Ballroom Dance > Competition Outfit: to what extent is a practice dress ok?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by classydancer, May 22, 2017.

  1. classydancer

    classydancer New Member

    Is there a certain level in which wearing high-quality practice attire is not really a good idea for competition? I currently compete in Novice and (barely) Pre-Champ Latin, and I'm on a continuous search for a dress. One of the big issues is the dress needs to be appropriate for NDCA nationals in Utah. I keep an eye out in the facebook groups and I've searched eBay and various other online dance dress stores. However, it's difficult to find a dress both conservative enough and classy. I've been seriously considering having a dress made, but 1) the money would definitely be tighter if I went this route (but I could do it and be ok), and 2) my partner believes we aren't at a level yet in which a custom dress would have a significant impact on our performance. At nationals, you see young women along the whole spectrum - very basic to Vesa - competing in Novice and Pre-Champ. My partner thinks it would be better to wait, assemble a high-quality practice outfit (something from DSI/danceshopper), and stone it; wait until we reach a higher level and then invest in a dress when it matters more. I'm wondering how far (in terms of level) one can appropriately go in stoned practice wear...and I'd love to hear the thoughts of the DF community :).

    Thank you!
  2. s2k

    s2k Well-Known Member

    In the open levels, I see couples in costume. In the syllabus levels, I have seen couples in costumes and in practice wear.

    Now, some of the open level couples in costume aren't wearing heavily stoned costumes. They're wearing dresses that are lightly stoned, fit them well, and are flattering in general.

    I'd reach out to European designers you see on those FB group pages. I've done that and I wished I'd done it years ago. Materials - gorgeous. Fit - immaculate. Stones - Czech. Fabric - sturdy, soft, opaque, breathable.

    You can look amazing without paying pro-am designer prices. Good luck!
    scullystwin42 likes this.
  3. FancyFeet

    FancyFeet Well-Known Member

    I'd agree that by pre-champ, it's time for a costume... but not necessarily a well-known named designer. Second-hand would be fine, and this is the route many go for a while. As you are considering new... just don't go the cheap Asian route. You want something that fits well, moves well, and shows your strengths as a dancer... and ideally, something which could be amped up or easily altered later, because that gives you longevity from that initial investment.

    Fabric choice is important. You can get away with not-dance-designer fabric (I do), but it takes more research to find the right thing. For a latin dress, the fabric outlay won't be as significant (I ordered 25 yards for my last standard dress!), so it may be worth going with a Chrisanne or DSI fabric. Keep in mind that the style of skirt that you choose and the lace embellishments (if any) are where you will have the most variability in fabric pricing. Even if you are not ordering the fabric yourself, I recommend getting a feel for what's out there and what it costs - it'll help you be an informed consumer when speaking with a designer.

    You can definitely save money by getting it lightly stoned and adding later, or by ordering it unstoned and doing that part yourself. Precosia stones are fine, and a significant savings over Swarovski (at this point anyway - they used to be more equal)... but in the open levels, I wouldn't go with any of the other stone brands because it will show on the floor when you're out there with the other costumes.
  4. azntwice

    azntwice Member

    There was a girl who went to BYU Nationals this year dancing in Championship Amateur Latin who wore a dress from Miari (a practicewear brand based in Brooklyn) and had it very heavily stoned, like all over, in Crystal AB. With some flashy accessories, for all intents and purposes it looked like a costume. A good dress will set you back about $200 and 40 gross of stones (probably enough to cover a dress all over) will be like $400 (make sure you get large and small sizes, maybe some ss40s, ss30s and ss20s). So all in, if you do the stoning job yourself, it'll cost you maybe $600 to $700 for a great dress that will fit in in open levels. Here is a link to the image:
  5. classydancer

    classydancer New Member

    Wow! Thanks for sharing! She did a good job.
  6. SmoothCriminal

    SmoothCriminal New Member

    I've heard of people who wear bodysuits under their dresses for BYU to comply with the rules. I've also heard of couples that do very successfully just wearing black practice wear on the BYU floor (because the costumes they had ordered for the event were delayed). Both of these are worth looking at as they'd give more flexibility in dress shopping.
  7. middy

    middy Well-Known Member

    Does anyone know of good designers/companies that make affordable plain costumes? Like, high-quality fit/fabric, just not stoned. Stuff that doesn't look obviously like practicewear. I suppose you can always request that as a custom job, but I have a feeling the cost would be still pretty high.
  8. raindance

    raindance Well-Known Member

    Try asking VE Dance. They do a variety of things from off the rack to custom. I am just going by what I have seen at their vendor booth, I haven't ordered from them, but they seemed to have very good quality and a bigger range of options than vendors that just do fully stoned or straight practice wear.
  9. middy

    middy Well-Known Member

    Haha I know them personally and was about to message them to get a quote/range. Thanks for the reply, though!
    raindance likes this.
  10. Borazine

    Borazine New Member

    My partner got a dress fitting this description from Taka Dance and was quite happy with it.
  11. dlliba10

    dlliba10 Well-Known Member

    I know a previous partner of mine had good success with Dancewear Works -- got an unstoned dress from them for a fair price and did all the stoning herself.
    RiseNFall likes this.
  12. RiseNFall

    RiseNFall Well-Known Member

    I'll second the Dancewear Works suggestion.

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