Ultimate Marie Antoinette Party: Madonna’s Parisian Birthday

I didn’t bury the lede. Madonna, the Queen of Pop, recently gave tribute to me once again on her 55th birthday. She wore her hair in the style I’d made famous, drank much Champagne and apparently wore no pants. Bravo Madame Madge!




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Marie Antoinette makes her rap debut

Darlings, did you know I made my rap debut? There’s apparently a young lady who is named after a children’s snack cake: Lil Debbie. She enjoys the domestic arts (love!) and uses this tiny movie to say “I baked a cake” over and over. I mention this not to give fuel to that awful rumor that I told poor sufferings to eat cake if they’d run out of bread. That’s old news. I mention this because yours truly is singing along along with some other paintings who seem unrelated entirely to cake or the me in general.

It seems though that I’ve gone about this all backwards. I haven’t even got a rap name. A scandal, amirite? Please tell me what my rap name should be in the comments. I beg you.

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A Marie Antoinette Costume in 15 minutes

Usually the former queen of France uses her Sundays to dole out advice on love and life. It being nearly Halloween, she’s decided to help you prepare to dress in her likeness, and has a gameplan to help you do so properly and quickly. As you put together your costumes, send photo she can post here to inspire your fellow readers. Email photos or questions to her at whatwouldmarieantoinettedo@gmail.com.

I. Hair/Makeup/Accessories: Truly, if these look right, you can wear nearly any ol’ thing and look like me. So concentrate on these first. Image

Hair: Sure, you can buy a wig, but if you’ve got the longer locks, try to go the full Marie with your own natural hair. At the very least, twist your hair into an updo and dust it all with baby powder. Whichever you choose, make a note of your friends’ reactions. The smart ones will recognize me right away. The slower ones will ask if you’ve dressed as Amy Winehouse. Or worse, Snooki.

An essential how-to:

Some much-needed inspiration.

Makeup: You’ll need to put your best face forward. Of course, I only used a hint of rouge in my day and even that was scandalous. For fun, you can go for drama with a fake mole, red lips and a pale, pale foundation.


For more a step-by-step, check out this great YouTube How-To.

Accessories: Surely, a modern girl like you has a ribbon she can tie around her neck or some some long fake pearls she can add for a sense of drama.  Other great adds are flowers, masquerade masks, feathers and even birds for your hair.



Or better yet, try a strip of lace over the eyes for a sense mischief. Watch this video to see what I mean.


II. Dress:

If you have more than 15-minutes, we can worry about your clothes. Of course, you can buy a “Sexy Marie Antoinette” costume from Party City. But that’s not why you’re here, are you? Here’s a plan for nearly any girl’s closet.

1. Spring for a crinoline skirt. American Apparel makes a nice one you can wear all year ’round.


Or maybe you have something, anything, made from tulle (an old ballet costume? Check the thrift shops.) If you are looking for an excuse to drop some coin, Anthropologie seems to always carry something tulle. Here’s the most recent offering.


That said, I could see this $29 number from H&M with a concert T and ripped fishnets looking pretty boss.


2. You can and should rummage through your underwear drawer. Look for a silky chemise or a slip for a delicate top:

3. Got a corset? Pair it with anything, from your favorite skirt to a classic pair of jeans.




4. If you don’t feel like wearing your underwear as outerwear, scour your closet for your prettiest pastel or floral. With your hair and accessories done right, even a modern sundress can make you look like a modern Marie.



5. Got one of those lace tops everyone was wearing over the summer? Wear it with everything awesome that you own. Picture this outfit with tricked out Marie-ified hair, for a very updated Queen of Everything look. 

Marie Look 4

Lace up booties look great…


But so do classic mules with buckles. (These are apparently on sale right now on Ebay.)


That should get you started. I’ll post some more inspiration below. Tell me your ideas or questions in the comments and I’ll try to help you with your costume.

