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How long gown dress To Make a Perfectly Good Dance Costume Design Go Bad! As I mentioned, after sorting through hundreds of dance costume designs, I picked out these five photos to illustrate some of the common areas in costumes that could be avoided with minimal design or fit changes. Anyone is welcome to email your sketches to me to evaluate how flattering a potential design might be. Let's make the world a prettier and more flattering place for all!

As the saying goes…"Once a swimwear manufacturer fashion designer, always a fashion designer." But this can sometimes be a hazard: I am always dissecting people's outfits and costumes! My "designer eye" is always critiquing what I see, both the good and the bad.

I was recently scouring through costume manufacturer a dance studio's Facebook page, trying to find photos of a dancer wearing her Satin Stitches' costume. Along the way, I clicked through hundreds of photographs of the studio's recent invitational. I saw many beautiful dancers and some truly fabulous costumes, but I also saw a few costumes that did nothing to flatter the dancers who were wearing them.

I cringed at what I saw and not because the costumes or dancers looked bad, or even because of poor craftsmanship, but because I knew that with just a few minor changes, they would have been truly beautiful! The unflattering product was the result of an unfortunate decision regarding a minor detail or two of the design or fit of the costume.

You'll notice that in order to protect the privacy of the dancers in each of the following photos, I have cropped them so that, hopefully, no one will be able to connect these costume examples with the ballroom dancers themselves.

It is truly not my intent to humiliate or disparage any dancer. Rather, my goal is to analyze and explain these design flaws in order to help illustrate how the costume could have accentuated each dancer's unique qualities. I aim to provide fitting tips that will assist each of my readers in future costume design selection.

Photo #1

The Problem? A lovely costume with a minor flaw: the cut-out portion on the upper arms draws unwanted and unflattering attention to her arms.

The fix? Instead of scooping out a rounded opening, the cut-out should have been made vertically, as vertical design lines are always more flattering than non-vertical. I'll be the first to admit that I am not proud of my upper arms, so I always make an attempt to minimize calling attention to them. Likewise, this dancer's costume would be far more flattering with less emphasis on the upper arms. I think, however, the remainder of the design looks great on the dancer.

Photo #2

The Problem? A great design, with an unfortunate fabric choice. Generally speaking, prints are risky. This red and black on white print is workable, but the sheer fabric used on the neckline and bodice appears to be pinker than the red in the print and in the skirt godets. Sheer red over white will always ‘read' as pink.

The Fix? In my opinion, the dress could have been more elegant if it were a solid color, or with a monochromatic color combination, such as red with pink, or light blue with medium blue. Other than the fabric choice, however, this was a lovely design that really flattered the dancer.

Photo #3

The Problem? Although this man's shirt is really well constructed and the rhinestoning detail is exquisite, the issue with this look has less to do with the style of shirt and more to do with the coloring of the shirt paired with this gentleman's white chest.

The Fix? A better look for him and this shirt, would have been a minimal spray tan to bring his chest's color up to his face tone, or perhaps selecting a new color for the shirt so as to not mimic his chest color. Another option for a classier look, would be to limit the opening and create more of a narrow, deep front opening, rather than the wide and deep chest exposure. A simple change to the color and cut could have vastly improved this costume.

Photo #4

The Problem? Although photo #4 shows a nicely designed and constructed costume, the design did not flatter this particular dancer to her best advantage. Horizontal details are not often complementary or the best choice, so the wide belt across her stomach area should have been avoided.

The Fix? A solitary accent point at her hip, could have been a beautiful focal point to draw the eye down in a flattering pattern from the neckline detail, to the side hip and then down to the hemline. The rhinestoned open collar with peak-a-boo bra is a very current trend and could have worked for this dancer, if it had created a diagonal line, rather than a horizontal line. This is probably more of a fitting issue. I envision the collar exposing less of the bra, which would create a smaller opening and more of a ‘V' shaped point on her midriff. Since this would defy the laws of physics, a sheer panel could be employed which would have helped the opening to keep a tighter fit and thus, prevent the collar from stretching out to show an ‘O'-shaped opening rather than a ‘V' Shape.

Photo #5

The Problem? This costume showcases a beautifully rhinestoned pattern over a sheer black mesh bodice. However, the waistline positioning is most unfortunate, in fact, I don't think the cut of this waistline paired with the satin skirt and sheer mesh bodice would have been attractive on anyone.

The Fix? To improve this design, the position of the waistline would need to be raised. I would also want to change the color of the skirt to black. In addition, I would also line the bodice, below the cleavage area, for a classier and more flattering look.

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