Tribal Belly Dance Costume with Green Gold-Trimmed Choli, Red and Gold Hipscarf with Gold Coins and Full Black Gold-Trimmed Skirt

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So I started a belly dance class (beledi, to be precise) a few weeks back. Unsurprisingly, it’s always been something that appealed to me (fancy veils! shiny coins! etc.) but I’m ridiculously uncoordinated, disconnected from my body, overweight, quite self-conscious, can’t tell my right from my left, and in every way am the type of person who should stay well away from dance classes. But once I got over the abject terror involved in stepping into the studio and completing the first class, I was hooked. Hip shimmies are a lot of fun if you’ve got plenty of hip to put into them, for one thing, and the movements are something I can usually do once I watch closely and practice for a bit. Of course I’ll never be a “dancer” in any way; people say “just let go” and “just follow the music” and “don’t think about it” and apparently I walk around in a near constant state of tenseness because all that is impossible for me. In class I feel like I’m translating everything the teacher does into a flowchart for me to follow and when I do something with my body that I can’t explain with words, like pivoting or this one veil move, it’s really quite unsettling for me.

Anyways, as far as I know (and keep in mind I’m a total noob) there are two styles of costumes, cabaret and tribal, cabaret being the highly beaded bra and skirt look and tribal going for a more ethnic, fantasy look. I really like the tribal look, so that’s what I went with for this paper doll. She’s got a green choli, a red hipscarf and a black full skirt, all trimmed with gold and gold coins. I covet the choli I drew for my doll, but I’m not so sure I’d have the courage to wear it!

At the moment, the vampire has pulled ahead… there’s still time for the Good Queen to come back ahead though.

Showgirl Outfit from “We’re In The Money,” The Gold Diggers of 1933

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You know this song — you’ve probably heard Bugs Bunny singing it. “We’re in the money, we’re in the money / We’ve got a lot of what it takes to get along!” Or, if you’re not a Bugs Bunny fan, perhaps you’ve seen this very scene in Bonnie and Clyde, as a short bit of sardonic commentary on their exploits. It’s from a movie called The Gold Diggers of 1933, a goofy, shiny Depression-era musical that, as far as I know, is the only movie to feature Ginger Rogers singing in Pig Latin. Upon reflection, I wonder if the coins shouldn’t have been silver…

I wouldn’t envy you, by the way, if you tried to cut this out and actually put it on a doll. Maybe drop the trailing coin boa on the one side and pretend it goes out behid her instead?