Costume ordering is one of the most important decisions a dance teacher or studio owner will make in preparation for a recital. A costume choice is a large portion of your budget, focus of your recital theme and chorography. There are many variables during the recital season that can become overwhelming. Luckily there are things you can do to make the costume ordering process simpler, saving time and money while receiving the best deals and delivery dates for costumes.

DO order your costumes early.

Most costume companies provide an incentive if orders are placed earlier in the season. The larger the order, the bigger the discount offered. Ordering your costumes early helps the order arrive at a faster pace, which provides you time to ensure the entire order is correct and that the costumes fit all your students properly, leaving you with peace of mind.

Don't wait until the last minute, not only will you miss out on savings, you may find costume choices sold out or on backorder, causing extra stress. Waiting leads to less wiggle room if issues arise. What if the costume is not as expected? What if additional sizes are needed? What if something is damaged during the shipping process? Ordering early comes with plenty of benefits that help ease stress in a busy recital season while leaving room to remedy any problems that may arise.

DO make sure you research.

Many costume companies offer a variety of other discounts such a free shipping or a percent off your order during a certain time frame. Search for the ordering instructions in each costume company's catalog, price list or online and read carefully. Make sure you understand how each company's process works so you get the best deals, fastest ship times, and any other incentives the company my offer. An important thing to look for when researching a costume company's ordering policy is their exchange and/or returns process, as this can come in handy if there are issues with the costumes.

Don't impulse purchase without the proper information. Each costume company works differently. Ship times can differ or exchange and returns policies may vary. It is important to never assume and look into the details of each company you are placing an order with during the recital season to ensure an easy process.

DO measure carefully.

All companies provide a sizing chart, but each may vary in how they define their size specs. Use the correct chart that corresponds to the particular costume company. If you are having trouble deciding on a size, give the company's customer service team a call. They can answer any questions you may have and help figure out what sizes will best fit your dancers. Remember young dancers will continue to grow during the year if they are in between sizes it always helps to size up. If your costume supplier offers easy returns (or exchanges) consider ordering a few sizes of the costumes that you may be particularly concerned about and fit them on your students to take the guess work out of sizing.

Don't let parents do the measuring for you. For consistency purposes, one teacher should measure an entire class, using the same tape measure and measuring each student in the same location. Measuring the dancers in studio can ensure the dancers are being measured all the same and the costume sizing should be more accurate.

DO follow your favorite costume companies on social media.

The fastest way to get information and stay updated with your favorite companies is to follow them on social media. You can learn about events that allow you to see the costumes in person, surprise deals and discounts, inspiration and sneak peaks of costumes before they are released anywhere else.

Costume ordering does not have to be a daunting task. The costume choices you make help your recital come to life. There are ways to make your costume ordering easier season after season, allowing you to have peace of mind and a dazzling show!