KV22:Dress code

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Stylishly Spiegeltent

The dress code specified in the invitation is Stylishly Spiegeltent. I suppose you're wondering where on earth that came from and what it is?

 I'll try to answer your questions below as best I can but if there are any ideas
 you'd like me to include on this page or places to shop please share!

What is the Spiegeltent?

The "Famous" Spiegeltent refers to a 1920's era Belgian mirrored ("spiegel" = mirror) cabaret tent that visits Melbourne very year to herald the start of the Melbourne International Arts Festival. Spiegeltents are the style of venue (mirrored cabaret tents) and Famous is the name of this particular one that visits Melbourne. It is also one of the key attractions for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The Spiegeltent plays host to a combination of music, cabaret, burlesque, circus and comedy events whenever it's touring around the world.

Read more at The Famous Spiegeltent website

Why did you choose Stylishly Spiegeltent?

When I was trying to complete the original concept for a bohemian cocktail party, the venue, Caz Reitop's Dirty Secrets felt like a great choice. In addition I recently attended a special cocktail evening celebrating the 1920/1930 Prohibition Era in America at Der Raum. However, 1920's era attire is rather boring if everyone comes in it. Just like if you plan a James Bond party, the guys are nearly all inevitably going to be James Bond in a tux and bowtie which becomes a defacto uniform for the gents defeating the point of having dress ups. Not to mention the 1920s style is rather boring for the girls - mostly flapper dresses and very unflattering for the most part.

So I was thinking what kind of party I wanted to have in Caz Reitop's Dirty Secrets - what the people filling the venue should be like to bring the party to life. The way the Spiegeltent staff dressed kept coming to mind. A vintage style with very personal flair, showing attitude but not being overly elite in fashion allowing everyone their own niche.

How do you come dressed in Stylishly Spiegeltent?

Well there isn't a set formula really! Anything goes so long as it has the look and feel of something that would call the Spiegeltent home. This can range from cabaret to burlesque or even circus! I've provided some suggestions below but it is by no means limited to the list below - let your imagination run wild! However, that said, if I see anyone in a corporate power suit with a pink tie, untold punishment (probably involving a whip) will be exacted to the entertainment of everyone else.

Click here for a short video to get you started.

The Stylishly Spiegeltent look is a balance between:

  • Vintage attire
  • Being slightly racey and saucy but leaving something for the imagination
  • Well dressed and elegant
  • Understated fashion
  • Over the top outfits

General advice

  • There are no set rules on what to wear so long as it's unique and very you
  • There are hundreds of looks achievable with very few items
    • You can take a fairly simple outfit and change a few things - add a hat, chocker, flowers or change the stockings and get the right look with minimal effort
  • The descriptions below are generally quite "theatrical" in style so if you want to dress it down to a slightly more casual look feel free


As always, gents tend to have a easier selection than the ladies.

The Spiegeltent staff look

Here, the look is leaning a little towards understated fashion. Keeping it simple and letting a tilt of the hat and how you wear it speak more than the clothes themselves.

  1. Suit
    • Usually an earthy colour - chocolate, tan, browns
    • Can also be a mid-grey or even a greyish-blue or classic navy blue
    • The suit can be pinstriped but they must be a thin lighter pinstripe
    • The cut of the suit is quite close fitting
    • AVOID double-breasted suits
    • example
  2. Shirt
    • Fairly plain. Single colour for the most part or very close thin stripes.
    • Usually white but can be shades of grey or light browns.
    • Can be normal or French cuffs (especially if with vest)
  3. Tie
    • Usually simple geometric patterns or plain colour
    • Not normally 'flashy' - duller colours - blues/browns/greys/dark reds
    • Can be a thin/narrow variety
  4. Vest (with or without suit)
    • Can be either the same colour as the suit/pants; or
    • Elegant and classy - eg. white/ivory with white/ivory shirt on dark grey pants; or
    • Something more 'showy' - incorporating a design or pattern of some kind (floral, Asian print, stripes)
    • Example example 2
  5. Suspenders/braces
    • example
    • Usually a contrasting colour - dark suspenders/light shirt or light suspenders/dark shirt
      • Wear instead of belt under a suit
      • Or just by itself over a shirt (no tie)
  6. Hat - you don't have to have one but the look is heaps harder to achieve without one.
    • Some examples: trilby, fedora, bowler, blues brothers style, top hat

Other looks

There are other looks that you can try to replicate - anything from a movie that is based in the 1920-1950 period is fine. These include Chicago, Moulin Rouge, The Phantom (1996). Remember you can come in anything that could call the Spiegeltent home - circus, cabaret or burlesque.

Some random examples that I'd let into the venue without a second look:

  • Gotan Project band
    • White/ivory suit
    • White shirt and vest
    • Dark tie - maroon/red
    • example
  • French wannabe/mime
    • Striped collarless shirt
    • Plain black/grey suspenders
    • Black pants and shoes
    • Beret-like hat
    • Optional facepaint and gloves
    • For less of a mime look, ditch the facepaint, gloves and add colour tinted glasses)
    • Example
  • Frank Sinatra after a show or James Bond (or The Prestige)
    • Pitchblack tuxedo/dinner jacket
    • Wing-collared white shirt
    • Undone black bowtie
    • Optional top hat and cane
  • Old style millionaire
    • Felt-like jacket
    • Walking stick
    • Cravat, wing-collared shirt
    • Golf pants or "old professor sports coat" pattern
  • Vaudeville showman
    • Cream tails coat
    • Cream vest
    • White French-cuff shirt
    • Black or white bowtie (black preferred)
    • Cream pants
    • White or two-tone shoes
    • Cream top hat
    • White gloves

I strongly recommend a visit to Anton's on Level 3 of Melbourne Central just for ideas and a little fun playing dress ups.

