Help Me Get Naked (Fast)
August 7, 2010 11:24 AM   Subscribe

I'm a burlesque performer with an upcoming act where I hope to introduce a bit of quick change magic. Basically I want to come out in mens clothing, go under a hoop with some covering fabric, and when the hoop is removed I'm naked. Is this feasible?

I /think/ I have the fundamentals of the technique down - I rip the seams of all the clothing and introduce hoops at regular intervals. I then use a single thread with a hoop to hold it together. When I go under the hoop, I afix the hoop to a hook or some such and when the hoop is brought back up over my head it tears the clothes off. Someone else will be operating the hoop, so my hands will be free. I may be able to tear at some of the clothing directly as well.

The problem is, everything I've seen about this technique is relating to womens clothing, not mens. With mens clothing there are more seams, more parts, and generally more that has to come off and I'm worried that this approach may not work. Before I invest in this, does anyone have a better idea of how I could make this work for mens clothing? For clothing I was thinking of a plain white button shirt and plain black pants and a bow tie. The bowtie would either be fake (tacked onto the shirt) or it may stay on after the clothes are removed.

Asked anonymously because I don't want my friends (who I know read this site) to be spoiled when the act starts :)
posted by anonymous to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Wow -- that sounds just amazing.

I am not a super seamstress or a performer...but my craftysense suggests faking the men's clothing as much as possible. Could you use something one-piece (like coveralls, but not) onto which you had appliqued/stitched the details of men's clothing? That is, instead of separate button shirt and pants, it would be just one piece of fabric against your skin, with appliques of contrasting fabric and buttons outside to make it look like shirt and pants?

Alternatively, you could be a Scotsman.

Good luck!
posted by pantarei70 at 11:56 AM on August 7, 2010

What about taking the concept of tearaway snap pants to an extreme? Basically slicing the entire outfit into front and back halves, with a tearway row of buttons or velcro at the outside seam.

Another way is what I've heard done in mortuaries ... the "front" of the clothes is untouched, but there's a center seam running straight down the back that can be opened up, and the entire outfit it pulled straight away from the body.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:58 AM on August 7, 2010

You may want to check out the publications mentioned here, they seem to be basically how-to books for what you're looking for.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 12:12 PM on August 7, 2010

seconding cool papa bell, as this is the first thing i thought of when i read your post.
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 12:13 PM on August 7, 2010

If it helps, here's Britney Spears taking off her menswear in a few seconds. It looks like the shirt/jacket/tie are all one piece, and you can kind of see how the pants work b/c they start to come apart at the side before she gets to rip them off. If I'm understanding the hoop thing correctly, it seems like you could rip an outfit like this off yourself very quickly, without a hook, if that would be easier.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 12:14 PM on August 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oops, there is no tie on that outfit. I just imagined it. But one could be sewed to the shirt, I think.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 12:19 PM on August 7, 2010

buy a thrift-store suit and shirt that are just a bit loose on you. sew the jacket to the shirt, and the shirt to the pants. You now have a one-piece suit. Sew a zipper or velcro into the front of the shirt, and use it instead of the buttons to keep the shirt closed. then when you go under the hoop, just unzip your shirt and step out of the suit.
posted by Jon_Evil at 12:43 PM on August 7, 2010

I had a great time last night playing with a friend's shirt that had magnets instead of buttons (as an alternative to snaps).
posted by saucysault at 12:57 PM on August 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

If it's a suit, the only 'load bearing' is the shoulders - so make the shoulders/upper arm seams the rip site and the rest is loose enough to fall with it. Sew your pants to your shirt/jacket and the tie to the shirt (cut at the shoulder seam).
posted by geek anachronism at 3:26 PM on August 7, 2010

Try figuring out how these guys do this. Then you've got it made. :)
posted by Spyder's Game at 4:42 PM on August 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

Could you just buy a men's stripper suit (I'm thinking GOB), if you don't want to make something yourself?
posted by you're a kitty! at 9:33 PM on March 6, 2011

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