Retro looks are coming back in a huge way right now, and the most exciting and tantalizing of these styles is burlesque lingerie. Fun, sexy, and body-positive, the art of burlesque is becoming a huge influence in film, fashion and culture. Burlesque is a classier forerunner of stripping, but just because it’s older doesn’t make it less sexy. In fact, burlesque performers have more sensual and teasing routines, because they had to be creative in showcasing the body without nudity. Professional burlesque costumes can be pricey, but there are simple ways to infuse your lingerie with the style of burlesque. Some of them might already be in your closet!
Retro Details Give It Spirit
Burlesque incorporates some of the most adorably sexy styles that have ever been en vogue. Sweet but scandalous pin-up girls and the edgier rockabilly look are the perfect starting point, lending style ideas about everything from hair and makeup to costumes and sensibility. Some items to build an outfit around are garter belts, 50s style pumps, and high-waisted panties. Lace, frills, feathers, and gems also amp up the volume, and anything that unlaces, snaps, or tears off is perfect for burlesque.
Layers are Key
One of the biggest aspects of burlesque is the dancers’ multi-layered costumes. Corsets are often in two or three pieces, and skirts come off to reveal boyshorts (and boyshorts come off to reveal thongs). The practicality of this for a performer means there is more to take off, so the routine can go on longer and further excite the audience. An easy way to incorporate this concept into your lingerie wardrobe is to layer pieces from the same collection or in a similar style over each other. Create a new look by wearing a corset over a bra, or lacy panties under a plain-jane bikini brief. This Carried Away polka-dot and lace push-up bra and the matching hipster with garters from Blush Lingerie seen here can be worn under a sheer camisole or blouse, and the polka dots give it a sexy and playful retro feel.
Accessories are important
Accessories are essential in burlesque, to both tantalize viewers and give the performer more to do onstage. Long gloves, stockings, hats and boas add drama to a look, and are often items women already have in their wardrobe. Combining the concepts of layering and accessories is a great idea too – I once saw a performer who wore three pairs of gloves, all different lengths, so that every time she took off one glove, another glove was underneath. She got a huge round of applause each
Props draw attention to the body
Many burlesque routines have a theme or story, and props help bring the story to life. Performers use all sort of props, from riding crops to chairs to fans to bows and arrows (for a cupid-themed routine). Accessories like scarves can be used as props too, as they can help accentuate the body. A scarf being pulled over and across an arm, or a riding crop trailing up a leg, will draw the eye to your most flattering features.
Don’t be afraid to get creative! Even the most mundane clothing items and household objects can take on new, enticing life.
Music sets the mood
If you’re ready to go all out and create a routine, the proper music is a must-have. Burlesque routines can be set to
all kinds of music, but upbeat, up tempo numbers are the norm. Oldies from crooners like Harry Belafonte or Rosemary Clooney are good choices, and obviously the old standby “The Stripper” works too. Even if dancing isn’t your thing, even a little movement to the right music does a lot to excite!
Confidence makes it burlesque!
One of the reasons why I love burlesque is how inclusive the community is. As an avid fan, I’ve seen skinny women, larger women, young women, older women, men and men dressed as women all performing burlesque in shows together. Each and every one gets cheers, catcalls, and standing ovations, not because they have perfect bodies, but because they flaunt their looks with confidence. Your shape, size, gender and sexual orientation doesn’t matter as long as you rock it out with your head held high and a smile on your face. This is the greatest lesson women can take from the world of burlesque. Don’t hide or be ashamed of any part of your body. Confidence looks good on everyone!
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Photo Credits & Sources:
Now That’s Lingerie
Dita Von Teese & models:
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