"You are invited to a 24th Burlesque Birthday - dressing up mandatory"
On receiving an invite like the above a woman feels both excited yet nervous - "Oh it's going to be so much fun to dress up" but "will I be able to pull of a burlesque outfit?"
What is burlesque?
At first mention of the term burlesque, images of Moulin Rouge come to mind - the corsets, feathers, stockings, garter belts, gloves... And while it would most definitely seem like fun to wear one of these outfit, they also give cause to any woman to be at least a little self-conscious.
/bərˈlɛsk/ Show Spelled [ber-lesk] noun, adjective, verb, bur·lesqued, bur·lesquing.
1. an artistic composition, literary or dramatic, that, for the sake of laughter,
vulgarizes lofty material or treats ordinary material with mock dignity.
2. any ludicrous parody or grotesque caricature.
3. a humorous and provocative stage show featuring slapstick humor,
comic skits, bawdy songs, striptease acts, and a scantily clad female chorus.
Burlesque is an art form, yes quite frequently a seductive art form that is made to entertain. While popular in the 1840s it had regained it's centre-stage quality and is making a return into the mainstream.
Going to this party, as much as I wanted to dress up I still wanted to look classy. At first it was a little challenging for me to separate burlesque from lewd imagery, but as I looked at different pieces - the gloves, mask, rings, added to a performance piece, making it slightly glamourous, if I dare to say. Unwilling to wear just a lingerie set or something from a costume store, I decided to piece different clothing pieces from my own closet.
1. The corset look (pretty much every girl owns one or a strappy top that looks like a corset - the key here is a top with a fitted waist and chest enhancement capabilities)
2. A ruffled skirt or boy shorts (either one is most definitely owned by all women - if not, the all-purposeful mini skirt comes to the rescue)
3. Thigh highs (or fancy stockings though thigh highs are much more fun)
4. Gloves (these were the icing on my cake! the most fun to wear, they really made all the difference and made my outfit come together)
5. Black boots or black pumps (or red as some attendees wore)
6. RINGS - "put a ring on it" (over the gloves the addition of a sparkly ring added such elegance, I couldn't take my eyes off of my own hands - one had a bracelet on the outside of the glove and the other a ring)
7. Boa or mask or featherette or fascinator (take your pick, these are not mandatory but they do send your outfit over the top, guaranteeing you'll have a fun time and fit right in while standing out... in a good way)
All in all my first burlesque experience was so much fun. Of course all the other attendees dressing up added to the event and therefore eliminated my risk of taking the theme too seriously.
Part two of my burlesque experience would be to watch a show followed by taking a class on the moves.
Commonly thought of as lewd, burlesque does not have to mean something vulgar if done right, instead it is more of a performance. Of course there is fine line in how men will view a women dressed up burlesque style, but that is merely due to the clothing items such as a short skirt and a revealing top - but if that's the only reason people associate burlesque with something vulgar, go to the beach and take a look at a thousand people in wet underwear. This is why the addition of gloves and stockings and all that fun stuff makes it so much more than what would otherwise be a not-so-decent outfit.
Once you put together pieces that you are comfortable with the end result will no doubt be a fun burlesque-like outfit. If done right burlesque can indeed be a way to empower women and encourage them to embrace their sexuality and femininity. Because these are pieces that accentuate a women's body and are also pieces in which you yourself feel comfortable in you are more likely to feel confident in your outfit and be proud and glad to be a female as you look in the mirror and walk through the entrance ;)