Dita von Teese, a model, actress and performer born Heather Renee Sweet, is a noted icon in the Burlesque scene. This porcelain-skinned beauty was instrumental in bringing the performances of Burlesque back into the limelight, and has an impeccable, unmistakable style. In this article, we explore her world- from the lighted stage to the red carpet, and her style in every situation.
Dita's Burlesque Style
Famous for bringing back the sexy, kitschy performances of old Burlesque, Dita is a master of the craft. Combining seductive striptease with dancing, props, and theatrics, her most notable act is the Martini Glass. For these kinds of performances, her wardrobe seems minimal- but that's just the end result. The look is actually very complex, with layers strategically designed to be removed as her show progresses, while still leaving a bit to the imagination by the end of the performance. A matching set of undergarments is ideal in this case- the more retro, the better.
A garter belt is a necessity, as all that splashing around could pull your thigh-high stockings down and ruin the look of your outfit. Pasties- small decorative, adhesive nipple covers- are also a staple part of her look, and are worn underneath a bra so that the bra can be removed without exposing too much. The next layer is usually a corset- for Dita, only a steel-boned corset will do. Through her regimen of waist training, she can tightlace down to under 16 inches- though for her performances, she usually stays around 22 inches. The corset can be overbust or underbust, depending on the look of the whole outfit, but the look always has a cohesive, put-together look and coordinates well. That's an important key to her onstage fashion, and she trends heavily towards romantic materials like lace and silk, and she also heavily favors colors that stand out against her pale skin- notably black and dark reds. For the finishing touch, opera length gloves, retro fascinators, and stiletto heels complete the look- all coordinated with the outfit, of course!
Dita's Red Carpet Looks
As a fashion icon, Dita has found herself on the arm of enough celebrities to grace red carpets around the world. Here, her old Hollywood style and aesthetic really shine through. She wears clothing that is ultra-feminine, with cuts carefully considered for her body type. She often wears long gowns to red carpet events, specifically mermaid gowns (often corseted underneath to maintain the perfect silhouette). Dresses that hug her curves and accentuate all of her assets are favored by her, and she's often seen front and center at fashion shows for Dior, Jean-Paul Gaultier, and Vivienne Westwood. When shopping for a major event with an eye towards dressing like Dita, make sure to follow those style tips- bodycon dresses are a must, and look for clothing with immaculate detailing and uniqueness. Go for pieces that will make you feel confident and sexy.
Dita's Everyday Clothing
For less formal events, Dita still holds true to her 1940's style aesthetic. She almost always is the picture of femininity, wearing vintage dresses and skirts almost exclusively. Her look just screams of the retro pinup queens of yesteryear, and that is the secret to her style. Look for retro dresses in interesting prints and styles that have a vintage feel, or for retro separates like pencil skirts and cardigans. Many of these pieces aren't just good for running around on the weekend, but are dressy enough in our modern society for most gatherings and parties. Her look isn't the simplest to maintain, but if you're all about the girlish side of things and love to portray a svelte, coquettish style, then this is right up your alley.
Perhaps the most entertaining thing about the style that Dita von Teese has adopted is the dichotomy of it. On one hand, we have what appears to be a polished, perfected Stepford woman in everyday life. But when night falls, she becomes a woman who's so talented at taking her clothes off that she became a driving force in bringing back a style of entertainment that had been out of style for over 30 years. Her ability to exhibit such flawlessness is admirable, as is her unwavering sense of personal style. She singlehandedly took burlesque from being treated as the boring cousin of modern stripping, and turned it into a glamorous, beautiful art form that is continuing to grow in popularity. Her sexuality is as much a part of her style as her clothing is, and that's the big takeaway here- Dita von Teese is always on point, always confident that she is beauty embodied, and always empowered. Nothing will sell an outfit like that sense of confidence, no matter what your body type or personal style. Wear every outfit like it's the skin you were born in, and you will always be beautiful.
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