burlesque Idol show comes ‘The Best Dressed Competition’ 

It’s an age old question: What to wear on a night out that will get me noticed  and make me feel fabulous.  Going to a Burlesque Event is one of those occasions where not only anything goes, but where you can really show originality and bring your own unique personality into the limelight!  

We asked the Fairy Godmother to our Burlesque Idol contestants and costume maker extraordinaire Serine Daou her top 10 tips

How to dress for Burlesque?!

1. Pull out all the stops! : Glamour, glamour, glamour is the key.  Red Carpet Sexy.  Remember, classic is fashionable these days, so a simple floor length dress with all the accessories will go down a storm.

 2Recycled: This is a great opportunity to re-wear or re-style a wedding dress, bridesmaid’s dress or cocktail dress that only had one outing.  Have a tweed suit that you haven’t worn in a while? Why not take all of these items to your dressmaker, and get her to re-vamp the outfit to make it more wearable for nights out.  I’ve taken a men’s 3 piece suit and re-made it into a halterneck corset, wiggle skirt and Victoriana jacket.  Anything is possible!!

3.  Retro Doll: There are so many amazing stores now stocking 40s and 50s clothes in all sizes, from sailor style dresses to rockabilly skirts.  Don’t be afraid of stepping out in retro underwear, either, as this could be a fabulous look! (Think 40s housewife: silk stockings, hair in curlers and  scarf, girdle, bullet bra and kimono) Whatever you do, don’t forget to accessorise your look with the right hairstyle and make-up because this puts the icing on the cake.

 4. Dancing Queen:  Think of all those iconic outfits from the movies:

Flashdance - cut-off sweats, legwarmers

Dirty Dancing - fishnets, dancing heels, crop top and knickers

Saturday Night Fever - 70s halterneck and some platform wedges Grease - Shiny leggings and a leather jacket

Fame – Leotard, sweats and 80s side ponytail!

Footloose - Denim, miniskirt and cowboy boots

5. Office Chic If you’ve just clocked off and headed for wine o’clock, then the world is your oyster.  The best thing you can do is unbutton your shirt a little (or a lot!), stick a well fitting corset over your pencil skirt, a handy fascinator in your hair, and don’t forget that glass of wine in your hand! Perfection!

6. Flip it Upside-down! If it is winter be daring and wear a summer dress. If it is summer, cover yourself from head to foot in the most luscious velvet gown you can find.  The best thing is that there are no rules, as long as there is glamour, you will always win!

7. Avoid Costume Cliches:  Just because you’re at a Burlesque event, this does not give you an excuse to wear your latex nurses outfit.  Of course this would be more than acceptable if done well, with plenty of accessories and with much humour.  Be careful that you don’t end up looking tacky. 

8. Quality Quality Quality!!! Whatever style you choose, there is no worse give-away than an ill-fitting dress or corset.  A couple of centimetres adjustment here or there can make all the difference.  Always get the best fitting corset that you can afford.  I can not stress this enough.  A good corset is made with several layers of thick fabric, stuffed with sprung steel boning.  It feels heavy, and fits to flatter your curves.  If you have more than a D cup, this may be a challenge.  If you can afford it, get your corset made: one sumptuously fitted corset is worth more than a wardrobe stuffed with off the rack cheapos.  If you’re going to pay a few hundred pounds for a sumptuous brocade corset, go the extra hog and see if you can have it made precisely to fit„ you’ll be surprised how many corsetieres will be ready to negotiate with you on style and price.  Plus, if you get something specially made, you’ll know that no one else has a design or fit like it. 

9. If in doubt, just take it all off!  A good pair of fishnets, your best high heels and a corset (this goes for the boys too, I do like a chap in corset and heels)…

10. A Note for the Chaps:  Moustachioed Steam Punk – YES! Waistcoats and hats – YES!  Rockabilly Retro – YES! Cuban Heels and a Patrick Swayze swagger – Most definitely YES!!  Jeans and a T-shirt – no no no.  We expect our men to be well turned out, whether Cary Grant Smooth, or Hippie Art School with big glasses and braces, there is nothing more attractive than a man who makes an effort to look suave.