Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dans le Boudoir

The lolita's guide to creating her own beauty retreat

A "boudoir" is, technically, a ladies' sitting room or private parlor. The word has always had decidedly feminine air to it (though it is derived from the French bouder, "to pout") and therefore, like all things innately womanly, has become an object of much intrigue and fantasy. The word "boudoir" brings to mind the genre of Boudoir Photography, which usually depicts beautiful women in various stages of undress in an elegantly luxuriant bedroom setting. However, "boudoir" also has the connotation of a private dressing room, in the old-fashioned, Rococo sense of the word: an entirely separate area where the Lady can be coiffed, made-up, and dressed by her maids.

For all these reasons, the boudoir has become a symbol of sumptuous leisure, of opulent respite with a little bit of sensuous mystery; the boudoir is a place where a woman can escape from the Real World for a little while, into a world of self-indulgence and personal beautification. And what can be wrong with that? It seems like a very lolita idea, to me. An entire room dedicated to beauty, an utterly vanity-free place where a woman can just enjoy being a woman - the boudoir is as feminine as it gets, and it's also all about a shameless self-appreciation that is, in my opinion, iconically both Rococo and lolita.

Unfortunately, most of us do not have a suite attached to our bedrooms that we can renovate into our own personal oasis. How does the modern Rococophile translate this desire into her own life, without commandeering her little brother's bedroom? First of all, just because the original boudoirs were attached rooms does not mean that yours has to be! A private dressing area can be as small as a vanity covered in exotic perfumes and artfully-arranged make-up.

Here are a few ideas for space-saving boudoirs:

♥If you have a large bedroom:
  • Separate your boudoir from your living area with a folding screen. Behind the screen, set up a dressing area: A few hooks on the wall from which you can hang the pieces you've selected to wear that day before changing (or a few of your favorite pieces - think of it as wearable wall art), a floor-length mirror (props for vintage!) and a vanity. For extra cute, if you have a dress form or two, dress it up in your favorite outfit and stand it in the corner.
♥If you only have room for a vanity:
  • Make that vanity adorable! If your vanity has a drawer, install knobs for pulls and hang necklaces off of them. Use teacups to keep track of loose jewelry like rings and earrings (or even as candles!). Pile up old-fashioned (preferably hardcover) books and/or use tea trays to add visual interest as well as maximize space. Buy a cute holder for your make-up (mine is a blackxwhite polka dot bag that rolls up with a little pink bow on the front) or, if you have a habit of buying make-up for its packaging - guilty as charged... - display them! A collection of make-up pencils and/or brushes would be adorable sticking out of a parfait glass, maybe with a few inches of colored marbles, beads, or faux pearls as an anchor. Line your perfumes and lotions along the back edge, in front of the mirror, so you can see them all and make the perfect selection for your mood that day. Write little messages to yourself ("You're beautiful!" "You can do it!" "Hang in there, gorgeous!") and stick them into the corners of the mirror. If yours is a desk-style vanity, hang an inspiration board above it instead of a looking glass and pin pictures and quotes to it that inspire you to express your inner beauty.
  • No vanity? Use the top of your dresser instead!
♥No room for a vanity? Make over your closet! Victoria Suzanne did a great brainstorm here for ways to make over the look of your closet. Making over your closet is a great way to add a little decadence to your bedroom without spending the money to redo the whole thing. Unfortunately, I helped Victoria with these original ideas, so I'm afraid I'm rather spent on exact ideas. However, a few extras are:
  • Remove the door and instead add some cute, cheap curtains that can be pinned open when your closet is nice and tidy or shut tightly when you're having a closet-meltdown
  • If you have shelves, use them not only for storage but for display! I have the top shelf in my closet decorated with a pretty Burberry bag (sat at an angle to show it off without taking up too much space) and a wig head displaying a wig, a vintage hat, and a vintage fur stole around its neck.
  • If you have a few different levels of hanging space, remove either the top levels or the bottom ones and hang up ornate hooks instead; hang dresses from these instead.
  • Get a shoe organizer with clear compartments to hang on the back of your door. Instead of using it for shoes, though, use it to store and display your socks or other bits and bobs like rolled-up waist ties or detached sleeves.
  • Or, use the inside of the door for an ornately-framed mirror or an inspiration board (explained above!)
  • Wall-paper or paint the inside of the closet, especially if you take the doors off. This makes the closet less of an afterthought and more of an extension of your bedroom. This is an excellent idea (brush ya shoulders off there why don't ya, Lumps) if you find a wallpaper you love but is a bit costly, because you'll need less than if you did the entire room but it will still contribute to the decor.
  • If you have a walk-in, how cute would a little stool or table be?! You can use it to display your brand plushies or a favorite standing object, like shoes or a purse.
Have you ever wished for a more beautiful, elegant time? Do you like shiny, naked cherubs everywhere you can put them? Do you wish you could put on three layers of expensive eighteenth-century clothing and giggle with seemingly-homosexual courtiers ALL DAY? Of course you do! Unfortunately, we no longer live in the Rococo period (and very, very few of us have access to Rococo Puffs, I'll bet). However, that doesn't mean we can't adopt some elements of Rococo-esque living for our daily lives; in fact, with the grating hustle-and-bustle we face every day at school or work, I think now it is more important to take a few moments to yourself every day. Some people do this in the form of meditation, reading, bubble baths... while all of these are noble pursuits, those of us who are used to a little more opulence need something more glamorous for our daily respite. In my opinion, this can be best achieved by the pursuit of self-love and furthering our personal quest for beauty inside and out.

I got Lichtenstein!!


  1. Awesome ideas! I just got an antique vanity to fix up! You have wonderful timing <3
    Another, not really for this but if you need more room, get rid of teh giant bed (if you have a room to yourself) and opt for a twin sized or a day bed. That's what we're doing to my room and it makes it so much bigger and gives you more room to beautify!

  2. awsome ideas! i just wish i had more space ;O; (that video was hilarious XD )

  3. These are some great thoughts! I have a vanity, so maybe I'll start decorating it this summer.

  4. Such thoughtful suggestions! I love the photo too. n_n



Related Posts with Thumbnails