Burlesque stars join The Bottom Drawer Boutique for Lingerie Fashion show

In the news business, some stories simply need to be covered, while others just beg to be exposed.  That is what this reporter thought when Baltimore’s sexiest siren, Sophia Sunday of Gilded Lily Burlesque, invited him to a private lingerie party at The Bottom Drawer Boutique.

The Bottom Drawer is one of Baltimore’s premier intimate apparel shops.  Sunday said the evening would include a fitting for an upcoming fashion show at Sully’s Restaurant & Supper Club in Chantilly, Virginia.  I would be the only man present while some of the hottest women in Maryland tried on lingerie.  For a moment, I fidgeted with my pocket calendar checking to see if that date was clear.  Not that it mattered.  Far be it from me to ever turn down an offer from Sophia Sunday.  As a friend of mine noted, “The dedication and research you put into your articles is simply amazing.”

037 (1)
Ruby Rockafella and Sophia Sunday discuss the merits of a camisole. (Anthony C. Hayes)

I was greeted upon my arrival that evening by Bottom Drawer owner, Julia Elgert.  Elgert has operated the business since 2007.  In that time she has developed her own special style, as well as a loyal clientele.  “I get a lot of repeat customers.  Everyone likes the personalized service.  Women will come in for a bra fitting and be so happy that they end up referring their mothers, sisters and friends.”

Elgert also advises timid gentlemen who drop by her shop in search of a gift.  We agree that men universally say they enjoy seeing their women in soft, pretty things.

When I asked why she chose to use the burlesquers instead of regular runway models, Elgert said, “I don’t use models.  I use real girls.”

Burlesque stars Sunday, Kitty Bermuda and Ruby Rockafella were the first women to arrive.  They were soon joined by department store display designer Julie M. and by statuesque travel maven Ms. Dee.  The five beauties nibbled on a spread of light fare, dark chocolate and an earthy red wine.  After unwinding and catching up on the latest gossip, it was time for the business at hand.

Though Sunday was the only one of the group who would actually appear in the upcoming show, all of the women pitched in; either to model or just offer their thoughts on a selection of corsets and bras Elgert hoped to present at the fashion show.  Elgert also encouraged the girls to do a little shopping for themselves.  Ms. Dee was looking for a comfortable bra to wear on an upcoming cruise.  Julie M. was also looking for a bra but was uncertain of her actual size.  The other girls considered their options, checking styles and colors in the approaching twilight.

So many choices. (Anthony C. Hayes)

From behind the dressing room curtain, I could hear the careful deliberations:

“How are you making out in there?”

“I think I’m OK.  I got my feet through it.”

“I’m not sure about this sheer gown.”

“Well, start with this bra.  It will give you some velocity.”

“You’re gonna sleep in THAT???”

“No, but I plan on prancing around in it for a while.”

Once the girls had slipped into their slinky foundations, they turned to me for a man’s point of view.  The comments and the questions continued:

“You see how this lifts up in the back when I move this way?  It shouldn’t lift up like that.”

A decision has been made and some lucky gent is going to be happy. (Anthony C. Hayes)
A decision has been made and some lucky gent is going to be happy. (Anthony C. Hayes)

“Now don’t laugh… I always have corset issues.”

“Oh, dear, they aren’t as cute as I hoped.  I look like an oompa-loompa..”

At one point, Sophia Sunday asked, “Which one of these corsets do you like me better in?”

I believe it was at that moment I finally reached for my heart medication.

As the fittings continued, the pile of discarded lingerie grew.  Too tight here, too loose there.  The bodice could use some decoration.  The jammies were not a success.  Both the models and the shop owner critically judged each item on its own merits; discussing every detail from sizing to possible embellishments.  Ultimately, selecting which pieces to wear boiled down to two basic questions:  Did it fit?  Did it flatter?

The Bottom Drawer Boutique - fun, comfy, sexy, but always classy.
The Bottom Drawer Boutique – fun, comfy, sexy, but always classy. (Anthony C. Hayes)

Between fitting the girls and taking note of their reactions, Elgert talked about the show and her quaint little shop.

“You have to be somewhat malleable when you are preparing for a fashion show.  That’s the reason I like working with the burlesque girls.  When you find someone you’re comfortable with, you can collaborate and really do amazing things.  Burlesque performers have a very good eye for style.  Plus, they know how to walk on a stage and convey an air of self confidence.”

Fitting burlesque girls is one thing, but not everybody is built like Sophia Sunday.  Elgert recalled a visit she had one day from a Rubenesque woman.

