This week on the blog we're digging into competition rules and how they can impact your choice of dance costume. Now that we’ve gone over the “dos and don’ts” for dance team costumes for those competing in the Minnesota State High School League, let’s talk more about how you can make your 2017 costume concepts a reality, in Minnesota or elsewhere!
There are so many stunning costumes that you probably love but aren't able to use do to competition rules. But don't eliminate those favorites completely! Instead of moving on to a new costume idea, try modifying an existing costume to make it rule compliant. Read on to check out 3 easy ways you can modify your costume to make it competition ready.
Add a Lining or Second Layer
If you compete in Minnesota, odds are you are familiar with the rules requiring a dancer's torso and shoulders to be covered by an opaque fabric. So many striking costumes use sheer materials like mesh or lace - but this doesn't mean they are on the no list! Solution: Add a lining to the shoulders or torso shoulders under a sheer fabric, OR wear a separate piece, (like a rule-compliant leotard) underneath the sheer outer layer.
This Catsuit mesh unitard was was made rule compliant by placing a modest leotard under the sheer mesh, instead of the original bra top and short.
Close up the back
What if rules require that a dancer's shoulder blades do not show? Don't be afraid to modify those open backs! Solution: Close up the back with either a smaller keyhole opening, or a zipper back. It's a simple swap that won't change the structure of your costume. And from the front, it'll look exactly the same!
The open back on the garment on the left could be modified to have a smaller keyhole like the garment on the right, or have a hidden zipper closure.
Raise or Fill in the Neckline
The place where most people want more modesty is in the neckline. Solution: Move the neckline up a couple inches, or fill it in with a nude material. Over the years, we've found that nude mesh over a nude solid fabric gives the most natural flesh-toned look if your costume needs to be completely opaque. From a distance, it is really hard to tell the difference between skin and nude fabric!
The Leandra style (left) has an open neckline, but the Devlyn style (right) has a nude inset, giving it the look of an open neckline while still maintaining modesty.
The Jackson Pro style (left) is designed to show more cleavage, while the regular Jackson style has a higher neckline for a more modest look.
There you have it - 3 simple ways that you can alter a uniform or costume to fit within your competition's guidelines. Most custom costume companies will work with you and provide solutions to easily modify styles to meet your needs, and it doesn't have to be a complicated or expensive process. So go back to the drawing board ... and see if you can find the design possibilities in your non-rule compliant favorite looks!