How to Dress for Ballroom Dancing

How to Dress for Ballroom Dancing (2021 Update)

Choosing your ballroom dancing outfit can be quite stressful, especially for beginners. Ballroom dancing has a unique dress code for both men and women, which are more prevalent in ballroom dancing competitions. What most ballroom dancers wear to practice isn’t what they are likely to wear to high-level events.

If you’re wondering what to wear to ballroom dance class, or what do ballroom dancers wear in general, we’ll cover all of this (and more) in this article.

Ballroom dancing clothes in class

Here are some important factors to consider when dressing for ballroom dancing:

1) Comfort – Ballroom dancing is about taking large calculated steps, and a perfect ballroom dancing outfit should allow you to stretch your arms to the maximum, kick in all directions, and bend whenever necessary without restrictions. Your clothes should be lightweight and breathable so that you can keep dancing even when it gets too hot. The ornaments you wear should not get into your way as you move around. The dress you choose should not slide to reveal your inner garments that you don’t intend to show. The best ballroom dance dresses are unique and attractive; they do not restrict your moves but ensure that each of your movements is displayed on the dance floor.

2) Safety – Anything that inhibits free movement while on the floor, compromises your safety. Unfortunately, the wrong type of footwear or clothing can increase your chances of injury as you dance. For example, long hemmed skirts or pants can make you fall if you accidentally step on them. On the other hand, the wrong type of shoes can easily cause injury to your feet. Some shoes are made of a rubber sole, which is sticky, limiting your movement, be on the lookout for such footwear. Women should consider strapped dancing shoes, and men should opt for laced up designs; this will ensure a snug fit to ensure that the shoes stay on the feet at all times.

3) Color – Color might seem like a minor aspect of your ballroom dancing clothes, but outfit color determines how good or washed out you look. It is essential to know which colors work for you and which ones don’t. Different prints and patterns also have different effects on your body; some designs will draw attention to some parts, while others tend to block any impact on some areas. For example, fringe will enhance your body movement, unlike rhinestone that attracts attention when light falls on them.

4) Coverage – What area do you want to show off? Some ballroom men dancers are ok with showing off their huge chest and well-toned biceps. For most ballroom women dancers, it is ok to show off their sexy legs and shapely back. It is essential to know the type of coverage you are looking for in your ballroom dancing clothes. The idea is not to show off too much but to remain comfortable and confident in your dance floor outfit.

Best Ballroom Dance Clothes for Women

In this section, we’ll cover what female ballroom dancers wear, including some accessories that you might find appealing!

Dress

The best ballroom dance dresses are designed to offer comfort, style, and functionality on the dance floor. Rhythmic dresses are designed to enhance the length of your legs, which explains why they are short. Most of these dresses are decorated with different materials around the hips to give more impression on the hips and upper body’s movement.

ZX Women’s ballroom dancing costume is made of spandex and polyester, making it comfortable for regular wear. The dress features a V neck design and a back hook. The waist design focus on hiding belly fat, thus giving an impression of a tiny waist for that charming dance in the ballroom. The dress is perfect for different types of dancing, and it comes in different colors and sizes to choose from. Rhythmic dresses and skirts are sexy and will blend out well with the rest of your outfit.

Basic smooth ballroom dancing dresses are long and monochrome. They are worn without accessories as their design is meant to be elegant and classy. ZooBoo ballroom dance dress features some shiny decorations on the upper section for that visual effect and elegance. The dress is made for all levels of ballroom dancers and can be worn for different styles of ballroom dancing. This lightweight ballroom dress comes in different colors to choose from. It is affordable too!

Open Latin dresses are other popular types of ballroom dance clothes. These feature a more sophisticated design than the basic smooth ballroom dresses. Most of these dresses are made using rhinestones, which make the dress flow freely. Rhinestone is quite pricey, and that explains why these dresses are priced on the higher side. ZX Women’s Rhinestones Dress is an example of open Latin dress. This particular dress is made of spandex and milk fiber, which enhances comfort at all times. This is a sexy dancing dress thanks to the stand collar and the rhinestone back strap closure. It is worth its price.

