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How to Dress for Swing Dance Lessons and Parties

Swing dancing is a unique dance type that originated in the 20s of the 20th century, along with the growing popularity of jazz music. It is a relaxed, fun, and active style that requires the dancers to wear special clothes. But is it really so? Let’s look at the question together with the LiveTheDance blog experts.

Two Opinions on Swing Dancewear

Conventionally, all fans of this dancing style can be divided into two categories. Some strive to maintain authenticity and believe you should only dance in retro clothes. Others think that in the days when swing was born, people danced in their casual clothes, which means that modern artists should choose a casual style as well. In any case, it is better to choose the most simple clothing and shoes for lessons and rehearsals. But when planning performances, you should be more careful. Usually, the event organizers set the dress code, so you should be guided by their requirements. As a rule, retro fashion allows them to maintain the right vibe for the whole event.

Picking Rehearsal Outfit

You need the most comfortable clothes and shoes for everyday dancing, such as lessons and regular rehearsals. They will make you feel more relaxed and even minimize fatigue so you can dance longer. A standard outfit may consist of the following elements:

  • fitted t-shirt, tank top, or button-down shirt;
  • wide shorts, dress, or skirt (for women) and chinos or jeans (for men);
  • tights and bike shorts (for women);
  • sneakers or dancing shoes with leather or suede soles.

When choosing clothes for rehearsals, pay attention to the fit. As a rule, the top should be selected more fitted, while the bottom can be looser. Women should be aware that swing dance moves involve high jumps and turns, which can cause the skirt to go up high. Wear cycling shorts underneath for more comfort. By the way, it’s a good idea to bring a change of shirt or T-shirt with you, because during sessions you will definitely sweat and may want to put on fresh clothes.

Picking Performance Outfit

You will probably want to purchase a brighter and more memorable outfit for performances. It can be both vintage and retro, as well as modern clothes. Women can opt for A-line skirts and dresses. They beautifully emphasize your movements but at the same time, do not constrain them. Alternatively, you can opt for wide-leg palazzo pants. Choose shirts and blouses made of stretchy materials so you can raise your arms easily. For inspiration, look at photos from the 20s, 30s, and 40s.

Men can also recreate a vintage look with a nice button-down shirt or polo. You can wear dress pants or chinos or even go for a retro three-piece suit with a vest and blazer. The main thing is that all the details are wide enough and do not hinder your movements. Excellent addition to the outfit can be a bow tie, stylish suspenders, a hat, or a beret. Make sure that the headgear does not fall during the dance.

What Not to Wear to Dances

Although, by and large, you can dance in any clothes and shoes, as long as you are comfortable, there are a few tips that you still better listen to. Swing dancing is a rather energetic activity that involves sharp turns and jumps. You definitely don’t want to perform all those moves in heels. Such shoes are not the most comfortable and can lead to severe injuries. Also, do not choose sports sneakers since their soles are made of non-slip materials. They may make it impossible to perform some dance moves. Also, avoid wearing tight pants or long skirts below the knee. If you have long hair, be sure to tie it up so it doesn’t get in the way of you and your partner.