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How to Get the Seductive Femme Fatale Style and Fashion Look

I love writing about fashion, and I love helping people put together a knockout outfit or costume.

Rita Hayworth—but femme fatales don't normally smile!

Rita Hayworth—but femme fatales don't normally smile!

Femme Fatales, Film Noir, and the Glamorous World of Rita Hayworth

So girls, feel like a makeover and a whole new look? Well, this is what I’m going to do. I’m going for the femme fatale look. I want men to think I’m hot, but not that I'm cheap or tarty.

So what is a femme fatale? Film buffs argue endlessly about the precise definition. The interpretation changes with the decades.

Originally the femme fatale adorned film noir (in black and white) with delicious coats (to keep her hot), fabulous dresses and gowns, a long cigarette (often in a holder), and the occasional gun. She was the gangster’s doll, the bad girl on the bar stool, or the sinister sound of high heels on the sidewalk. She was seductive and had a great figure and legs to die for. Above all, she was a siren and a seducer.

Femme fatale Rita Hayworth looks like a girl who would wear Chanel No. 5.

Femme fatale Rita Hayworth looks like a girl who would wear Chanel No. 5.

Examples of Femme Fatales

Think Rita Hayworth, Barbara Stanwyck, Marlene Dietrich, or Lana Turner, ensnaring their lovers in bonds of irresistible desire.

Femme fatales are seductive, mysterious, and tough. But don’t mess with their affections, or you might get a bullet through the heart.

So what does a femme fatale wear? On the mean streets of Chicago or New York, you’ll find her in the shadows clothed in a long trench coat or a fur coat with a smart hat.

When a guy helps her out of the coat, it reveals long, slinky, figure-hugging gowns with gloves above the elbow, stockings, and high heels.

Whether blond, redhead, or brunette, there is something "of the night" about the femme fatale. Her clothes are typically black or fiery red, and when she sits, her slinky, ankle-length gown parts seductively, revealing fabulous, black-stockinged legs.

Femme Fatale Updated: The X Factor?

For a more modern interpretation of the genre, think Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct or Kim Basinger in LA Confidential. Today's femme fatale is more likely to remove her gown, revealing delectable lingerie, including basques or corsets. In today's movies, she's more raunchy and what she does is decidedly X-rated.

In terms of your new wardrobe, you can think of the femme fatale look in stages:

  1. Find yourself a great outdoor coat. Retro trench coat or, for a more modern look, try a leather, Matrix-style coat. The current trend is for military or aviator-style coats and jackets.
  2. Choose some great heels, preferably in black, and a slinky gown or dress. Maxi dresses are 'in' right now.
  3. Choose some sexy lingerie to wear under the gown.
  4. Think of accessories. Classic pearls or a glamorous hat make great femme fatale accessories. And don't forget to wear plenty of strong perfume.

Although the sexy cigarette in a long holder was hot in Rita's day, I suggest you give the cigarettes a pass. They smell vile, and they really aren't sexy anymore.

Similarly, lose the pistol in your stocking top. OK, it works for Chicago during prohibition, but the shooter doesn't work so well where I currently live in a sleepy corner of London!

For a modern femme fatale look, check out the seductive Dita von Teese. In her less raunchy moments, the Queen of Burlesque perfectly captures the film noir femme.

Dita is an icon of modern burlesque; with its sexy showgirl feel, burlesque perfectly complements the femme fatale.

Femme fatales like corsets.

Femme fatales like corsets.

How Does the Femme Fatale Behave?

As we've said before, once you've got those fabulous clothes on, I'd advise keeping off the guns and cigarettes. Hang around in bars, by all means, but don't get drunk! Anyway, one of the characteristics of the femme fatale is that she can hold her liquor.

Don't be girly, and above all, don't smile. The femme fatale is a serious, solitary animal (except when seducing men).

She doesn't hunt in a pack, so lose the girly gang and the "girl's night out" mentality. Remember, you are not a pussy cat but a deadly nocturnal feline hunter.

Be tough, focused, and ruthless. No gossip. No chatter. Although real FFs steal men from other women, I wouldn't recommend this. So why not make sure he is unattached and single before you pounce?

The safest way to live out the femme fantasy is to seduce your existing boyfriend or someone you already know. Arrange to meet him in a shady bar, and then surprise him with your new femme fatale look. Remember to be mysterious and seductive.

Perch on a bar stool, unfasten your coat so he can see that fabulous frock and your body beneath. Don't say too much; just move close and stare deeply into his eyes.

Overpower him with your perfume. You'll find he'll quickly lose interest in the bar, and his only thought will be to get you home as quickly as possible!

Femme fatales look great in black leather.

Femme fatales look great in black leather.

© 2010 Gina Coole


Gina Coole (author) from London on April 26, 2010:

Chica - Go for it! Slip into something special and surprise him.

Chaotic Chica on April 26, 2010:

Great hub! I'm married but I sure do think trying this look every so often just might do wonders for keeping our spark alive! Thank you for the hub and it's fantastic tips!

Gina Coole (author) from London on January 03, 2010:

Hi Anath, thanks for stopping by. Yes you are so right. Its more about packaging than my natural look. When I'm feeling plain and I don't like what's in the mirror I find an evening playing the femme does wonders for my ego! As soon as I pull some fishnets on, slip into a slinky silk gown and dab some Channel, my confidence just soars!

Anath on January 03, 2010:

Great hub, I think every woman should try the femme fatal game at least once. I love it, it makes me feel sexy and powerful at the same time. It gives an incredible ego boost to see men droping like flies to your every wish!