Monte Carlo Fashion: Glamour, Dance, and Vice

By: Madison Shimoda | Nov 09, 2009 | 1503 Views Life |

When it comes to dressing for a themed party, I’ve learned from past experiences at TNC and Trick or Drink the following things: costumes look tacky. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of loud, outrageous costumes for events like those—they’re fun, frivolous, and make fantastic pictures to untag or tag on Facebook (depending on which side of the camera you were standing). But Monte Carlo should be different.

Photographer: Richard Avedon, Model: Sunny Harnett, wearing Madame Gres

Photographer: Richard Avedon, Model: Sunny Harnett, wearing Madame Gres

This year junior class president Tammy Phan has picked the perfect theme for our homecoming: Moulin Rouge—a wonderful blend of vintage glamour, dance, and vice. Not to mention, the movie, Moulin Rouge is one of my absolute favorites. But with a theme like this, it is too easy to be shortsighted and look no further than the can-can dancers from the movie and dress, well, like cabaret dancers.

Stand out from the crowd of corset dress-wearing girls and suit wearing-boys by updating the Moulin Rouge look with fashion forward items. Some ideas are below — click on the images for more detail.

Coming Up Roses

Moulin Rouge, Men2

Want to look like a patron of Moulin Rouge from back in the nineteenth century? (I’m sure you don’t want to look like the American tourists that now frequent the cabaret.) Don’t waste your money on renting an ugly prom tux. Inject some life into your outfit with a vintage smoking jacket and make it youthful with an American Apparel bow tie to bypass all the trouble of learning how to tie one. If you’re ambitious and want to learn how to tie one, watch this useful video: How to Tie a Bow Tie

Rise and Shine

Moulin Rouge 3

One of my favorite scenes from the movie was when Satine was hoisted on a swing while singing Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend. Borrow her look by wearing a body suit but don’t even think about skipping on wearing pants or skirt (you are not Beyonce, Lady Gaga, or Miley Cyrus). Layer your body suit with a dramatic skirt or add glitter to a tulle skirt with a sequined belt.

Seeing Red

Moulin Rouge Red

Red is the color of passion and incidentally, the color that Baz Lurhman decided to focus on cinematographically for his movie Moulin Rouge. Red is usually a great color to wear to stand out from the crowd, but because the color palette of Moulin Rouge is largely red to begin with, wearing red is not going to stop the show this time around. But if you insist on wearing red, make sure your dress is different—wear a scarlet floor-sweeping gown. And when in doubt, accessorize, accessorize, accessorize. Wear a vintage (or vintage-looking) gold chain necklace and add simple but elegant accessories to your hair. Also, make use of designer diffusion shoe lines at high-street stores. The Christian Siriano heels at Payless ShoeSourse are too fierce to ignore.

Moulin Rouge meets the Rodeo

Moulin Rouge Meets the Rodeo

Take your inspiration from old Moulin Rouge posters. Jazz up a yellow day-dress with sparkly vest. Make everyone draw their reins with your vivid dress and stop everyone in their tracks with accessories that dazzle.

Whenever dressing for a theme-party, it’s good to remember: inspiration, not reproduction.

Monte Carlo will be held on Saturday, November 14, 2009, 9pm-1am on the Ben F. Smith Tennis Courts.  Tickets may be purchased online: http://www.thecmcforum.com/montecarlo or in the dining halls (see Facebook event for dates and times).  CMS students may register guests at: http://www.thecmcforum.com/montecarloguests.

About the Author

Born in Johor Baru, Malaysia, and raised in Tokyo, Japan, Madison Shimoda is an award-winning writer, performer, and shopper. She now temporarily lives in the United States and working on a Bachelor's degree in Literature and Philosophy & Public Affairs at Claremont McKenna College. During her spare time, Madison likes reading poetry, shopping, and listening to jazz. She is currently working on the next great American novel.

  1. Matt F November 10, 2009 at 6:27 am -

    Nice recommendations. I love Ewan Mcgregor I may just get that outfit. Any idea where to get a tophat?

    • Jillian November 11, 2009 at 3:48 am -

      The vintage store on 1st in the village might be a good place to check… or some of the costume shops that have HUGE sales after halloween… or Goodwill.

      I WOULD LOVE TO SEE A TOP HAT AT THIS EVENT!

