After seeing the lovely Emilie Autumn perform at Gramercy Theater last Friday, I was inspired by her dark twist on Victorian fashion. Somewhere between Gothic and Burlesque, she and her backup dancers wore beautiful costumes that made the concert seem more like a Broadway musical. While corsets have always had a special place in my heart, I was more fascinated by their modern-day bustle skirts.
Condensed from Wikipedia:
Bustles were originally designed to expand the fullness of the back of a woman’s dress during the mid-to-late 19th century. Typically a Victorian fashion, the shape created by the combination of a bustle and corset accentuated the rump, waist, and bosom – resulting in highly idealized representations of female sexual identity, simultaneously exaggerating and concealing the body’s figure.
If I owned a bustle skirt, it would render the illusion of my narrow hips looking fuller and my thick waist appearing more slender – even if just for costuming purposes. I’ve always yearned for an hourglass figure, but genetics have proven it impossible for me. Regardless of how much I work out or diet, the rest of me shrinks while my middle stays the same. ;_; (If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend my fellow blogger Christal’s post about apple-shaped bodies.)
Over the years, the burlesque industry has adapted the once-conservative fashion trend into something more risqué. Instead of being worn under a dress, modern bustle skirts are typically short and worn alone over lingerie. The fabric can range from sheer organza to dupion silk, depending on the quality. Personally, I’m completely in love with this elegant piece from Lovechild Boudoir, appropriately named Lady Lovecraft.
But as with most things, excellence comes with a price. And I’m not about to spend $100+ on something I may only wear a handful of times. I can definitely see myself frolicking about in one of these at conventions, raves, Halloween parties, and Renaissance Faires.. but I currently have financial priorities. :< Thankfully, there are some cheaper alternatives! Leg Avenue carries a burlesque line of clothing, which includes these adorable striped bustle skirts which go for as low as $14 on Amazon. Flimsy and thin, yes. But practical for the amateur costume enthusiast? Absolutely. :3
While we’re on the topic of burlesque, I really wish it hadn’t died out as an art form. It emphasized that curvy women are downright gorgeous, and we really don’t get enough of that in the media nowadays. Rarely am I ever impressed by current society’s standard that “anorexic” is “sexy”. In fact, I am awestruck by the beauty of buxom pin-up models like the legendary Dita Von Teese. So much so that last month I purchased this chemise inspired by her iconic look, courtesy of Wicked Temptations.
Maybe one day I’ll even muster up the courage and confidence to take one of those burlesque classes in the city so often featured on Living Social. ;D