One of the first things that come to mind when seeing the beautiful
costumes worn by female dancers in Irish dancing or Irish step dancing
is where to buy step dancing costumes. The elaborate, beautiful
dresses are truly like no other and speak exquisitely of ancient Irish
tradition. But if you don't know what to look for in a solo dancing
dress, finding a step dancing costume can be tricky and expensive.
The different levels of Irish dancing determine where a dancer gets
her dancing costume from. Any dancer in the Beginner or Novice levels
will usually be provided with a dance costume from their school of
dance. In these instances, all students will be wearing the same dance
costume. After the Novice level, the dancer usually dances a solo
dance and wears her own dancing costume. The Irish step dancing
costume can be custom made, bought from a dressmaker specialising in
Irish dancing costumes, or made at home by hand.
Unless you yourself are a skilled seamstress, the best choice is to
purchase your Irish dancing costume from a dressmaker. If custom
ordering your dress, there are a few things to keep in mind. The first
is to be sure to call and order the dance costume early. Dressmakers
are very busy and only have a limited amount of time and slots for
orders so call with plenty of time so they can accommodate your
request. When exactly you should call and order depends largely on how
elaborate the solo dress is. Usually six months is a good time to
order the dress. Some ornate fabrics, styles or elaborate decoration
may need a longer period so you'll want to leave time for that as
While there aren't many choices when it comes to picking styles, it's
important to provide your dressmaker with a list of proper
measurements. To get an accurate measurement, ask someone to help, it
is almost impossible to take accurate measurements yourself. Do not
take your measurements over your clothing but rather, measure over
your undergarments that you will be wearing with your dress.
Measurements should be snug but not tight. Tying a string at the waist
will also help to give you a reference point.
A beautiful Irish dancing costume is critical to solo dancing and
competition. Of course, a dancer is judged by her skill, grace and
mastery of technique, however, a gorgeous solo dance costume enhances
the experience for dancers, spectators and judges alike. The Irish
dance costume is part of a dancer's presentation and should not be
treated lightly. Even if your costume is fairly plain, it can still be
elegant and that will form the impression the judges and audience will
have of you.
Solo dresses are very expensive due to the fabric, the time it takes
to design and create, and the time it may take to coordinate colors,
accessories, etc. A beautiful custom made Irish dance costume can cost
upwards of USD$2,000 or more, so you'll need to shop around. Ask your
Irish dancing school for recommendations. Keep in mind that this
costume will last through several competitions, so the expense will be
worth it, especially when you bring home the awards.