Ahhh the spectacular fashions of the ballroom! Every dress is a unique creation, practically a wearable work of art, complete with price tags fit for a gallery.
Of course, a dance costume is so much MORE then just something to wear while dancing. It combines the:
1. high performance design needed for the athletic demands of dancesport,
2. must be eye catching enough to stand out from the crowd, and…
3. is even a subconscious factor that sways judges marks. (Shhhh…probably shouldn’t say that out loud.)
With so much hanging in the balance, selecting the perfect dress requires almost as much thought as purchasing your next car!
Gorgeous ballroom fashion is certainly one of the highlights of being a dancer.
If you’re a professional, there are not many other industries where putting on your work attire means slipping into luxurious creations of satin, feathers and rhinestones.
Amateurs and pro-ams are dressed and groomed just as meticulously.
Every dancer wants to look spectacular when he/she is on the dance floor, and truth be told, the judges want to see you looking spectacular too!
The fashions of the day are established by the most visible top professional and amateur competitors, who are often muses for renowned designers in our industry.
Both dancers and designers alike tend to follow trends-it’s always interesting when watching a final, how often the girls are all wearing the same color! And so it goes with fashion, we’re inspired by what we see in the moment.
What’s Hot, What’s Not
Ballroom dance is a passion for people of all ages, but let’s be honest here-some of the costuming trends are more suited for younger bodies. It’s not that as we age we can’t still look smashingly styling, polished and yes, even SEXY!
It’s just that with maturity there should be a greater savvy about hiding your flaws and flaunting your features.
My good friend who shall remain nameless (but who has seen it all as a veteran competition administrator), introduced me to a witty British phrase recently that sums it up quite well:
Mutton dressed as lamb
As we age, we may hate to admit it, but the styles we were able to rock a decade or two ago, might now turn heads in a different, less desirable way.
I’ve asked designer diva and competitior Monica Broch of bydancers.com to share her expertise as both a designer and dancer, on how to make the most of what you’ve got.
Were you a mini skirt girl with great gams? Chances are you still have great legs, but adding a few inches to your skirt will keep the focus on those great legs for the right reasons.
Be your worst critic! Use fishnet tights if your legs jiggle. Ask a friend for an honest opinion or inspect yourself on the mirror, front and back! ( a hand held mirror will allow you to see all of your body when in front of a long mirror). –M.B.
Maybe you loved to flaunt your perky rack in the past, but those trophies may now be slipping off the shelf. Better to have your wizard designer rig up a great support system, while keeping the neckline a bit higher.
Who doesn’t love to see a supple back? Maybe you haven’t held up a mirror in while, but it’s entirely possible that the years have begun to take a toll on your once taunt and sinewy skin.
A sheer stoned fabric covering your back takes the focus off hanging skin and instead will win you kudos for elegance.
Do not wear an open back dress if your skin is loose or not toned, tanners at a certain age will show wrinkles more so don’t count on that for camouflage. Move your back and sides as you would in dancing and see if it looks sexy and attractive. If in doubt cover it up! This is my advice as a designer but as a dancer as well ! I perform this routine in front of a mirror every time I create a new dress!–M.B.
Lastly, let’s talk about SAG, baby. We might hate to admit it, but with age our bodies tend to get pretty “comfortable”.
When words like “tone” and “trim” are now replaced with “spread” or “flabby”, it’s probably time to cover up that tummy cut-out and opt for longer sleeves.
A good way to avoid bulges around tummy areas is to cut out the elastic at the waist of your fishnets. And tights will stay on if you wear them inside any kind of panties. Sometimes Spanx can be built in within your dance dress or our “Bare Illusion ” net bodysuit. Both will contain and smooth out flaws.”
Bare Illusion bodysuit. bydancers.com exclusive
Guys, this is for you, too! I’ve seen plenty of belly revealing, too tight trousers and unnecessary gun shows.
Keeping it classy and age appropriate might mean having to pass your sleeveless Latin shirt on to the younger generation, or bringing that chest/belly revealing deep V up a few inches.
Remember, the goal here is not to suppress your self-confidence and personal style, but to generate positive talk in your direction about your classy style and excellent dancing, rather then fashion foibles.
Your Designer is Your Friend
Our bodies may be changing, but we are still knockouts-probably with more confidence and assuredness then ever!
Remember, your designer is your best friend! Ask their help in creating a silhouette and unique details that ENHANCE all your greatest features and minimize your flaws.
A good designer is one that is able to disguise your flaws and emphasize your assets without making you look old and frumpy, that’s our true gift. Research designers past experience and work to see if their style suits you.–M.B.
Remember that you’ve spent a pretty penny on dance lessons, traveling and entry to the competition, as well as costuming. There’s no doubting your passion and desire to do well.
A truthful evaluation on how improving your costuming to flatter your physique at any age will only bring you greater success.
When you look good, you feel good and when you feel good, you dance great!
Thank you to Monica Broch! Visit bydancers.com for beautifully crafted dresses.
- Write your Dance: Improve your dancing through journaling - November 12, 2019
- The Difference Between Oversway and Throwaway: Ballroom Video Preview - June 8, 2018
- Principles of Movement: Ballroom Basics Video - September 21, 2016