  2. Matt F November 9, 2009 at 10:27 pm -

    Nice recommendations. I love Ewan Mcgregor I may just get that outfit. Any idea where to get a tophat?

    • Jillian November 10, 2009 at 7:48 pm -

      The vintage store on 1st in the village might be a good place to check… or some of the costume shops that have HUGE sales after halloween… or Goodwill.

      I WOULD LOVE TO SEE A TOP HAT AT THIS EVENT!

  3. bigchris1313 November 10, 2009 at 11:37 pm -

    Regarding your recommendations for males, Miss Shimoda, I must respectfully dissent. While I understand that you are offering a fashion-forward alternative to a matching colored vest and long tie prom tuxedo—menswear public enemy number one, to be sure—my traditionalist tendencies cannot help but be offended, as you trade one train-wreck for another. I wanted to list my grievances in detail below, but because I’m incapable of doing so succinctly, I will direct you to the internet’s definitive source—The Black Tie Guide—for the nuts and bolts, and instead offer an extremely brief summary.

    1. Formal bow ties should never be polyester .

    2. Off-the-rack wing collar shirts have weak and flimsy collars and should never take pleated fronts.

    3. Black pants from the Gap bear no resemblance to formal trousers save color.

    4. Smoking jackets by definition are luxury items worn only in your own home or maybe at intimate gatherings elsewhere.

    5. A bouquet of roses has no business constituting 18% of a “tuxedo” budget this stringent.

    Frankly, the outfit is going to look ridiculous. The pants will not break cleanly or fit properly at the waist; the outfit will lack the cummerbund or vest necessary to smooth the transition between the pants and the shirt; the jacket is unlikely to have been tailored to fit properly—the outfit will seem like a costume, not evening dress. That’s not much utility for $165, even if you incorporate the pants into your wardrobe. Of course, I admit that the cost of the ensemble can be knocked down to $115 if you already have a black pair of pants—but you’ll still bear wearing a costume, not evening dress.

    The truth is that a proper dinner suit (tuxedo) is not inexpensive. Because of its simplicity of color and style, the dinner suit has to be well-executed. The simplicity of its form demands it. Even if you manage to find a good dinner suit on sale—and there are plenty of bad ones not worth the polyester from which they’re woven—the necessary accoutrements still make it an expensive proposition. A vest or cummerbund, a proper bow tie, shirt studs, cuff links, a formal shirt—these all cost significant sums of money. The investment is too great to make only days before Monte Carlo, and most students’ limited budgets will likely yield suboptimal results.

    An ill-fitting or poorly executed dinner suit is a gimmick. You will stand out from the crowd, but for the wrong reasons, your outfit quickly revealed for what it is—a costume. The alternative is to do what many guests of “black tie optional” events do: wear a dark suit. Most men in modern society are so rarely invited to black tie events that “black tie optional” has almost become the norm. Because Monte Carlo is not a rigid “black tie [only]” event, a dark suit amply satisfies the dress code requirements.

    A man’s suit, if fitted correctly, should be the most flattering piece of his wardrobe. It should strengthen the shoulders, suppress the waist, and lengthen the legs. This makes him appear taller and more V-shaped—virile, masculine, all that good stuff. Unfortunately, many suits are not tailored correctly because they are done cheaply by in-house alterations tailors, such as at the aforementioned Men’s Wearhouse.

    I would advise you to find your best dark suit—preferably solid, though pinstripes are permissible, in navy blue, charcoal, or dark grey (black is acceptable). Observe how it fits in a mirror: are the sleeves too long, hiding your shirt cuffs completely? Is it too baggy in the waist? Do your pants break too heavily and pool around your ankles? Is the chest too tight? Is it too long or too short? If your suit fits less than immaculately, take it to a real tailor and tell him that you need some work done by Saturday. Tell him you want a moderate break, 1/4” to 1/2” of exposed shirt cuff, and some waist suppression. He should be able to fix any other problems you may have. If he can’t do it by Saturday afternoon, tell him you’ll find someone else who can. He’ll probably find a way. If not, find someone who will

    Take a solid white dress shirt—the one you just wore to the tailor—to the cleaners and get it laundered with medium starch. Take your shoes—hopefully a black leather lace-up—to the cobbler to be shined, or shine them yourself (as I do). Go purchase a white linen pocket square if you’re more conservative, or an aggressive, multicolored silk one if you’re more rakish. Fold up the white linen square into a rectangle and place it in the breast pocket of your newly-tailored jacket with a 1/2” of linen exposed; or alternatively take your silk square and haphazardly drop it 2/3 of the way into the breast pocket. Finally, pick out a dark, simple tie—burgundy, royal/navy blue, deep purple—either a Churchill dot or a simple foulard (geometric design). Make sure to wear dark socks that won’t slide down and expose your ankles.

