Winning costuming for a Recreational Dancesport Competitor

winning recreational dancesport costuming

Winning Recreational Dancesport Costuming


When choosing a costume or outfit for Recreational Ballroom Competition, black seems always to be the colour of choice.  Whilst black is slimming and the traditional 'Dancesport" colour, it is not the most suitable colour to compliment your dancing in competition.  Black is extraordinarily dull, difficult to see, and to be honest... quite boring.

So what does an adjudicator like to see in Dancesport Competition for Recreational Competitors?


  1.  First, I recommend full colour.  Look for a flattering top/skirt or dress in stretch crepe or similar in bright red, pink, yellow, blue or green.  And it doesn't have to be a bright colour, as pastels can work equally well.  Choose a colour that excites and inspires you.
  2. Prefer a pattern?  Great.  Look for bold florals, animal print or asymmetric patterns.   These are eye catching and confident.  Black just can't compete!
  3. Don't eliminate white as a choice either.  Although tricky to clean, it looks confident and bright.  A winning colour.
  4. Choose a Dancesport training wear style, not 'after 5'.  It's made for Ballroom and Latin American and looks more impressive.
  5. If you are not 100% confident to do it yourself, get your hair and makeup done professionally, wear eyelashes,  and get a tan.
  6. Wear clean/new flesh coloured satin Ballroom or Latin American shoes.


What to avoid - no makeup,  glitter eyelashes, dirty shoes, black/coloured or glittery shoes, scruffy or flyaway hair, visible tattoos.



1.  Unlike the girls,  gents are best to wear black.  Black Dancesport practice (not casual) trousers and a black shirt looks great for Latin.  A white shirt can also look good for Ballroom and New Vogue.

2. Waistcoats or vests can add a touch of class and add polish.

3. Wear a black or white tie, or possibly a solid colour to match your partner's outfit, as long as it matches well.

4. Get your hair trimmed the day before and ask the barber to shave a straight line along the bottom of your hairline at the back.

5. Borrow your partner's bronzer and put a light layer on your face before you put your shirt on.

What to avoid - long hair, even if it's tied up, eyeliner, over tanning the face or backs of your hands.


Finally, make sure your costume meets all the guidelines for Recreational Dancesport competition.


Monica Fincham is a former Professional Ballroom dancer and now competition adjudicator and owner of Dancesport Kingdom in Lilydale.  

"Dancesport Competition is, at it's heart, a performance where you are judged against the other performers. Just like if you go to a show, a musical or a movie,  you expect performers to dress in a way that enhances their performance and their character, and increases our experience of them as we spectate.  Dancesport competition is no different.  A competitor who underestimates the visual costuming aspect of their performance is naive.  All spectators, including adjudicators, judge the whole package. We judge not just what you DO, but how you make us feel."















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