She may be best known for appearing without clothes (or with very few), but this is one woman who can wear a dress like nobody’s business. She’s been styling in retro clothes and makeup for years, long before the show Mad Men made the bombshell look popular again. She is A-MA-ZING. I’ve been a fan of hers for years. I don’t know if it’s because she’s everything I’ve been discouraged from being (sexual, risqué, flashy), or because she is everything I want to be (ladylike, delicate, flashy). Not everyone can go out in full Dita Von Teese gear, but I think there are a few take-aways from this style icon.
1. Red Lips
This is probably going to be my most overused beauty tip of the season, but this winter–RED LIPS. DO IT. Look at how gorgeous and classic Dita looks with a red lip. Bombshells have always gone for red lips, but then there are the Paris Hiltons of the world, urging lip gloss on the poor women of America. I have never been a great fan of lip gloss (mostly because my hair always seems to get stuck in it, and it’s gone in a flash). But a bold red lip? It is an excellent way to stand out from the crowd. Yes, you will get noticed. Stand up straight and get used to it. And no using the excuse that you don’t look good in red lipstick. There’s a red for everyone. My red is MAC Red, with MAC cherry liner. (That’s my other tip–lipliner with red lipstick. Because it can bleed.) I have blue undertones to my skin, so it wouldn’t work for everyone. I also use Angel Red by Clinique, which is a sheer red. Try out some reds and see what works for you.
2. Have (or Fake) a Waist.
Dita has a ridiculously small waist. I saw an interview where she was asked if her waist is equal to the circumference of a football. Her reply was “I’ve never picked up a football, so I wouldn’t know.” Needless to say, you could probably encircle her waist with two hands. And then she puts a corset on and it gets absolutely insane.
I don’t naturally have an impressive waist. But I’ve found ways to fake it. Full skirts, sash waistbands, and empire waists are my tricks. Think hourglass when you try on clothes, and try to enhance whatever area of your torso is the smallest. And remember, you can’t fake a waist in jeggings. (Ewwww.)
3. Vivid Color
Life has too much black and blah sometimes. Let me reference another one of my obsessions, Project Runway. I was very depressed that Gretchen Jones won. Her colors depress me. Too much beige and burgundy in her palette. Mondo’s crayon-box colors were much more interesting and eye-catching. Sure, black is a great go-to color, but the rich jewel tones that Dita prefers are gorgeous. She seems to keep to solid colors rather than patterns, which means that the vibrant colors aren’t overpowering.
This one might be controversial, but there is nothing that says RETRO GLAMOUR like fur. But oh, the ethical dilemmas! I don’t actually support the fur industry. But real fur feels so amazing! I will admit, I own both real and fake fur, and feel great about all my fur. My real fur is all vintage and reclaimed. I’ve actually bought the pieces for a steal at antique malls and thrift shops. My favorite piece is a fur collar. When I bought it, it was matted and dull. I actually took it and painstakingly brushed it, like it was a delicate pet. Fortunately, it was well-made, so the fur didn’t come out. It turned out to be a gorgeous, thick grey fox collar. I wear it every winter. Look for ratty coats at the thrift store with decent fur collars or cuffs–you can remove them and attach them to something else. I always see collars with the little head and feet still attached, which make me a little queasy. But you can take a fur like that to a tailor who will chop those little extras right off. (Sorry poor animal babies!)
If you choose to go with fake fur instead, I would suggest that you base your selection on the way it feels. So many faux furs have a scratchy texture, and it ends up looking like they’re matted or cheap. Faux fur is fun in bright colors and obviously fake styles. If you’re going for a more realistic look, make sure that they feel soft and luxe.
Like what you see? Follow Dita on Twitter: @DitaVonTeese. She tweets fairly regularly. She is just as glamorous as she seems, and travels around the globe. And haven’t you always wanted to follow someone with her own cocktail and a chinoiserie flat in Paris?