    Armed with this outfit of a properly tailored suit, shined shoes, and a pocket square, you’ll stand out from the crowd, but you’ll do so without seeming like you’re wearing a costume. Your suit, when finished and properly tailored, should emphasize your best points and minimize your physical shortcomings, broadening your shoulders and narrowing your waist. Your shined shoes will be readily apparent to anyone whose eyes venture south, and your pocket square, even one of simple white linen, will serve to distinguish you from your colleagues. It should go without saying that you should be clean and well-groomed.

    The pocket square, shoe shine, and laundered shirt together should run $30-45. This leaves you over $100 to invest in whatever tailoring is necessary to get your suit into peak condition. And unlike the black Gap pants, smoking jacket, and polyester bow tie, a properly fitted suit with a pocket square (and shined shoes) is something you’ll be able to wear for years. If you’re going to spend a good sum of money on your outfit for Monte Carlo, please make it an investment—not a profligate one-night expenditure.

    • Madison Shimoda November 11, 2009 at 1:44 am -

      Dear bigchris1313:

      I completely agree with you. You are absolutely right in saying that the outfit I had put together for men is gimmicky and costumey! I admit that men’s fashion is not my expertise but I would love to pick your brain and learn from you. Please shoot me an email. I’ll buy you coffee. (For real.) Thanks for the thorough response! I’m sure many people will benefit from your comment– I definitely learned a lot.

      Madison

      P.S. I rarely respond to my readers but I was so excited to see a long comment that I felt I should! :)

    • Admirer November 11, 2009 at 3:55 am -

      You are… divine.

      I love a man in a good suit and, for the record, I took Visual Identity and Fashion in Literature last year – your reply knocked me off my feet.

  4. bigchris1313 November 10, 2009 at 3:37 pm -

    Regarding your recommendations for males, Miss Shimoda, I must respectfully dissent. While I understand that you are offering a fashion-forward alternative to a matching colored vest and long tie prom tuxedo—menswear public enemy number one, to be sure—my traditionalist tendencies cannot help but be offended, as you trade one train-wreck for another. I wanted to list my grievances in detail below, but because I’m incapable of doing so succinctly, I will direct you to the internet’s definitive source—The Black Tie Guide—for the nuts and bolts, and instead offer an extremely brief summary.

    1. Formal bow ties should never be polyester .

    2. Off-the-rack wing collar shirts have weak and flimsy collars and should never take pleated fronts.

    3. Black pants from the Gap bear no resemblance to formal trousers save color.

    4. Smoking jackets by definition are luxury items worn only in your own home or maybe at intimate gatherings elsewhere.

    5. A bouquet of roses has no business constituting 18% of a “tuxedo” budget this stringent.

    Frankly, the outfit is going to look ridiculous. The pants will not break cleanly or fit properly at the waist; the outfit will lack the cummerbund or vest necessary to smooth the transition between the pants and the shirt; the jacket is unlikely to have been tailored to fit properly—the outfit will seem like a costume, not evening dress. That’s not much utility for $165, even if you incorporate the pants into your wardrobe. Of course, I admit that the cost of the ensemble can be knocked down to $115 if you already have a black pair of pants—but you’ll still bear wearing a costume, not evening dress.

    The truth is that a proper dinner suit (tuxedo) is not inexpensive. Because of its simplicity of color and style, the dinner suit has to be well-executed. The simplicity of its form demands it. Even if you manage to find a good dinner suit on sale—and there are plenty of bad ones not worth the polyester from which they’re woven—the necessary accoutrements still make it an expensive proposition. A vest or cummerbund, a proper bow tie, shirt studs, cuff links, a formal shirt—these all cost significant sums of money. The investment is too great to make only days before Monte Carlo, and most students’ limited budgets will likely yield suboptimal results.

