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Pasties: a brief history.

Pasties emerged in burlesque and striptease in the 1920s as a way to avoid breaking the law by performing topless or nude. Pasties came to be regarded by some as more aesthetic and erotic than originally intended. They were worn in cabarets such as the Folies Bergère and Le Lido.  Burlesque performer Carrie Finnell is credited with adding tassels which hang from the center and incorporating tassel twirling as part of a performance: brilliant addition we think!

Today, pasties are considered both fashionable and functional and have been becoming more popular for women who do not want to wear a bra, would like to provide a hint of glamour underneath a favourite outfit or have a stunning accessory to every lingerie outfit. These gorgeous gems also provide a solution for wearing strapless dresses and dresses that have a deep plunge neckline preventing all types of nip slips. usually worn with lingerie, and very popular with burlesque dancers.

Tassel Tips

Welcome to Tassel Tips! Have you wanted to learn how to twirl but not sure how? Well we have the tips for you. It is not as hard as you think. As @pureivorydotca will show you, all you need are pasties, passion and beautiful you. Get ready, practice and have a whole lot of fun.

Tassel Tips 101: Introduction


Ok - you’ve got your pasties, they have tassels (oriented in the centre of the pastie and not at the bottom of it) and you’re ready to twirl...but how??


Stand up straight - shoulders back - think about getting your skeleton out of the way and just isolating the meat of the body part you’re trying to shake/rotate. When you feel the momentum building up, go with it and let that meat fly (as Toronto Burlesque Artist Dolly Berlin says)


From Jo Weldon, Headmistress of the New York School of Burlesque, and Author of the Burlesque Handbook:

  1. Your tassels are too light or too heavy.
  2. Your tassels are too short or too long.
  3. Your tassels are sewn or otherwise attached too tightly to the pastie to be able to swing.
  4. Your tassels are caught on your sequins, under your pasties, or to your sweat or body lotion.
  5. Your pasties are too flat (usually more likely to be an issue for breast tassels than for assels).
  6. Your pasties are detaching from your skin. Exciting, but not conducive to twirling.
  7. You aren’t bouncing/shaking/flexing hard enough/fast enough/gently enough/deeply enough/enough times to gain momentum.
  8. You are wearing different shoes than those in which you learned to twirl.
  9. You are forcing musicality which unfortunately defies the rhythm required for the physics of twirling.
  10. You are doing a move that you saw work on someone else but haven’t yet accepted does not actually work on you.

Carrie Finnell

Described as “one of the most novel and most startling acts in show business,” Carrie Finnell began her burlesque career in 1917 as a Ziegfeld girl. While burlesque has become synonymous with more household names like Gypsy Rose Lee, Finnell is credited with being the first to get Lee to strip on stage. This bad girl of burlesque holds the record for the longest striptease when she performed in Cleveland during the ’20s. Finnell would remove an article of clothing each week over the length of her contract. Ticket prices and audiences inflated as she wore less and less. Over her 45-year career Finnell was a Broadway performer and comedienne, beat Mae West in a strip-off and also was credited with being the first to add tassels to pasties! Into her 70s you could see Finnell able to match the beat of music with her tassel-twirling. Finnell not only was a very well-endowed lady, she also had “educated breasts,” chest muscles that she had honed and toned as a physical education teacher in Kentucky. Finnell could isolate one tassel at a time, having one spinning while one was perfectly still, drawing comparisons to airplane propellers. 

Key contributor(s): In addition to the team at appeeling, we have the great pleasure of having the brilliance of the burlesque queen @pureivorydotca share tips from a performers perspective. Achieving pastie perfection together!

Ivory is a Toronto based multidisciplinary artist. A graduate of Randolph College for the Performing Arts she leads a storied career as a singer, actor, dancer, model and body positive advocate. An archer, axe thrower and firebreather, Ivory boasts a bag of tricks which is sure to wow any crowd! Since being crowned Miss Canada Plus 2007, Ivory has continued her activism as a Plus Sized Entertainer and advocate for over 10 years, pushing for change with her intersectional feminism, body positivity, queer advocacy and outspoken message of love at all costs. A founding member of the Succulent Six, Canada's team of Curvy Super SHEroes and a proud member of Les Femmes Fatales, Canada's premiere burlesque troupe for Women of Colour, you can follow her antics on Instagram and Twitter @pureivorydotca and online at www.pureivory.ca