Today we continue with me detailing my personal philosophy on ballroom dance costumes, and this post is a quick one as I've been dancing and prepping for an interview all weekend. I've discussed already that dance costumes should attract attention, and described how I evaluate the effectiveness of colors and color combinations. I'll finish with a few posts on elements I look for in a dance dress to ensure it works for my body and skill level.
While a dance dress should attract attention, it should be flattering at the same time. This means at the very least, it should stay put while you're cha-chaing/waltzing/jiving/quicksteping around. You will not dance as well if you are worried about your dress failing to stay on. The biggest issue for me with this for several years was keeping my chest contained, as I hate feeling like my breasts were bouncing around without me. This means that I stick with dresses with sturdy straps over each shoulder and with a back. The back of the dress puts tension on the edge of the bra cups to hold them in place. In a couple of my costumes, I actually bought a cheap, nude-colored bra, cut off the over-the-shoulder straps, and sewed the cups into place, leaving the straps with the hooks and eyes attached. It gave me a lot of extra support.
The same logic applies to other body parts you'd like to keep under control. Uncomfortable about your bum or thighs? Wear fishnets and pick a costume that doesn't have cut-outs around your rear or a back that dips below the waist. If you don't like displaying your entire arm, pick a dress that has sleeves. I also have a red birth mark in the middle of my back, so I wear dresses with higher backs to cover it. These things make me more comfortable and allow me to focus on my dancing and performance, which is ultimately what matters most in a competition.