    An ill-fitting or poorly executed dinner suit is a gimmick. You will stand out from the crowd, but for the wrong reasons, your outfit quickly revealed for what it is—a costume. The alternative is to do what many guests of “black tie optional” events do: wear a dark suit. Most men in modern society are so rarely invited to black tie events that “black tie optional” has almost become the norm. Because Monte Carlo is not a rigid “black tie [only]” event, a dark suit amply satisfies the dress code requirements.

    A man’s suit, if fitted correctly, should be the most flattering piece of his wardrobe. It should strengthen the shoulders, suppress the waist, and lengthen the legs. This makes him appear taller and more V-shaped—virile, masculine, all that good stuff. Unfortunately, many suits are not tailored correctly because they are done cheaply by in-house alterations tailors, such as at the aforementioned Men’s Wearhouse.

    I would advise you to find your best dark suit—preferably solid, though pinstripes are permissible, in navy blue, charcoal, or dark grey (black is acceptable). Observe how it fits in a mirror: are the sleeves too long, hiding your shirt cuffs completely? Is it too baggy in the waist? Do your pants break too heavily and pool around your ankles? Is the chest too tight? Is it too long or too short? If your suit fits less than immaculately, take it to a real tailor and tell him that you need some work done by Saturday. Tell him you want a moderate break, 1/4” to 1/2” of exposed shirt cuff, and some waist suppression. He should be able to fix any other problems you may have. If he can’t do it by Saturday afternoon, tell him you’ll find someone else who can. He’ll probably find a way. If not, find someone who will

    Take a solid white dress shirt—the one you just wore to the tailor—to the cleaners and get it laundered with medium starch. Take your shoes—hopefully a black leather lace-up—to the cobbler to be shined, or shine them yourself (as I do). Go purchase a white linen pocket square if you’re more conservative, or an aggressive, multicolored silk one if you’re more rakish. Fold up the white linen square into a rectangle and place it in the breast pocket of your newly-tailored jacket with a 1/2” of linen exposed; or alternatively take your silk square and haphazardly drop it 2/3 of the way into the breast pocket. Finally, pick out a dark, simple tie—burgundy, royal/navy blue, deep purple—either a Churchill dot or a simple foulard (geometric design). Make sure to wear dark socks that won’t slide down and expose your ankles.

    Armed with this outfit of a properly tailored suit, shined shoes, and a pocket square, you’ll stand out from the crowd, but you’ll do so without seeming like you’re wearing a costume. Your suit, when finished and properly tailored, should emphasize your best points and minimize your physical shortcomings, broadening your shoulders and narrowing your waist. Your shined shoes will be readily apparent to anyone whose eyes venture south, and your pocket square, even one of simple white linen, will serve to distinguish you from your colleagues. It should go without saying that you should be clean and well-groomed.

    The pocket square, shoe shine, and laundered shirt together should run $30-45. This leaves you over $100 to invest in whatever tailoring is necessary to get your suit into peak condition. And unlike the black Gap pants, smoking jacket, and polyester bow tie, a properly fitted suit with a pocket square (and shined shoes) is something you’ll be able to wear for years. If you’re going to spend a good sum of money on your outfit for Monte Carlo, please make it an investment—not a profligate one-night expenditure.

    • Madison Shimoda November 10, 2009 at 5:44 pm -

      Dear bigchris1313:

      I completely agree with you. You are absolutely right in saying that the outfit I had put together for men is gimmicky and costumey! I admit that men’s fashion is not my expertise but I would love to pick your brain and learn from you. Please shoot me an email. I’ll buy you coffee. (For real.) Thanks for the thorough response! I’m sure many people will benefit from your comment– I definitely learned a lot.

      Madison

      P.S. I rarely respond to my readers but I was so excited to see a long comment that I felt I should! :)

    • Admirer November 10, 2009 at 7:55 pm -

      You are… divine.

      I love a man in a good suit and, for the record, I took Visual Identity and Fashion in Literature last year – your reply knocked me off my feet.

  5. r4i kaart November 12, 2009 at 1:26 pm -

    Hi,
    Fashion is the best way to show out our personality and also glamour..
    so i will take this article in my life…
    Thanks for sharing valuable info..

  6. r4i kaart November 12, 2009 at 5:26 am -

    Hi,
    Fashion is the best way to show out our personality and also glamour..
    so i will take this article in my life…
    Thanks for sharing valuable info..