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Ballroom Competition Attire

There are certain expectations as to what a ballroom dancer should look like, but proper ballroom clothes also provide comfort and ease of movement. Click on each style for a basic outline of it's appropriate attire. Feel free to check out the competition packing list on the right, created by former team members.

Followers Leaders

Leader's Standard & Smooth

Leader's Standard Costume
  • White Buttondown Shirt - The shirt should be well fitted so that it doesn't create the "pirate" look when you are in frame.
  • Tie - Wear black for Standard, and wear a color for smooth if you wish. Clip-on bow ties are nice because they don't get off-center as easily. A black long tie works too.
  • Black Dress Pants - They should fit snugly and higher on the hips than typical dress pants. Make sure they are long ebough to cover your socks and some of your shoes.
  • Vest - The vest is not encouraged until Bronze level. Think of it as your certificate of induction.
  • Standard Ballroom Shoes - Special Shoes are required for ballroom. While jazz shoes can be used, you will eventually want ballroom shoes because their suede soles and specialized fit make it much easier and safer to dance. Men's Standard shoes usually have a 1/2 inch heel.
  • Hair should be comed and gelled down to be as sleek as possible. Facial hair is strongly discouraged.

Follower's Standard & Smooth

Follower's Standard Costume
  • Long Dress - A clean simple black or dark colored dress is most appropriate for early levels. At higher levels like Silver and Gold, a Standard dress with floats (drape-like fabric that connects from dress to wrists) may be appropriate. Smooth dresses, dresses for American-style dances do not have floats because they inhibit open figures where partners dance out of frame.
  • Standard Ballroom Shoes - Ballrooms shoes are necessary for a comfortable and safe danceing experience. The sole's are covered in suede which gives just the right amount of traction and slide. Women's standard shoes have a 1.5 to 2 inch heel and are stiffer and more stable than Latin shoes.
  • Hair should be neatly tucked up (such as in a bun) so that it looks sleek and doesn't inhibit the dancing.

Leader's Latin & Rhythm

Leader's Latin Costume
  • Black Buttondown Shirt - This shirt should fit as snugly as possible. Consider having someone take it in, or try doing it yourself. The collar should have a few buttons undone.
  • Black Dress Pants - These pants should sit very high and snugly on the waist and be wider around the hem. Make sure they are long enough to cover most of your shoe. This idea is to excentuate your leg line.
  • Men's Latin Shoes - You can dance Latin in your Standard shoes, but by Bronze year, it is helpful to get a pair of Latin Shoes. They have a higher heel, usually 1.5 inches, and they are made more flexible so that you can point your toe with more ease.
  • Hair should be combed and gelled down so as to appear sleek and remain in place while dancing.
  • Follower's Latin & Rhythm

    Followers's Latin Costume
  • Shorter Dress - These outfits can get quite elaborate in the higher levels, but just as with Standard, a simple black dress is best. Be sure that it allows free leg movement.
  • Women's Latin Shoes - You can dance Latin in your Standard shoes, but by Bronze year, it is helpful to get a piar of Latin shoes. The heel is higher at around 2.5 inches, and they are open toed. This, as well as the flexible sole, makes them much easier to articulate your feet and legs for Latin figures. The sandle-like look is also more appropriate for Latin than the "formal" style of Standard shoes.
  • Hair should be sleeked down so as to avoid impeding movements during dancing.