You just the scored tickets to your first-ever event and the excitement is building, but now the burning question is, what to wear to a burlesque show? Burlesque attire is all about embracing your inner diva and celebrating your curves, so you’ll want an outfit that makes you feel glamorous and seductive. For a night of tantalizing stripteases, sultry songs, and more than a little bump and grind, follow these tips to craft an ensemble that’s a tease in itself. By the end of the show, all eyes will be on you.
Setting the Scene: The Allure of Burlesque Shows
The alluring spectacle of burlesque shows is a feast for the senses. As soon as you arrive, the atmosphere seduces you into another era. The venue is dimly lit, reminiscent of a 1920s speakeasy, with rich decor in shades of red and gold. You’re surrounded by fellow fans dressed to the nines in vintage threads – everything from flapper dresses to pinstriped suits, feather boas to top hats.
On stage, tantalizing acts unfold through dance, comedy, and striptease. Performers embrace over-the-top personas, lip-synching and dancing with theatrical flair to bluesy jazz music. Between acts, hosts and hostesses keep the energy high, playfully teasing and bantering with the audience.
Burlesque shows celebrate beauty, body positivity, and self-expression. They provide a fun, flirty escape from everyday life. As a attendee, your attire plays an integral role in the experience. Dressing up in stylish vintage fashion, whether demure or dramatically glamorous, helps transport you to another time and place. Your outfit might even inspire a performer or catch the eye of a handsome stranger in the crowd!
The atmosphere of freedom, fun and frivolity is infectious. For a few hours, you can relish in decadence and revelry. So unleash your inner showgirl or dapper gentleman. Pour yourself a drink, take a seat, and prepare for an extravaganza of entertainment and excitement. The show is about to begin!
Corsets: Cinching in Your Allure
A corset is the centerpiece of any burlesque outfit. This essential undergarment helps create an hourglass figure, cinching in your waist to emphasize your curves. Corsets come in a variety of styles, from longer Victorian corsets to shorter waspie corsets. Choose a style that suits your body shape and the overall look you want to achieve.
When picking out a corset, look for one made of sturdy, structured materials like cotton or leather. Avoid anything too flexible, as it won’t provide enough support. Seasoned burlesque performers often recommend a corset with steel boning for the most dramatic silhouette. However, a beginner may want to start with a corset with plastic boning, as it’s more comfortable until you get used to the feeling of being tightly cinched.
Once you have your corset, you’ll need to “break it in” before wearing it to an event. Wear it around the house for short periods, slowly tightening it over time as you get accustomed to the fit. This helps avoid discomfort on the big night. And don’t forget, a good corset requires an equally supportive bra underneath.
A corset forms the basis of your burlesque look, so take time finding one you absolutely love. When paired with a flirty skirt, stockings, and sky-high heels, your corset will transform your figure into a work of art and give you an unforgettable burlesque shape you’ll love showing off. Strutting around in a well-fitted corset is a thrill like no other and a rite of passage for any burlesque devotee.
Lace Trim Corset
- Back lacing for adjustable fit.
- Irregular blue hemline for a unique look.
- Blue chrysanthemum pattern for elegance.
- Butterfly bow tie shoulder straps for a playful touch.
- Left side zipper for easy wear.
Skirts and Dresses: Flaunt Your Style
When it comes to skirts and dresses at a burlesque show, think fun, flirty and flashy. A burlesque outfit isn’t complete without a stylish bottom to show off your legs and add extra sass to your look.
Consider a ruffled skirt in a vibrant color like cherry red or royal blue. A high-low hem that’s short in the front and longer in the back lets you flaunt your gams while still maintaining some modesty. Pair it with a corset or crop top to highlight your curves. For extra drama, add a petticoat underneath to give your skirt extra pouf and volume.
A pencil skirt that clings to your shape is always a classic choice. Look for one with a slit, lace panels or rhinestone embellishments. The restrictive, form-fitting cut will make it hard not to strut your stuff.
