You will quickly learn that in lessons and rehearsals, light and form-fitting clothes are best. Cottons and lycras allow you to move with ease and let the heat from your body escape. Follow a similar set of rules when it comes to costume shopping. Since you want to showcase the dance as well as the body, remember that mobility and comfort come first.
The style of costume will rely heavily upon the type of dance you’ll be performing. If the body stays generally stationary throughout the dance, the costume should look its best in the closed position. For dances like the Waltz or Foxtrot, women wear long flowing gowns made of feather or chiffon, while men often wear tuxedos since the jacket won’t restrict the movement of the arms. However, for American-style or Latin dances, when more movement is required, both men and women tend to opt for something less restricting. Women wear shorter and flouncier skirts, while men choose stretchable fabrics for shirts and trousers.
If it is your first time costume shopping, your best bet is to ask your instructor to recommend a shop. Buying your costume from a fashion boutique or tailor is not usually a good idea. If you go somewhere that caters specifically to dancers, you can be sure that your costume will be made to accommodate your movements, both in cut and style. Be sure to coordinate costumes with your partner and once you’ve chosen them, dance in them before the day of the performance. You might find that dancing in the costume feels different than dancing in your rehearsal attire and you may wish to alter movements or counts to account for this.
At the end of the day, you want to look as good as you feel when you’re dancing. With some shopping around and a bit of advice, you’ll step out on to the floor in comfort and style!