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Finding the perfect ballroom or Latin dress can be a very daunting task. There’s so much to think about! You have to choose a style of dress, pick a fabric, and make sure it fits in all the right places and helps you look and dance your best. Not to mention knowing which rhinestones to get or how to accessorize your outfit. Whew! No wonder you may be overwhelmed already. But don’t worry. This article will explain everything you need to know about finding the perfect dress.

Vesa for Chrisanne Rouched Frill Latin SkirtFirst, you may be wondering if you even need a dance costume at all. That depends. Each competition is different, so you definitely want to check with the competition rulebook before you make any purchases. Usually, costumes are not allowed for the beginning levels until you reach at least the silver level. Even if costumes are allowed, some competitions have strict rules about where and how much skin you can show. Make sure to read the fine print carefully.

Ok, so let’s say you’ve determined that you’re looking for a costume. You’ll need something that fits your body type. Start by thinking of what you’d like to show off. Got nice long legs? A beautiful back? Toned arms? Look for dresses that accentuate the parts of your body that make you proud. For Latin, try on a short skirt, a backless dress, or a one-shoulder top. For ballroom, try an open back, a plunging neckline, or a sleeveless dress.

Unfortunately, we all also have the parts of us that maybe need a little work. Your dress should help distract from the parts that you’re not so psyched about. Fringe dresses are great for concealing imperfections because they move around a lot, which distracts the eye. Fringe and frill dresses are also a good idea if you need a little extra help with hip movement, as they add volume and movement. If you’re looking to cover some skin, Ballroom dresses tend to be less revealing than Latin dresses, so it’s easier to cover up what you don’t want people to look at. There are plenty of dresses that are both elegant and modest.

Lumiere Verona Ballroom Dress Now that you’ve got a style of dress in mind, you can start to think about color. One of the most popular mistakes beginners make when buying a Ballroom or Latin dress for competition is to get a dress in a dark color. Your goal is to get noticed by the judges, and the easiest way to do that is to wear bright colors and don your dress in rhinestones (we’ll cover rhinestones in a future article). Bright pink, lime green, and purple colors are very popular right now. You can also opt for loud prints like animal print, flowers, or multicolored. Don’t be afraid to attract some attention!

I know you’ve already got a lot to think about before you buy a dress, but there are a couple more (very important) things to keep in mind. First, make sure your dress doesn’t impede your dancing. Be careful of long skirts – you don’t want to be worrying about keeping it out of the way or your partner tripping over it on the dance floor.  Second, be certain that you can move, stretch, and most importantly, dance in the dress. No matter how good you look, if you can’t move freely, it’s not going to be worth the investment. Finally, the most important thing is that you feel confident in the dress. If you’re worried about looking silly or that your dress doesn’t fit quite right, you won’t give your best performance. Nothing looks better on a dancer than a big smile and a confident posture.

What are your favorite colors or prints on a dress? Leave your answer in the comments below!