For a dress, a wiggle dress is ideal for emphasizing your silhouette. The tight fit and stretchy material will make you want to shake and shimmy. A wrap dress is adjustable and lets you decide just how much leg you want to show off. Cinch it at the waist with a belt for maximum bombshell effect.
If you want to go retro glam, a swing dress is a great option. The full, knee-length skirt is perfect for spinning and twirling on the dance floor. Pair it with a petticoat, seamed stockings and T-strap heels for a seriously stylish 1940s-inspired look.
Whatever you choose, make sure your burlesque skirts and dresses are made of fabrics like lace, mesh, velvet or satin—materials that catch the light for a dramatic, spotlight-stealing effect. And don’t forget the finishing touches like suspenders, garters, rhinestones or sequins to add extra dazzle and make you the star of the show. Your burlesque outfit isn’t complete without a stylish and confident skirt or dress!
High-Low Show Girl Skirt
- Perfect for BurlesqueSteampunk, Goth, Cyberpunk
- Soft, Durable Rayon Fabric
- Four Tiers of Ruffles
- Adjustable Length in Front
- Elasticized Waist
Stockings and Gloves: Subtle Touches of Seduction
When attending a burlesque show, your stockings and gloves serve as subtle yet sensual accents to complete your look.
A pair of sheer vintage-style stockings in a neutral shade or a pop of color adds a touch of glamor under your skirt. Look for stockings with a back seam for an authentic retro look, or fishnet stockings for a sultry effect. Pull your stockings on and make sure the seam is straight up the back of your leg. Secure them in place with a garter belt to prevent sagging, which also creates a flattering shape.
Stockings come in a range of deniers, from ultrasheer (around 5 to 10 denier) up to more opaque styles (40 denier and above). A higher denier will provide more coverage and last longer, while a lower denier creates an ultra seductive look. Choose a denier based on the level of modesty or daring you want to achieve with your burlesque look.
Stay-up Fishnet Stockings with Backseam
- Underwire type: Wire Free
- 100% Nylon
A pair of elbow-length gloves adds a touch of vintage glamor and mystique. Velvet, lace or satin gloves in red, black or white are popular choices that evoke a sense of boudoir seduction. Pull the gloves on so they extend around 2 to 3 inches past your elbow. Make sure the glove opening has a snug yet comfortable fit around your upper arm.
Gloves serve both a decorative and practical purpose, allowing you to make expressive hand gestures during a performance without directly contacting props or furniture. They also draw attention to your arms and hands, highlighting accessories like bracelets. Consider wearing a statement ring over the top of your gloves for an eye-catching detail.
Between your stockings and gloves, you’ll emanate sensuality from tip to toe. These final touches turn your burlesque outfit into a work of art and allow you to embrace the bold and dramatic style of this glamorous genre with confidence. Strike a pose and delight in the admiring glances as all eyes follow your every move.
Long Opera Party Gloves
- Choice of 12 colours
- Material: 90% Nylon + 10% Spandex, stretchy.
- Length: Approx. 22 inches, width 4.7 inches flat.
- Silky, soft, and comfortable.
- Elegant design with a touch of sheen.
- Ideal for gifts, costume parties, proms, and weddings.
Shoes: Strut Your Stuff in Style
The perfect burlesque outfit isn’t complete without a pair of eye-catching shoes. Your footwear is a chance to showcase your unique style and amp up the glamor. Victorian-inspired boots, retro pumps, or sky-high heels are all options to consider.
A pair of burlesque boots is ideal for a vintage vixen vibe. Look for boots with lush details like satin lace-up fronts, ruffled trim or decorative buttons. Knee-high or thigh-high boots in materials like velvet, leather or suede are dramatic and alluring. If you want to kick it up a notch, opt for a pair with striped or patterned fabric.
Retro-style T-strap or peep toe pumps are a classic burlesque choice. Their delicate straps and tapered heels evoke a pin-up silhouette. Look for pumps in a bold color or an eye-catching print like polka dots. Adding a pair of fishnet stockings takes this look to a whole new level of sultry style.
