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10 Places to Find Inspiration for Your Next Dance Costume

Posted by Meagan on Mar 27, 2018

design inspiration for dance costumes  

Inspiration for your next dance costume can come from anywhere: the runway, your Instagram feed, a sneaker, or even something as random as that gorgeous peach that's sitting on your desk! 

We know it can feel overwhelming to narrow your focus to create a concept that is unique from your competitors.  To help, we've rounded up some of our favorite resources for finding dance costume inspiration.

The Best Places to Find Dance Costume Inspiration:

1. Music

Your music determines the mood of your costume, so it's always a great starting point.  "I find that, when I’m planning for a performance, where I find most of my inspiration is from the music," said Mollie Sylvestre, a choreographer and instructor at Dance Arts Centre.  "I start there and dream in shapes and create a theme from what the music tells me. I try to use the music to create a story and then build from there."  

You want your costumes to flow with your music and choreography - so it's always a good idea to send the music to your designer! They love to hear it and it will give them a better sense of the costume concept.  For example, if your music is hard hitting and edgy, you'll want your costume to be the same (rather than light and flowy).  Here are some great places to find new music:

2. Pinterest

Pinterest is (of course!) the number one spot for finding inspiration! We suggest using the search tool with keywords to describe what you want, like "open back dance costume."  

You can even make a "secret" board to keep your costume design under wraps - making the reveal that much more dazzling! Here are some suggestions of who to follow on Pinterest:

3. YouTube

There are so many dance-centric YouTube channels out there! Not only are these great to follow for choreography inspiration, they are also full of great costume design ideas. Some our favorite YouTube channels are:

dance costume design inspiration
Fargo Davie's Dance Team's inspiration photos, via Pinterest, and their final design. 

4. Pop Stars

Pop-stars are always wearing gorgeous, elaborate costumes for their performances - which translate perfectly to dance costumes!  Whether it's a SuperBowl performance, a red carpet dress, or a music video - the following divas are always on trend:

5. Fashion Blogs

Fashion blogs are both visually appealing and full of curated trend information and style advice! Some of our staff favorites are: 

6. Movies, Books & TV

Every year we there's always one movie that inspires numerous looks on our designer's desks.  The Greatest Showman, Wonder Woman, and Beauty and the Beast have been major players! Thinking beyond movies, TV shows and book covers are also a great source of inspiration, too. Here are some lists of popular movies, as well as great dance shows on TV right now: 

7. Any Photo You See! 

Color inspiration can come from anywhere! If you see an appealing photo - from a landscape to a floral arrangement to a shoe -  you can use this as inspiration for a color palette. There are some great automated tools online, like the Color Palette Tool, that make creating color combinations easy.  Simply upload a photo and it will generate a color palette for you and your costume designers to work off of!

dance costume design inspiration

Seton Dance Team's"The Bachelor" inspired custom dance costume. 

8. Instagram

Not only is Instagram full of impressive dancers, it's full of impressive dancers wearing gorgeous costumes! We also follow a few fashion designers here at The  Line Up to inspire us for new styles: 

9. The Runway

Stay on trend with the newest looks from the Runway! Sometimes runway styles can be a bit eccentric, but we recommend taking a look at the details - like necklines, fabrics, and patterns - to get ideas that would translate to dance costumes.  Find runway photos here:

 10. Modify a Look 

Maybe you see a costume you love, but want to put your own spin on it.  Some companies allow you to modify an existing style or create a one-of-a-kind look! This is typically an easier process (and a often cheaper) than designing a custom costume from scratch - but still gives you a unique look. Companies that create custom dance costumes include:

 dance costume modification customized dance costume

Two teams were inspired by the Tribal Mesh Leotard (right), and modified it in two different ways:
with an added sash and different colors (center), and with added pants (right). 


Recommended Blogs:


Free download: Top 2024 Dance Costume Trends

Topics: Behind the Design, Costume Design Resources, How to Design a Custom Dance Costume

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