Marie Antoinette Costume Inspiration
Marie Party Dress Code: Sexy Courtier
Real-World Marie Antoinette Costumes
More Marie Costumes: Still Time to Send Me Yours
Best for Last: Halloween Maries

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Advice from the queen: Don’t be that guy

Most Sundays, the most revered queen of France stops whatever she is doing to answer your questions on love and life. To ask your own question, email at whatwouldmarieantoinettedo@gmail.com.

My Queen, 

A friend of mine has some annoying habits. He belches loudly, wears wrinkled clothes and eats with his hands (spaghetti included). He’s up for

a promotion and I want to say something to him but don’t know if it’s my place. What do you recommend?




I feel for you. And realize any help I can give you might relieve your tableside problems as well. I sympathize. After all, who would someone want to pick for a position of responsibility? A dashing, tall drink of water? Or the sloppy fat man who shot pellets he rolled from the dirt on his own feet?

Pretty much a no-brainer, right? Nobody would choose foot-pellet guy. But in my day, no one had a choice. Louis Auguste  (my hubby) was their guy. And he was sweet, he was. But he continued to do stupid, stupid things. Like tickle his valet. And lift people in the air for no reason. Dearheart, He was that guy.

Add to all that an awkward doughiness and you have a bit of a disaster on your hands. Some even said he “looked like some peasant shambling along behind his plough; there was nothing proud or regal about him. His sword was a continual embarrassment to him and he never knew what to do with his hat.”

But Louis didn’t mind being the annoying guy. And he didn’t mind that it overshadowed his useful qualities like his fluency in English and competence in history and geography.

Shouldn’t a King know what to do with his hat? Wouldn’t it be reassuring for his people if he had some of that easy stuff down pat so he could master things like fiscal discipline and running the country?


Help your friend. Take him for a trial business lunch where you can help with his interview questions as well as his table manners. Have the right intentions and the results will usually fall in step.

What do you think? Did the queen get it right? What would you say? Tell her in the comments.

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Advice from the Queen: Your Accountant Shouldn’t Wear Furs

Usually on Sunday the former queen of France tells you about the mistakes she made so you won’t make them too. I say usually because lately she’s had some trouble making her deadline. See this as a virtual “Sunday” that travels with you throughout the week. If you find yourself in need of advice from the former Queen of France, please email whatwouldmarieantoinettedo at gmail dot com.


A friend is always asking me for money, and usually I don’t think twice about helping, but we are talking about going on a trip together. I really feel like this will be a bad idea (for me) since I feel like I’ll be footing the bill for everything. She is pushing me to give her money for a deposit. What do you think? 



I can relate. In my day, I had my share of friends with open palms, but also, remarkably, some ministers as well. I don’t have to tell you that it’s a bit of common sense that if your minister of finance lives as nicely as you do, and you’re the king of France, you probably should find another minister of finance. Monsieur de Calonne’s art collection included paintings by Rembrandt, Titian and Fragonard. His coach was lined with furs. At his legendary feasts, he needed to hire three people just to supervise the roasted meats.  Calonne meant well, but was not a thrifty man. He even released the state’s expenditures to the people, touting a surplus, leaving out the little detail about the 530 million-livre debt the crown had accrued since Louis XVI’s accession. The minister wanted to encourage creditors to think well of France and tried to spend his way out, supporting public works, and a new East India Company and other state expenditures. To reduce the deficit, the minister managed to increase the debt. By 1786, France owed 650 million livres. 

When people show you who they are, believe them. Don’t go on this trip and tie your finances to hers. Go on your own and travel first-class, four star. From what you’ve said, you’ll save money. 

What do you think? Did the Queen get it right? Give us your take in the comments. 

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Advice from the queen: Cut, then burn the purse strings

It’s Sunday. That means that the former queen of France tells you about the mistakes she made so you won’t make them too.  If you find yourself in need of advice from the former Queen of France, please email whatwouldmarieantoinettedo at gmail dot com.

