Dance Teacher Web is thrilled to partner with our friends at Costume Gallery who will be providing informative and helpful articles in the coming months plus giving tips on all things to do with costuming. Enjoy!

The Art of Picking the Perfect Costume

Finding that perfect costume to fit your song, choreography and class size can be difficult for even the most experienced teachers. Below are some tips to having a successful costume experience.

FINDING THE PERFECT COSTUME WITH EASE:

It is a daunting task to sit down in front of a catalog with hundreds of costume choices with the goal of finding the one that will work best for your dance. What comes first, the costume or the song choice?

If you know the song or theme that you want to use, understanding the organization of the catalog can help simplify the process. Many costume companies separate their costumes into categories by genre and age to help you find the look more easily.

Did you ever see a great costume and were stumped on what song would work best? Costume websites may include a "Songspiration" next to each costume to compliment the look. You may even be able to download it on the spot.

DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK:

Don't you hate it when you find a costume you love, but it isn't offered in the size or color that you want? Don't be afraid to ask your costume provider if they accept custom orders. If they manufacture domestically, chances are they can accommodate special requests to some degree.

It is essential to a good costume buying experience to have open dialogue with your costume representative. Many times, what appears to be a roadblock to getting the costumes that you want in a timely manner can easily be solved with a direct discussion between you and your customer service representative.

COSTUME VERSATILITY:

Many times, it is hard to see past the picture in the catalog when trying to find multiple uses for your costume choice. Styles that have interchangeable pieces, providing 2 looks in 1 style offer versatility for combo classes or other multi-use situations. You may also want to challenge yourself to consider what a costume would look like for a dancer of a different age, or in a different genre than shown. In an event that I attended, I saw a dance performance using a jazzy, black velvet, suit coat-like dress, danced to a mash up of the songs Ladies Night and Hot Pants, and done on pointe! It was so unexpected and creative, that it immediately captured everyone's attention.

Choosing costumes for classes with a large range of sizes is one of the most challenging tasks for teachers. Look for those costumes that are forgiving in their styling and that have plenty of stretch in their fabrication. If you order early enough, you may want to ask if you can get a size run of your costume up front to fit the students, and then fill in or exchange the sizes that you need.

The trick is to use your imagination and don't forget to talk to your customer service representative. They are always full of great ideas and suggestions to meet your needs.