Looks to avoid

Generally, avoid anything metro and overly corporate (eg. modern power suits). If you want to add a little personal flair go ahead but a pink shirt or tie probably isn't the way to go.

  • Gangster look (black suit, white pinstripes with a black hat, white band)
  • Thick striped shirts or ties in bold colours
  • Pink


Below is a list of possible categories you can dress for. Mix and match, personalise and find your own versions as you see fit. Look great, feel great, drink up. Cheers, ladies.

  1. Spiegelstaff
    • Kind of a tomboy look version of the male Spiegelstaff stuff
      • Shorts
      • Skirt
      • Stockings - normal or stripy (horizontal) "legwarmers" stockings
      • Puffy pants with mid-calf boots (example pending)
    • A hat is nearly mandatory (almost any kind - trilby, blues bros, bowler, top hat)
  2. Dressy
    • Funky non-corporate suit in some non-boring colour (eg. purple)
      • Please not anything off Legally Blonde
    • Simply elegant "Special K" look:
      • Bright flowing red skirt to knees
      • Crisp white shirt
      • Red suspenders
      • Some other ornament - eg. bow around mid-section or hat
    • Bright coloured tassled dress (example)
    • Camille O'Sullivan
    • Elegant long flowing dress (think LA Confidential?)
      • Colour choices: Dark blue, bright red, any strong colour really.
      • Cool if it can "swish" at the bottom
      • Add some kind of ornamentation - eg. flower or lace shawl
      • The point of this look is to catch the eye of everyone when you walk into the room
      • Check out high end boutique fashion shops in Howey Place off Lt Collins to get some ideas
      • Example 1
  3. Casual, modern and chic
    • Armpit to mid-thigh coloured print dress with lace trim, optional spaghetti straps
      • Stockings or garters
      • Funky hat
      • Optional long coat/jacket (can be leather)
    • Bright coloured (eg. aqua blue) transparent top (short sleeve maybe)
      • Wear a showy print bra (eg. leopard print)
      • Funky hat a must
      • Sleek well cut tapered pants/jeans stopping just above the ankle
      • High heels
  4. Cabaret
    • Black dress - plain, strappy or shiny/reflective/sequins/tassles
    • Black stockings
    • Top hat and cane
    • Example 1 Example 2
  5. Burlesque
    • Um... anything goes? Leather, whip, leopard prints - you name it.
    • example example 2
    • Please remember even if you're coming in your underwear, you can't be under-dressed
      • ie. you'll need a corset, garters/stockings, gloves
  6. Chicago
  7. Moulin Rouge/showgirl
  8. Oriental dress
    • Only works if you look like Bai Ling or you're not Asian
    • Neck high to below the knees dress with cut down the side
    • Can be red with gold or blue with some other colour print design
    • Hair done up maybe with a chopstick
    • Can also be long sleeved inner light coloured (eg. white/ivory) dress with red vest
    • Chapel Street Bazaar has some items as does a speciality store in Camberwell on Burke Rd near JB HI FI.
  9. Sultry Russian
    • Try to ignore the bikini in this example
    • It's really all about the hair, the lips, the hat (really!)

Things to include

  • Feathers (preferably not boas)
  • Lace (here there and everywhere)
  • Stockings (thigh or knee high) and garters
    • Floral, vertical stripes or fishnet
  • Satin/silk dress (possibly with a generous slit on the side)
  • Gloves
  • Hats - trilby, bowler, top hat (add feathers), beret
  • Red lipstick
  • A s.e.x.y (stupid wiki censorship) expression, sly smile and sidewards glance and tilt of the head.
    • practice practice practice practice :P
  • A fan to fan yourself and make your hair float when the men are watching and to peer seductively across the room over
  • Hair/hat and other accessories
    • Feathers - small, long, ostrich, colours
      • Either on a hat or even just in the hair (done up) with a ribbon
      • Can also attach the feathers with a band around forehead/hair
    • Velvet roses and other flowers - in hair or around the neck with a velvet choker
    • Rose (with stem) in the cleavage for the saucy and brave (remove thorns)

Nice colours

Just some nice colours that tend to work well. Absolutely NOT restrictive.

  • Red and white
  • Red and black
  • Midnight blue

Looks to avoid

  • 1920's "flapper" style - example
  • Chapel Street-esque clubbing outfits
    • Low cut and/or backless, ultra thin, form hugging material with added bling accessories
    • Bordering into the realm of skanky (ie. not leaving much to the imagination)
  • Difference between saucy and skanky?
    • Saucy: Aqua blue transparent top (short sleeve) with leopard print bra + funky hat
    • Skanky: Super-low cut, cleavage showing clingy material that is merely trying to show off your assets
    • Skanky: being a well proportioned mannequin vs Saucy: exuding sensuality and cheekiness
    • It's all about character and substance - not only what you wear, but how you wear it

Where can I buy this kinda stuff?

I strongly suggest you familiarize and expose yourself to the look visually and then just poke around shops to see what you can find. All kinds of shops stock various bits and pieces that can go into the Stylishly Spiegeltent look.

  • Op shops
  • Chapel Street Bazaar
  • Episode (Sydney Rd) - they also have a lot of hats for around $20
  • Any vintage clothing store
  • Costume stores
  • Anton's Level 3 Melbourne Central (where the Spiegeltent staff shop when in Melbourne)

Ladies - here are some stores to visit and look at. You don't have to buy from them - they're often quite expensive but at least you get to see what some of the items should look like and just find the stuff elsewhere.

  • Alannah Hill (red and black items)
  • Mazi (lacey wraps/tops)
  • Yes Fashion (367 Chapel Street, South Yarra)
  • Chapel Street Bazaar

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