“A very sweet woman came into my shop one morning and shyly made her way around the displays.  She seemed a bit embarrassed, so I simply asked if she had something in particular in mind.  Once we ascertained that I didn’t have anything in her size, I asked her to sit down, gave her a catalogue and poured her a cup of coffee.  After she found a few items she liked, she placed the order.  When she returned to get her order, she said, ‘You don’t know how much it means to me that, from the moment I came through you door, I knew you were here to help, not here to judge me.’”

“Not only has this woman come back three times, she has also recommended me to several friends.”

Elgert paused and noticed there was still a lot of food left on the dressing room table. “You girls didn’t eat very much.” she said.

“Well, we would have if you were letting us try on Mu-mu’s,” Rockafella replied.

♥     ♥     ♥     ♥     ♥

Ruby Rockafella considers a blue babydoll. (Anthony C. Hayes)
Ruby Rockafella considers a blue babydoll. (Anthony C. Hayes)

As the party wound down, the girls began to make their final selections.

Dee found a bra she liked and then abruptly departed, apologizing for her hasty exit, saying she had a plane to catch in the morning.  Bermuda chose three items – two matching camisole and bikini sets and a pewter grey floral print slip.  Julie M. seemed undecided, though it was clear she really wanted to buy a corset.  And Rockafella chose an incredibly cute blue satin babydoll.

“What I’m buying tonight is not gonna be part of an act.  I like feeling pretty when I’m dressing, so these things are just for me.” Rockafella purred.

Sunday was the lone hold-out but was sure whatever she chose would be well received.

“After the last fashion show, I wore my corset and stockings home that night.  My boyfriend greeted my arrival with a very enthusiastic, YES!”

 ♥     ♥     ♥     ♥     ♥

The show at Sully’s Supper Club went off without a stitch.  Burlesque front man Mark Slomski effortlessly emceed the event, with music provided throughout the night by the Texas Chainsaw Horns.  Sophia Sunday was joined on the stage by Bitsy Buttons, Cherie Nuit, Irina Sikhina and Marie L’Ennui.  Buttons hula-hooped her way into more than one sailor’s heart while Sunday’s sultry singing melted the brass section of the band.

Bitsy Buttons selling her sailor themed set. (Anthony C. Hayes)
Bitsy Buttons selling her sailor themed set. (Anthony C. Hayes)

Julia Elgert looked lovely in a black satin dress, fishnet stockings and formal gloves.  And since many of those in the audience asked for a recap of the show, Elgert provided the Baltimore Post-Examiner with a list of the girls and what they wore:

Sophia Sunday: Three-piece pink & black vintage inspired bra and girdle garter; second look was a gold tapestry corset, trimmed in black lace with rhinestones and ribbon roses.

Irina Sikhina: Black lace chemise trimmed with ivory chiffon, french maid look; second look was fuchsia and black chemise with inverted hem, adorned with black bows and braid, vintage parasol.

Marie L’Ennui:. Black & white tuxedo chemise with sheer ruching and low back, black satin gloves; second look was a two-piece black vintage inspired bra & garter belt trimmed with crocheted lace, Venetian lace mask.

Bitsy Buttons: Cherry print retro corset with short black tulle skirt, black fishnets; second look was a pin-up inspired 2-piece red, white and blue bra & high waisted panty, white fishnets & satin gloves, sailor cap.

Marie L'Ennui rocks a black & white tuxedo chemise. (Anthony C. Hayes)
Marie L’Ennui rocks a black & white tuxedo chemise. (Anthony C. Hayes)

Cherie Nuit: Ivory and black embroidered chiffon babydoll with a black sheer chiffon robe.  2nd look was a flapper inspired black lace chemise with tiered ruffles, sequin and feather headdress.

Editors note: The Bottom Drawer Boutique is planning another production for sometime in the fall.  In the interest of our readers, the Baltimore Post-Examiner will keep a sharp eye on this upcoming show.

The Bottom Drawer Boutique is located just off the Avenue in Hampden at 1001 A – W 36th Street, Baltimore, Md.  Patrons should note that the Honfest runs this weekend, so the Bottom Drawer’s hours may be extended.  More information may be found here.

Please read  the Baltimore Post-Examiner stories on burlesque stars  and on the New York Burlesque Festival.






One thought on “Burlesque stars join The Bottom Drawer Boutique for Lingerie Fashion show

  • June 14, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    Love hearing about boutiques like this!! This is the same sort of shopping experience that Real Girls (realgirlslingerie.com) wants to provide. We cater the full-busted and curvy figure that are not traditionally catered to by intimate apparel lines – bra cup sizes from B-F And our models are also part of our customer base.

    Kudos to The Bottom Drawer Boutique for having the same philosophy!

Comments are closed.