Retro fashion and the (sexy) art of burlesque


Pin-up, rockabilly, burlesque – there's a definite love here in Australia for retro style, with contemporary appropriations of vintage fashion retaining the inherent sexiness of their origins. As the finals of Miss Burlesque Australia approach, we take a look at the history of this fabulous pastime and accompanying style, as well as offer some practical tips on how you can easily incorporate pin-up sexiness into your everyday looks.

Miss Burlesque Australia

Across the nation, Miss Burlesque Australia is currently carrying out state-wide heats in the build-up to the National final on 29 November at Sydney's Enmore Theatre. Past performances have lampooned our own Kevin Rudd and John Howard, bringing local humour to this global scene. Check out some illuminating videos on their Facebook page.

Get into that retro (hair & makeup) style

For top tips on creating pin-up hairstyles easily and quickly look no further than the fabulous youtube videos of Vintagious. Here is a beginners' vid to 6 easy styles.

Having spent hours trying to recreate victory rolls and vintage-style quiffs, our advice is that there's no such thing as too much hairspray... copious amounts, ladies, secure that hair! Bobby pins/kerbigrips should litter the bottom of every single one of your handbags: you never know when you'll need them in emergencies.

There is also a plethora of Pinterest boards on pin-up style hair and make-up to get lost in, including this wonderful one.

Move like a burlesque queen!

For the low-down on performing burlesque moves yourself, there is a series of handy youtube videos here, while Bombshell Betty can help you with stage presence and the art of the striptease.

The right outfit: gloves, pasties and panties

Of course burlesque isn't burlesque without the right outfit, so kit yourself out here at Doris Nyx with some pasties to strip down to, and some panties to make the look "complete".

Burlesque costumes take all forms, it really depends on the scene and genre the performer chooses. Popular accoutrements include fans for fan dancing, a corset or bustier, feathers, a hat or fascinator, a shrug, feather boa or stole, stockings, and of course the must-have costume item, the evening gloves to be seductively removed.

Go for it! Add a bit of risque performance to your repertoire, and don't forget to have fun while you're at it. If you think burlesque is akin to seedy strip joints, think again gals. This art is much more ancient than you may realise, and throughout history it has enjoyed varying degrees of raciness, while always maintaining its core values of fun, satire, smarts and female empowerment. For those of you keen to know more about the history behind this great performance form, read on and you may find yourself raising an eyebrow in surprise.