Drama Queens

If all the world’s a stage, these women will help you dress for it.

What could a lascivious showgirl, a silent-film actress, a Parisian courtesan, and a murderous housewife have in common? They all know how to demand attention for many reasons, not the least of which is their spotlight-worthy style. From sexy gowns to saucy metallic numbers, these women school us in the art of wearing clothes and never letting the clothes wear them.

Clockwise from top left: dress, $150, miinto; bangles, $14, Asos; turband, $26, Nasty Gal; leopard print platforms, $26, LuLu’s; clutch, $40, Purse Boutique

In Sunset Boulevard (1950), Gloria Swanson plays the once-famous (but now forgotten) silent-film star Norma Desmond. Over the years, Norma has managed to maintain the illusion of dominance, mostly because everyone tiptoes around the fact that she’s cuckoolicious. She’s overbearing not only in her personality, but in her wardrobe as well, fond as she is of outfits that consist of head-to-toe leopard print. My kind of woman! While planning her comeback, she takes in a young screenwriting hottie to be at her beck and call. (Again, my kind of woman!) When her hottie ends up falling in love with someone else, we catch Norma’s final act–her descent into madness. To achieve Norma’s decadent style, collect any and all animal prints, starting with a lengthy dress like this number from miinto, and pile it on! In eccentric hats and turbands, you’ll soon be ready for your own closeup with Mr. DeMille.

Clockwise from left: mint jacket, $88, Nasty Gal; pumps, $77, Asos; bandeau, $2, Topshop; earrings, $25, Topshop; skirt, $76, Topshop

True, Showgirls (1995) is considered one of the (best) worst films in the existence of the universe, but has that ever stopped me before? It’s about a woman named Nomi Malone who makes her way to Las Vegas in order to become a famous showgirl. There’s a lot of backstabbing, scandalo, accusations of cochina-tude, and NSFW-ness, so don’t watch it when the EYES OF THE LAW are around, if you know what I mean. Elizabeth Berkley’s “Ver-sayce”-wearing Nomi has the best style IMHO: colored lace, floral tops, dangly earrings, and seriously shiny threads! Thank the Spice Girls almighty, the metallic fabric trend seems to be alive and thriving today. I mean, take a look at this shiny mint jacket! Nomi Malone would definitely push a girl down the stairs to own it.

Clockwise from left: red satin dress, $109, Pinup Girl Clothing; rhinestone collar necklace, $85, Asos; fan hairstick, $93, Trashy Diva; red lipstick, $22, Trashy Diva; heels, $62, ModCloth

Moulin Rouge (2001) is about a bohemian writer named Christian (Ewan McGregor) and a famous courtesan named Satine (Nicole Kidman) who fall in love and sing their desires for each other in Paris at the turn of the 20th century. The star-crossed lovers teach us that “the greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return,” which is nice and all, but tell me, where’d you get them beauteous threads, madame? Catherine Martin and Angus Strathie, the movie’s costume designers, won an Oscar for the explosion of petticoats, lacy stockings, heeled boots, and garter belts galore. And then there’s Satine’s silk gown! There are so many memorable red dresses in life. Vivian’s in Pretty Woman, Jessica Rabbit’s in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and some lady’s in a song called “The Lady in Red.” Satine’s joins these–it’s the kind of dress you dream about forever. Take note: this is definitely some homecoming/prom material. Pinup Girl Clothing has various crimson-colored dresses that could evoke Satine-level glam with the right sparkly accessories. Now let’s find some bohemian hunks/hunkettes!

Clockwise from left: sequin dress, $150, Topshop; collar necklace, $30, Topshop; faux fur gilet, $110, Topshop; heels, $125, ModCloth; fan ring, $12, Topshop;

But I don’t think any of our showbiz-loving women are as hungry for fame as Roxie Hart (Renée Zellweger) in the musical Chicago (2002). While spending time in da clink for shooting a man who failed to help her vaudeville career, Roxie takes advantage of her infamy and soon wins the hearts of the press and the public. Designer Colleen Atwood’s Oscar-winning costumes are dripping with sequins, beads, and fringe, embodying the flapper style that the movie, set in 1924, calls to mind. Drip yourself in a little bit of dazzle with this dress from Topshop, but then just avoid the fame-motivated murder. ♦


  • SiLK September 4th, 2012 3:08 PM

    Chicago and Moulin Rouge are two films that would definately make amazing drama-channeling, I am still to watch the rest!

  • Maggie September 4th, 2012 3:09 PM

    Does anyone else play the game where you look at the thumbnail/title on the homepage, and guess who the author’s going to be? I totally knew this was going to be Marie.

    • Libby September 5th, 2012 11:48 AM

      Yes! I do that all the time.
      And before I realised you could hover over the pictures & get the title in advance, I tried to guess what each article would be about before it was published.
      Crazy rookie fangirling here.

      • Cutesycreator aka Monica September 8th, 2012 6:49 AM

        I do both of these! :D

  • tove September 4th, 2012 3:09 PM

    Sunset Blvd. is one of the best movies of all time IMHO. Gloria Swanson was so freakin’ brilliant.

  • suburban grrrl September 4th, 2012 3:59 PM

    Showgirls = Kyle MacLachlan with bangs. I’m in.

  • Caitlin H. September 4th, 2012 4:01 PM

    I’ve always been more of a Velma Kelly fan, but this post has reminded me just how amazing Roxie dresses, mmm.

  • Ribba September 4th, 2012 4:04 PM

    Hope it’s not real fur..

  • sheschoppingbroccoli September 4th, 2012 4:08 PM

    Oh my gosh. I just made an account to comment and say BLESS YOU for including Showgirls. It really is the best worst movie ever.

  • Lillypod September 4th, 2012 4:11 PM

    I lovelovelove sunset blvd!! no other movie gives me the chillsssss like it!!

  • Coco Jane September 4th, 2012 9:09 PM

    I just re-watched Sunset Blvd and I am dying for a cigarette holder like that (but don’t smoke, kids!)

  • FiveDimesForNineLives September 4th, 2012 9:37 PM

    I swear to you I could watch Chicago on repeat!….Not Guilty.

  • Cerise September 4th, 2012 10:22 PM

    Moulin Rouge!! I am so happy right now. :)

  • Adrienne September 4th, 2012 10:54 PM

    So gorgeous! I love that minty jacket and oh my god Moulin Rouge!! <3

  • cosmicgr00ve September 4th, 2012 11:03 PM

    Ugh. Showgirls. So SO awful(FANTASTIC). Also. Bless your soul for opening this with the ever faboooliiiss Gloria Swanson. Sunset Blvd. is flawless. Also, I lol’d just a bit too hard at ‘spending time in da clink’ when referring to Ms. Roxie Hart and her jail time.


  • MayaLily September 5th, 2012 4:45 AM

    bugsy malone ????? why wassnt it up there

  • Blythe September 5th, 2012 3:47 PM

    Moulin Rouge! and Chicago, okay, yes good.

  • Susann September 6th, 2012 4:41 AM

    Oh my gosh, I love this! The last dress is gorgeous :)

    Fashion in Pepperland

  • mirry September 7th, 2012 9:58 AM

    ugh if I could channel Gloria Swanson/Norma Desmond every day I so would. Sunset Blvd has been one of my favorite movies since I was little :*

  • Flissywoo1 September 8th, 2012 4:35 PM

    This is so cool!

  • korita_ October 23rd, 2012 2:24 AM

    It cracks me up that you would include the movie Showgirls. Nasty, nasty movie! I love it but only because I live in Vegas.