It’s an expensive investment to involve yourself in the creative world of Burlesque. I have often heard woeful tales of new performers declining to participate in gigs for lack of funds. Similarly, established performers are facing the same struggle; with many girls forgoing the chance to work on a new act because their creative vision does not match their bank account.
I navigate myself around this issue by focusing on:
- THINGS I SHOULD INVEST IN
- THINGS I CAN DO MYSELF (semi-professionally)
Now let me say this is definitely my personal opinion and what works for me. I would love to hear what you spend your coin on – let me know in the comments if you agree or disagree with my list!
1. Spend $$$ on Corsetry!
I paid around $300 for my first steel boned corset in 2008. I proudly STILL wear this corset today. I have also had my share of online shopping sprees of corsets bought for $30. In the moment you feel like a penny-pinching genius. But when the corset arrives and makes you look like a sexy-cylindrical-sausage-roll, you learn your lesson.
My pick for great corsetry is What Katie Did. An amazing UK vintage brand that specializes in corsetry, stockings and vintage garments. I spend up from $300 on my corsets because they fit well, flatter my figure, and most importantly: they LAST. If you want to make the most out of your corset investment, purchase it in a colour that works with the majority of your burlesque wardrobe. I always have a black and red in mine!
2. Spend $$$ on Capezio dance fishnets!
I learned this quite recently! I rarely wear full stockings on stage now, due to the fact that cheap nude tights tend to ladder the SECOND I put them on, and roll down during my act. Tres Annoying. When I went to Paris I saw all the gorgeous showgirls of the LIDO wearing skin tight nude fishnets that made their already perfect legs look ethereal. When I returned to Australia I discovered that I was missing out! Most showgirls and dancers have a few pairs of high quality dance tights in their wardrobe. They are made with nylon and spandex, and retail for $43.95 per pair. I have bought and owned ONE pair of Capezio’s and I am still wearing them two years later. No rips, no holes, worth it.
3. Spend $$$ on Bespoke costumes!
Now I love a good DIY. I have learned and made a lot of costumes throughout my time as a burlesque performer. HOWEVER… Having something made specifically for you is worth it in our industry. I have had some crazy-amazing costumes made by Morgan Kay, Harland the Label, and Amy Darling. Not to mention the countless sellers on Etsy! The costumes fit better, and you can support a local burlesque designer. Keep the industry flowing yo.
4. Spend $$$ on Wigs!
If you struggle to maintain plump, stage-worthy hair, I recommend the age old solution: Wigs. I always feel more professional and gorgeous in a plump wig. If you want long-lasting wigs with a higher density then invest a little bit more in your wig. Plus you can pay some extra to have it styled professionally for you. I have bought from ShowGirlwigs.com with prices ranging from $70- $110. For tips on where to buy… consult your local Queens!
5. Spend $$$ on ONE cool prop.
Props are fantastic for burlesque! They add flair to your act and can be fantastic for bookings. My tip is to master ONE prop, before you go spending the big bucks on the lot. I personally love huge Boas of the fabric variety. They are cruelty free, and last longer than the feathered kind. They also travel well, and can complement your costumes! My giant fabric boas cost upward from $100 each, and usually a shipping fee on top. A good quality pair of double layered feather fans is also a great choice, and can travel easier than a giant martini glass can!
As you progress in your burlesque career you can sell off any props you no longer wish to use, and go for something new!
Now I am no financial planner, so I’m going to end this by saying spend your money how you see fit! But put thought into every purchase you make for burlesque. You never know what you may need for your next big project!
Stay tuned for my next blog on: Five Cheap costume DIY ‘Worth it’s!