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!