Madame, my Queen, 

I have a sister who can’t quite keep it together. She’s very lazy and manages to get other people to pay her bills. She lives at home but manages to get my parents to pay for her car insurance and has recently started to use their credit card to shop for elec

tronics and other things she doesn’t need and that my parents can’t afford. It drives me crazy. She’s asked to move in with me to see if she can get a job in my town. I’m worried that she’s just bored and will start to suck me dry as well. What should I do?


Money. That’s something that can throw us all asunder and I know that better than most. People without money depend on people who have it though. In my case, my husband, Louis XVI, paid all my extravagant bills. He was used to it by then.  He’d long paid his brothers’ own 31 million-livre gambling debts. His aunts lived on more than 1 million livres each a year and spent 3 million livres for 6-week spa outings to Vichy. I had no idea about the country’s financial straits and once explained, “Whenever I asked for 50,000 livres, they gave me 100,000.” Louis kept me in the dark about the crown’s finances but should have told me or those like me “no.”  Thousands of livres could have probably been saved just by refusing every other request.

Count yourself lucky: You know how this story will pan out. If she stays, be prepared to support her. It will be thankless and frustrating. She can’t support herself and you can’t teach her. It’s not your job. If you can’t grin and bear this and tell her the truth: that you simply can’t afford it. Tell her what you would need from her to consider her a better roommate. She’ll be angry with you, your parents will be angry with you, but someone needs to tell her the truth. I know I would have appreciated it in my day.

What do you think? Did the Queen get it right? Give us your take in the comments. 

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Advice: How Do I Look Like I Belong

It’s Sunday, and regular readers know what that means. Today Marie Antoinette helps Modern Maries of all walks of life navigate life’s social minefields. If you find yourself in need of advice from the former Queen of France, please email whatwouldmarieantoinettedo at gmail dot com.


My Queen, 

I’ve been asked to attend a party but I’m thinking of backing out. I’ve discovered what the other women will be wearing and I don’t have anything like it. I’m worried that I’ll embarrass myself and be self-conscious the entire night. I also don’t have the cash to buy something I’d only wear for this party. What would you do? 

Dressed down


First off, congratulations. Problems about parties are the best type. This is because the other hot buttons — health, love — are likely going more swimmingly. Let all our problems be about parties. 

Allow me to tell you a little story about when I was in jail. I apologize for matching your party story with a jail story. Once a girl has been in jail likely everyone starts to groan “Oh god, there goes Marie, talking about jail again”  but I think this might be useful to you.

My jailers at the Conciergerie were loathe to send me, now the former queen, new clothing. Which I understand, but nonetheless my shoes were caked in dirt and grime from the mildewy rust streaked prison floors, since they feared that even a shoe might hide a secret message or aid in my escape. All I had left were my black widow’s weeds. My clothes were worn and frayed and dependent on the employees of the prison who took pity and pitched in on the mending. Still, I wore my mourning clothes even to sleep, hoping to wear them to the scaffold. When I wore them to my trial the black fabric heightened the pallor of her pale, sickly skin, making this supposed monster a surprisingly sympathetic figure. I was forbidden from wearing her mourning clothes to the scaffold.

            Instead, I wore a white déshabillé dress my sister-in-law had sent me, along with a white chemise I’d managed to save just for the occasion. I pulled the black ribbon from my widow’s bonnet for a ruffled coif as pale as my hair, skin and entire ensemble. There I was, a figure stripped even of her right to mourn. My white skin, the color of the monarchy, was also the color of a ghost. I dressed simply, cleanly and plainly and held my head up high in that outfit in the rough cart the revolutionaries had brought to humiliate her. The spectators were stunned into silence.

I bring this up to mention two things.

1. There’s always another outfit. There’s a solution for what to wear that will work if you want to find it. Lean on your friend you invited you. She could help you sort through your closet for some solution or lend you something of her own. Surely you have a simple top and bottom that with the right necklace or brooch will seem as chic and 100 times as inventive as anything you’ll see at the party. 

2. It’s only an outfit. What matters more is how you carry yourself. Don’t hold back from anything because you can’t hold head up high. You belong to be anywhere you believe you belong. You might need some convincing of this, but I don’t, and I know you’ll prove me right.  



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