Fun fact: Not many people know that the etymology for the word glamour seems to have its origins in the Scottish term gramarye, meaning magic or spell.
(Well, maybe it is not SUCH a fun fact – I am sure you will excuse my pedantry, this is what happens when you spend too much time surrounded by books and not by real human beings, especially being the kind of an introvert who would rather eat her aforementioned books than talk to a total stranger for five minutes… Please, do not punch me with a book on the face… But I was trying to tell you a story, surely?)
Once a naive English language student, I learned this etymology by heart and immediately started associating it with a very personal memory: all those rainy Saturdays of my childhood, when my mum used to make us hot chocolate and play an Old Hollywood classic movie on TV.
Those actresses on them – ruthless, fierce, awesome – had nothing to do with the cute beauties in the 80´s or 90´s films. They were, I was and still am convinced, the quintessence of glamour.
The point is, glamour is indeed a sort of spell – you don´t really need to be gorgeous, but to become kind of a human magnet. It is more about personality than about beauty.
And then, about the same period, I heard Dita von Teese on a late-night show, saying glamour is not about youth, age or race. This idea truly resonated with my own perception on the matter. To me, iconic figures such as Bette Davies, Marlene Dietrich or Mae Wong represent this concept, but they did not fit the classic beauty standards at all. Just as Dita does not fit them.
The reason why people are fascinated by her is the way she represents herself in front of the others. The persona she has carefully crafted and created. More than once she has declared she started as a plain-Jane from Michigan. However, she managed to tailor herself a charm armour no-one would be indifferent about. To me, this is the whole point on glam. She found out her own thing and went ahead.
Now, when I suggest the topic of this post, I am not telling you to turn yourself into a Dita wannabe.
As she did, we should all go and find our own thing. Nonetheless, there are some outfit formulas she relies on which I find universally approachable and stylish, and this is what I really wish to share with you.
How to dress like Dita von Teese:
Outfit formula 1: The Sophisticated Lady
There is something indefinitely elegant on the combo formed by a well-tailored circle skirt and a simple turtleneck. Pair it with some nice heels and fine accessories and you get a look which can be used for any smart event, day or night.
Outfit formula 2: The Naïve Girl
Same skirts can be used with a nice blouse or cardigan and flats for a more casual look. It allows you a bit more movement freedom for daily errands (count me in for this, always), plus it can be always toned up with a couple of fancy earrings or a quality bag.
Outfit formula 3: The Bombshell
Well, most of us might never see the red carpet closer than we do on the MET gala pictures, but if are going out for a date this outfit formula totally counts. A pencil dress is a classic we usually underestimate, but with the right shoes and accessories, we can all experience a bit of that vintage glam Dita likes to share.
Outfit formula 4: The Librarian
Looking for an everyday look? We have seen the burlesque queen wearing a simple pencil skirt and cardigan frequently. You can match them with a nice scarf and glasses too for an easy daylight outfit. Clean, simple and classic – a combination which never fades.
These were some ideas on how to bring a bit of old school glamour to your wardrobe. Which of them would you adapt to your own style? Have you got any favorites?
In the next chapter of The Prêt-à-porter series…
The High Maintenance Dilemma: Is elegance a bad thing today?
Stay tuned for more monthly style tips!
21 thoughts on “How to dress like Dita Von Teese”
I love her style!
I love love love all the coords that you put together. I wish I have all those shoes!!!
I totally get you. I am in love with Roger Viviere shoes. They all look truly beautiful. 💕
I wish I could pull of these outfits because they look so fabulous! Very different from my daily t-shirt and jeans!
I wish I could get every piece from these inspiration formulas too, especially outfit number three.
I am currently in love with the Gucci bag! Maybe Santa will be kind to us this year, who knows? 😉
Those are some really incredible outfits. I love them, but I am not really sure I would feel 100% confident in them, but if I could pull that style off, I totally would. 🙂
Well, I believe style is a personal question, and what works for one person does not necessarily for another. However, a bit of experimentation is the salt of life and makes it funnier. The clothes are pretty too! 😊
This is so lovely! I love old movies and classic style.
I love the outfit selections! I’m a fan of the first one because of those red pumps. Also must say I enjoyed your fun fact! It’s neat how the etymology expanded to different connections and then into this post.
Thank you! The shoes are from a Romanian designer I truly love. Glad to see someone else appreciates etymology too, haha.
I love how you put these outfits together. I agree with you about the actresses in the old Hollywood movies. They were so lovely, graceful and strong women.
Thank you. To me, Old Hollywood actresses had a strong personality you could sense beyond their role on the screen. I find it difficult to compare with present day artists, maybe with one or two exceptions. I truly love Tilda Swinton for this specific reason.
This was a really great post & such a fun topic! I love those time periods & she has such a fun style! Thank you so much for sharing!
I adore your blog! This is such a fantastic post, from the way you wrote it to the outfit selections. I have followed your blog, really well done! You are doing such an amazing job.
Laura / https://laustworld.blogspot.com/
Many thanks for your kind words, Laura. Such a pleasure to have you here.
This was a super interesting post! Her style is so striking and glamorous. Thank you for sharing!
I love old hollywood fashion – I wish I had the confidence (and plans) to dress like this everyday! I do my make-up quite pin-up ish though! I love the tones of outfit number 2 x
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I love Ditas style. So sexy and perfectly her. If I could afford to I’d dress “pinup” esque. I think the style is beautiful. I had about 7 pinup dresses but they were too small :(. I always think the heels look so sexy but me and heels don’t mix. I need cute, funky and sexy flats. Do you have social media? I’d love to follow you 🙂
Hey Tanya! I am on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. I also have a Fb page, although I rarely use it these days. You can find the links to all my social media in the left side menu when connecting from a computer and on the top section if you’re using a mobile phone. 😊