There’s still plenty of time to get your tickets for the next instalment of the fabulous Neon Moon Burlesque ball, but for an authentic outfit it’s best to plan in advance to make sure you’re completely kitted and looking forwards to donning your outfit by the time April 30th comes around. The theme is Wonderland, and is open to however your creative minds wish to interpret it – but for a starting point, let’s be inspired by the Lewis Carroll fantasy, Alice’s Adeventures in Wonderland.
Dressing up is great fun, but to make sure your attire is more fashion-fabulous than fancy-dress-flop you’ll find that a couple of key pieces and accessories can make all the difference and totally transform your look. Vintage is always a great way to go for your outfit; it will be original so you’ll stand out from the crowd, and with many items, you’ll be able to get plenty of wear after the event too. At Vintage Home & Wear we offer vintage and retro clothing, accessories and gifts. Based at The Old Chemist Antique Shop on Mill Road, we’ve been told that the ladies often find dressing up easier, with more variety available to them – so we’re going to focus on the chaps here, and offer some simple ideas for wonderland wear.
Written and illustrated in the 19th century, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland consistently features the waistcoat, which for gents is an essential item for the theme. Worn by the famous White Rabbit, Mad Hatter, Tweedledum & Tweedledee, the waistcoat will instantly set your outfit in the right period. With a huge range of colours and designs, we’ve got lots of different sizes available to buy or hire – so it’s well worth popping along to the shop and trying a few on.
How you wear your waistcoat is up to you; dress it down with a white shirt, or go all out with a cravat, bow-tie, or even a long silk scarf tied in a bow. Although we’re pretty confident we can kit you out with a whole outfit, there’s nothing wrong with using any decent white or striped shirt you already have at home, or even a waistcoat hanging around from a wedding – if you go for this option however, you’ll need a couple of key accessories to be in keeping with the theme. A sneaky way to turn your work shirt into something a little fancier is with a frilly detachable front – like the above – which simply buttons on. To hint at the Wonderland theme, you should be able to pick up a pack of cheap playing cards from your local charity shop. Fish out the Hearts, and accessorize with one in your pocket or hat band.
For a little more impact, a tailcoat can take you from traditional to extravagant – just look at this candy striped number with white reveres. Unlike some fancy dress outfits, this jacket is super-lightweight – a great option for those who want to dance the night away without getting too hot! Tailcoats should be worn over a shirt, but we recommend doubling up with a waistcoat too for an authentic look. For your bottom half, any pair of dark or striped trousers would suffice – we’ve also got high-waisted options which look the part paired with some button braces.
We’re sure there will be plenty of Mad Hatters in attendance at the ball, so if you’re opting to join as one them – make your outfit stand out with a vintage hat, and really look the part. From top hats – just like the Mad Hatter wore himself – to bowler hats, there’s plenty to choose from. Popping a playing card in the hat band will instantly transform the appearance, and look out for matching gloves too, like these white leather ones – perfect for completing a White Rabbit outfit.
Once you’ve got your basics down, it’s time to finish your outfit with accessories. The White Rabbit is famously quoted as being late, often seen pawing at a pocket watch, so choose a beautiful vintage piece and wear it proudly from your pocket. Braces are an easy way to add character to your suit, and were worn by Tweedledum & Tweedledee – opt for a colourway and pattern as daring as you are, remembering that it should be about having fun and is the perfect opportunity to try something new with your style.
Not forgetting the ladies, we’ve got garters, head pieces, gloves, jewellery, shoes and much more – as well as many dresses and outfits available to buy or to hire – plus, any of the outfits for chaps can easily be adapted by adding a corset over the shirt, or pulling in at the waist with a chunky belt, or even wearing a bow tie like a choker, in place of a necklace. For make-up, it’s all about pale faces, exaggerated rosy cheeks, and cupid lipstick. For an added touch of fantasy, we thoroughly recommend investing in a decent highlighting powder, which should be swept high into the cheekbones, brow bones, your cupids bow and décolletage. For a highly pigmented luxury option, Becca Shimmering Skin Perfetor in Pearl is a must-have, from Cult Beauty here. Or for a cheap and cheerful version, try Freedom Makeup’s PRO Highlight in the shade Brighten, for just £3 from Superdrug here.
All of the items seen in the images above are from (and available for sale at time of publishing!) Vintage Home & Wear, at The Old Chemist Antique Shop, 206 Mill Road. (That’s over the bridge, near Coop). Join us on our Facebook page to keep up to date with offers and events here. If you run out of time completely, or a pal takes a last-minute ticket – don’t panic, we’ll be at the ball with plenty of items on offer to add sass to your suit, or get you dazzling in your dress.
Find out more about the fabulous Neon Moon burlesque events here.