Dressing down can be a challenge when the hallmarks of your look are glamour and va-va-voom. It inspires me to see how DVT (Dita von Teese, not Deep Vein Thrombosis) makes her vintage style work in everyday life. No heels, no spotlights, but always with her signature red lipstick.
What to wear to…
I have this Wheels & Dollbaby cardigan in three colours. They called it the Dita but that was obviously a mistake.
I can vouch for its versatility as I too have pulled mine on to pop to the shop. I have also teamed it with a pencil skirt and heels for a dinner date or an extra fancy trip to Tesco. If you’ve not heard of this Australian brand, go forth and drool. When I lived in Sydney I worked two minutes from their flagship boutique. Payday lunchtimes were at once exhilarating and dangerous. Dita’s paired her cardi with black pedal pushers and a high ponytail to make her look like a 1950s bad girl.
Sorry the pictures aren’t clearer – Dita’s obviously feeling shy in her workout wear. That’s probably why she’s hiding behind her leg. Now for the analysis. OK so it’s just a black T-shirt and leggings, but the fitted retro shapes make it special. The sweetheart neckline and capri-length trousers ensure Dita’s silhouette stays sculpted. As does the Pilates class. I bet she’s strategically chosen Pilates because it’s comparatively unsweaty, meaning her full face of make-up doesn’t end up all over her lovely top. She’s probably opted for all black to hide any unglamorous patches of perspiration that do emerge. I’m planning to follow all these tips when I go to the gym next year.
She throws on a trench coat, ballet flats and a roomy, leopard-print bag to cover up en route. These are all excellent vintage basics you’ll wear the bejaysus out of. I love her Lulu Guinness keyring in the shape of a lipstick – if you do too you can buy it here.
Dita’s festival-wear is less structured than her usual get-up. But her impeccable grooming and attention to detail means she manages to make wearing trainers, while standing in a field, look chic. Von Teese keeps it playful in an anchor-print tea dress by D&G. The classic navy pumps fit her retro aesthetic without compromising her ability to walk on the grass. Sunglasses are essential to disguise hungover eyes. And she’s picked a bag with a shoulder strap to leave her perfectly manicured hands free for important festival activities like holding drinks and waving about in the air.
Dita’s wearing a dress with a circle skirt for maximum comfort and a fitted bodice to keep it ladylike. Criss-cross straps on her flats add flair and stop her shoes flying off when she’s dashing to duty free to bulk buy sunblock (vital for preserving that porcelain complexion). Movie star sunglasses conceal any post-flight puffiness and a watch ensures she doesn’t miss boarding time. She’s finished off the outfit with a must-have travel accessory – someone else who is willing to push the trolley.
This is my favourite of Dita’s casual looks. I love how the birdcage appliqué on the 1950s circle skirt brightens up this black ensemble. If you’re a skilled seamstress you can buy the pattern here.
When asked about her dressed-down look, Dita had this to say:
“On a normal day, I usually wear ballet flats paired with fit-and-flare 50s style dresses, or I pair a sweater or blouse with a slim skirt or capri pants. I also have lots of slim cardigan sweaters in neutral shades. Think Audrey Hepburn — you can’t go wrong with using her casual style as a model for being elegant!”
To read more fashion advice from the horse’s pout, check out DVT’s column on www.xojane.com.