Sky-high platform heels, especially those with an ankle strap, are perfect for burlesque divas who want to tower over the crowd. Platform heels give you extra height while still being comfortable enough to dance the night away. Look for strappy sandal styles, peep toe pumps or cage heels in shiny materials, bright colors or animal prints. Pair platform heels with a flirty mini skirt or hot pants for a sexy retro-meets-modern look.
No matter which style you choose, your burlesque shoes should reflect your personality and boost your confidence. Strut, sashay and stomp to your heart’s content, embracing your inner showgirl. Your shoes are a chance to put your best foot forward, so pick a pair that makes you feel fierce, flirty and ready to dazzle. The spotlight is yours, darling. Now, work those heels!
Mid Calf Boot
Accessories: Boas, Fans, and Sparkle
Once you have your outfit picked out, it’s time to accessorize! Accessories are essential for completing the glamorous burlesque look and highlighting your unique style.
A feather boa is a flamboyant necessity for any burlesque costume. Typically made of marabou or ostrich feathers, boas come in a variety of colors to match your outfit. Wrap a boa around your shoulders, neck or waist to accentuate your silhouette. For extra drama, opt for a longer boa that extends down to your knees.
Fans are a popular burlesque prop used in dance routines and to flirtatiously conceal and reveal. Carry an ornate fan as part of your outfit or have one on hand in case you want to participate in any fan dances. Silk or lace fans in rich colors like red, black or gold pair nicely with most burlesque styles.
Pasties cover and draw attention to your nipples in a cheeky yet glamorous way. Choose between tassel pasties, sticker pasties or reusable pasties depending on how much nipple coverage and attachment you prefer. Pasties come in a variety of colors, textures and designs from hearts to stars to rhinestones so you can pick a style that matches your persona.
- Choice of 25 colours
- Feather: Turkey Feathers
- Weight: 100 grams
- Dimensions: 78″ (long) x 8-9″ (wide, tip to tip)
As previously mentioned, a pair of opera-length gloves adds an air of mystery and pin-up appeal to any burlesque outfit. Elbow-length or higher, gloves are typically made of satin, lace, mesh or velvet. For a bolder look, opt for fingerless gloves or ones with cut-outs. If you want to wear gloves but still show some skin, choose a pair with mesh panels or lace detailing.
No burlesque outfit is complete without a healthy dose of sparkle and shine. Add some glitz with a rhinestone choker, cuff bracelet or hair clip. For extra dazzle, apply rhinestones, sequins or glitter around your eyes or décolletage. A little sparkle goes a long way in highlighting your features and ensuring all eyes stay on you during your performance.
Makeup: Create Your Burlesque Persona
When attending a burlesque show, your makeup look is key to embracing the dramatic and expressive spirit. Play up your features to create a persona that channels the bold confidence of burlesque.
Focus on your eyes. Apply winged eyeliner, false lashes, and smoky shadow for a seductive gaze. Cat eyes, in particular, evoke the feminine feline fierceness of burlesque. For an authentic retro style, try a pin-up look with arched brows, winged liner, and red lips.
Use a bold red lipstick. Nothing says glamor like a crimson pout. Matte, satin, or glossy – choose a shade and finish suited to your skin tone. Practice your pout in a mirror to master an alluring lip shape.
Contour and highlight. Use makeup to sculpt your face into an idealized shape. Apply a foundation or powder a couple shades darker than your skin tone under your cheekbones and jawline to create shadows. Then apply a lighter concealer to the bridge of your nose, forehead, and under eyes to highlight. Finish with a dusting of powder.
Consider a wig or hairpiece. Style your actual hair in victory rolls, pin curls or an updo. Or don a wig to completely transform your look. A long, wavy wig gives you the bombshell silhouette of a burlesque star. Feather pieces, flowers or a fascinator add extra whimsy.
Don’t forget the rest. Apply powder, blush, and setting spray for a flawless finish. Glitter, rhinestones or temporary tattoos will give your décolletage some sparkle under the stage lights. And fake nails or nail polish in a deep red or black will complete your manicure.
