One of my very favorite ways of dressing is Showgirl Style, and nothing brings it out in me like a visit to Las Vegas. So when I was in Sin City last week, not only did I don it myself, but I got to see it on others in many exciting forms.

The most common form I saw was Attempted Showgirl. That’s when ladies half-ass some sequins or sparklyness in an otherwise casual outfit. As exemplified by this get-up from Frederick’s of Hollywood:


And while I find this look demoralizing, I tell myself that these women are merely on the first rung of the Showgirl Style ladder that they will eventually climb.

Personally, I prefer to dress in Vintage Showgirl. This is the showgirl look from the 1950s or 1960s, back when said showgirl was more likely to parade around the stage in a huge headdress, rather than mock hump the stage with a fake guitar, as I saw at X Burlesque recently.

Here I’m demonstrating the 60s style. Sequins, sequins and did I mention sequins? With pointy toed heels.


But this style is hard to wear around San Francisco. It sticks out like a sore thumb, all that color and sparkle in a sea of black. But, as I like to say, “if you’re gonna put your foot in your mouth, why not make room for both?” so when I’m in a showgirl mood in San Francisco I go straight for the most advanced form: Retired Showgirl.


Think Peg Bundy but shinier and you’ll be right on.

The upside of this form is that it comes with a whole personality you can embody: the bitter, been around the block too many times to give a shit, seen too much to be impressed, smoky voiced, hard drinkin’, truth knowin’ but big hearted realist. And you get to call people “sweetie” or “hon” or “you bastard” without shocking anybody.

But be warned: Retired Showgirl is an advanced move. Because it doesn’t necessarily look good, you have to be confident enough to look like an ass. But if there’s one lesson I can give, it’s that the minute you relish looking like an ass, your life will be a hundred times more enjoyable.

the author

Babe Scanlon is a writer living and working in San Francisco. She's worked as an archaeologist, computer game designer, agent at Agent Provocateur and hypnotherapist. She is controlling your mind at this very moment.

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