Tops and skirts are best for low competition ballroom dancing. This is a basic style that is best suited for practice dancing.

Mini-skirts should be avoided due to their tendency to slide up too high and cause unnecessary attention. However, for tango and samba ballroom dancers, skirts can be considered for practicing.

Shoes

The best ballroom dancing shoes for women are those that feature a strap. These types of shoes allow one to move backward quickly without fear of slipping or missing a step and falling. A good number of women’s ballroom dancing shoes come with about 2.5 inches heel. 2 inches is always great for ballroom dance beginners.

Capezio Women’s Jr Footlight dancing shoes is best for advanced as well as beginner ballroom dancers. The 2-inch shoe’s uppers are made of durable polyurethane, while the sole is made of pure leather. This shoe is extra comfortable thanks to its moisture-absorbent insole lining, wide toe box, Achilles notch support, and the extra padded footbed.

Court shoes that fit snugly also make the best ballroom dancing shoes. These shoes feature a low heel, which makes them comfortable for practice as well as expert dancing. Sneakers and ballet shoes can also be worn to ballroom dancing practice, but you will be better off with some heels.

Your ballroom dancing shoes should be made of a skin-friendly material such as leather. The best ballroom dancing shoes for women have a thin sole and are incredibly flexible. They also offer the right amount of traction for gliding, spinning, and turning. Shop for a pair of shoes that provide excellent arch support to help prevent injuries.

Accessories

Adding a hairpiece to your overall look is one of the easiest ways to enhance your outfit.

Babeyond Art Deco Headpiece is handmade using high-quality Australian crystal, pearl, and elastic ribbon. This is a free- size hairpiece that you can comfortably wear to any event.

Gloves are a simple way to bring the 1920s ballroom style into reality. These Opera Satin Long gloves are available in different colors to allow you to add some style to your overall look. These are perfect with the flapper dress but can still be worn as a ballroom dancing accessory.

Tear-drop necklaces are not going out of fashion soon. Adding a chain to your outfit is a seamless means of enhancing it. Ever Faith Australian Necklace is made of rhinestone crystals, which are incredibly eye-catching. The necklace can be worn to several events, including ballroom dancing.

Best Ballroom Dance Clothes for Men

Men, we haven’t forgotten about you. Here are some popular men’s ballroom dance clothes that you should check out.

Shirt

For ballroom dancing, it is recommended that you choose a white shirt. White is a versatile color and often seamlessly matches with the rest of your outfit. For ballroom dancers who might find the white shirt boring, we recommend a colored but plain shirt. Styling a colored shirt can be tricky, but the fundamental rule is to pair a bright colored shirt with a darker bowtie and vice versa. There are different types of shirts; those with classic buttoned cuffs and those with cuffs for cufflinks. Cufflinks will add glamour to your shirt hence making you outstanding.

Another important aspect of your shirt is its fitting. Classic straight fit shirts are designed for men with extra weight or those that prefer wider shirts. A modern slim fit shirt is perfect for those with a smaller physique; it features broad shoulders and a slim waist to ensure a snug fit.

You also have to consider the shape of the collar that you go for. For those with a long narrow neck, shirts with a higher collar look amazing. Narrow collars are for those with wide and short necks.

Pants

Rhythm pants are the best ballroom dancing pants. Most of them are black and feature a satin waistline. Smooth pants are designed to be tight at the tights and wide at the legs. Some of them have an elastic band at the foot to help keep the pant in place as you dance around. When it comes to ballroom dancing pants for men, there is no difference between those worn by beginners and experts.

Shorts and T-shirts

Short and T-shirts are best worn to ballroom dancing classes. They are informal attires but relatively light for daytime dancing. It also depends on the season of the year. For example, you may prefer pants and long-sleeved shirts for the cold season. Shirtbooth Ballroom Dancing T-shirts are made of pure cotton and polyester to enhance breathability and durability. The shirts are lightweight and feature a double-needle sleeve with a bottom hem. These elegant T-shirts are available in an array of colors to choose from.

Suits

A suit worn to the office is not suitable for ballroom dancing. Suits designed for ballroom dancing are made to enable dancers to flex their arms and legs without restrictions. If you wish to wear a suit for ballroom dancing, you will have to shop for a special one.