With the right makeup and hair styling, you’ll dazzle at the show. Strike a pose, bat your lashes and pout with attitude. Your burlesque persona awaits! Unleash your inner diva – you’re a vision of vintage glamor and femme fatale seduction. Now get out there and flaunt it!
Wigs: Transform Your Look
Wigs are a staple of burlesque style, allowing you to transform into a new character and era. A wig can make a dramatic statement, so choose one that fits your personal style and the overall theme of the show.
Vintage-inspired wigs are always a popular choice for burlesque. Consider a pin-up style wig with victory rolls, a bob cut with blunt bangs, or long, flowing curls a la Marilyn Monroe. These retro wigs evoke a classic burlesque feel. Alternatively, you might opt for a more dramatic wig in an unnatural shade like cotton candy pink, mint green or bright red. These eye-catching wigs make a bold statement and suit more avant-garde burlesque shows.
When selecting a wig, pay attention to the color, cut, length, and texture. A color close to your natural hair shade will give a more realistic look, while an unnatural hue transforms you into a different character. Short bobs and pixie cuts tend to suit an edgy, androgynous style, while longer, curlier locks are ultra-feminine and glamorous. The texture can range from sleek and straight to voluminous curls. Consider how the wig’s cut and texture will complement your facial features.
Wigs also come in different cap styles – lace front wigs provide the most natural-looking hairline if you want an undetectable wig, while open cap wigs are more breathable for longer wear. Choose a cap style based on how long you need to wear the wig and how realistic you want it to appear.
With the right wig, you’ll make a dramatic entrance and embody the playful spirit of burlesque. Whether you opt for pin-up curls or neon locks, a wig lets your personality shine through for an unforgettable performance. Strut your stuff and become the character you’ve always wanted to be, if only for one spectacular night.
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Putting It All Together: Tips for a Showstopping Burlesque Outfit
You have the corset, the skirt, the stockings and heels—now it’s time to assemble your burlesque ensemble. To achieve a sensational look from head to toe, keep these tips in mind:
Focus on accentuating your best features. If you have a small waist, cinch it with a corset. Great legs? Flaunt them in fishnets and sky-high heels. Play up your assets for maximum impact.
Coordinate colors and patterns. While burlesque style embraces extravagance, avoid looking haphazard. Choose a color palette and incorporate complementary shades in your accessories. Match metallics or stick to a single pattern like polka dots or stripes on multiple pieces.
Pile on the accessories. No burlesque outfit is complete without boas, fans, fascinators or pasties. Experiment with different accessories to find your signature look. But don’t overdo it—aim for 3 to 4 statement pieces so you don’t appear cluttered.
Perfect your makeup and hair. A dramatic outfit calls for an equally dramatic makeup look. Opt for a smoky eye, red lipstick, and defined brows. Set and tease your hair to achieve maximum height and volume. Consider wearing a wig to complete the transformation.
Practice your moves. Once you have the look down, work on perfecting a few signature moves and poses. Watch videos of renowned burlesque dancers for inspiration. Even practicing in front of a mirror can help boost your confidence for the big reveal on stage.
Exude confidence. The most important part of any burlesque outfit is your attitude. Channel your inner diva and dazzle the audience with a coy smile or playful wink. Strut, shimmy and sway across the stage, proudly flaunting your fabulous ensemble. Your confidence and charisma will make the strongest impression.
With the right outfit, makeup and moves, you’ll captivate the crowd at your next burlesque show. So go on, unleash your inner seductress—the spotlight is yours!
Conclusion: What To Wear To A Burlesque Show
So now you’ve got all the tools to rock the burlesque scene. Corset? Check. Feather boa? Check. Sexy heels? Double check. Don’t forget to top it all off with a stylish wig and gloves to complete your seductive ensemble. Once you’ve assembled your outfit, practice your most dramatic poses in the mirror and get ready to unleash your inner showgirl. A night out at a burlesque show should be a chance to escape the everyday and embrace your wild side. Now get out there, flaunt what your mama gave you, and enjoy the spectacle of it all! The burlesque stage is calling your name.