A tailcoat suit is a perfect example of an excellent ballroom dancing suit. However, this type of suit is popular with high-level competition ballroom dances. There is no restriction on when you can wear the tail suit. The suit’s sleeves are designed to remain straight when dancing; it does not fold up to form wrinkles. The pants seamlessly sit higher on the waist than other types of pants. RONGKIM Gentleman 3Pc Tailcoat Suit is designed for different occasions, including ballroom dancing. This is a cheap yet quality suit to buy for your next dance. It comes in three different colors and sizes to pick from. RONGKIM is a household name when it comes to designing the best ballroom dancing clothes for men.

Shoes

Flat shoes with a smooth bottom are the best for ballroom practice; these shoes ensure easy mobility and excellent ankle protection.

Dress shoes with a rounded toe and laces are also popular among ballroom dancers. These offer a snug fit and ensure enough room for your toes when dancing to prevent blisters and toes pressure.

For formal ballroom dances, we recommend a quality ballroom dance shoe. Gogodance Men’s Boys Ballroom Dance Shoes are stylish and versatile. They are made of premium leather, which is undoubtedly durable and skin-friendly. We love the anti-slip lightweight outsole that ensures excellent comfort and adequate grip during turns and spins. 

It is absolutely fine for men to wear up to ½” heel shoes. However, the height of the heel you choose depends on your dancing skills. For beginners, we advise starting with flat shoes then build up the heel size overtime. Remember that your dancing shoes should remain secure, protective, and comfortable at all times.

Flip flops and sandals are not recommended for ballroom dancing regardless of the weather. Boots are also not recommended for ballroom dancing; these are likely to inure your dancing partner in case you accidentally step on their foot.

Accessories

Some of the best ballroom dancing shirts lack buttons. Studs will help you button up your shirt as well as add some vibrancy to your outfit.

Front and back studs are used with tail shirts that feature an attachable collar. These types of studs are quite different from the regular shirt studs. The front stud is longer to ensure it penetrates the right shirt collar, the left side collar, the left side of the attachable collar, and the attachable collar’s right side. The back stud usually is shorter since it does not require to penetrate.

Pocket handkerchiefs enhance your tail suit design. There are several types of pocket-handkerchiefs, but it is recommended that you buy a suit that already has the pocket handkerchiefs sewn in. This ensures that the handkerchief stays in place even during vigorous dancing.

Hats are also excellent ballroom dance accessories for men. Hats are hardly worn to practice lessons. The main reason being that they can be easily knocked off the head as you move around or twirl your partner. However, hats such as a fedora or Cuban hat can be worn since they are narrowed brim, and there is almost no chance that one can knock them off your head. Men’s Classic Manhattan Fedora Hat features a unique tear-drop shaped design. It also has a pinched crown for that distinctive elegant look. The inner lining is comfortable and breathable, and the hat can remain on the head for hours without causing sweat.

What Not to Wear to Ballroom Dancing

  • Ballroom dancing can be quite vigorous. For this reason, it is best to avoid high heels, flip-flops, and slip-on shoes. These types of shoes are not able to protect you from injuries during sliding, wigging, and twisting. Additionally, avoid regular sneakers as they are likely to stick on the floor and make it harder for you to glide or turn.
  • Do not wear extra fitting skirts, gowns, or pants because these will limit your movement around the dance floor. Remember, ballroom involves the opening and closing of legs, so you need to have wide bottoms.
  • Strapless styles can often than not mess up your dancing floor presence. It is usual for the body to compress itself during vigorous dancing and cause your strapless blouse or bra to creep down. 
  • It is recommended for your ballroom dancing lessons that you wear clothes that do not hide your legs from your trainer’s view. Long dresses and skirts prevent your trainer from watching your steps, making it hard for you to get positive or negative feedback.
  • Ensure that your ballroom dancing clothes are age-appropriate and elegant. This means that you may have to pass your deep V blouse, which might be too revealing. It is always important to remember that your dressing is intended to bring out your style and show off your excellent dancing skills.
Ballroom dance social with element ballroom dancing clothes

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