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What to wear: Costume trends and tips from top dancewear designers

'Kill The Lights' costume. Photo courtesy of Costume Gallery.
'Kill The Lights' costume. Photo courtesy of Costume Gallery.

It’s officially October, and Halloween costumes stores are popping up everywhere. While we’re brainstorming our seasonal spooky costumes, the designers at dance costume companies like A Wish Come True and Costume Gallery create gorgeous garments for every dance style all year long. 

Who would know better what upcoming looks to look out for? Dance Informa gathered insights from both of these costume companies about their best-selling styles and how to choose costumes that will make you feel your best! Here are some costume elements we’re excited to incorporate, and old ideas that we’re happy to leave behind. 

'Bad Habits' costume. Photo courtesy of A Wish Come True.
‘Bad Habits’ costume. Photo courtesy of A Wish Come True.

What’s popular? 

Alexis Dovas, product design coordinator at Costume Gallery, says she’s seeing trends from street fashion seep into costume design – monochromatic looks, cut outs, sheer mesh and lots of fringe – all reminiscent of ’90s looks. “The wide leg pant trending in fashion is trickling into the dance world with the resurgence in popularity of the gaucho pants, especially in contemporary styling,” notes Dovas.

She’s also observing “classic silhouettes transformed by fresh color options. Sophisticated purples and lavenders along with tranquil blues for lyrical and ballet styles. Vibrant reds and bright blue/greens for jazz and tap styles. Warm neutrals like browns, nudes and rusts for contemporary.” Dovas says it’s still “all about the leotard silhouette across multiple dance genres, either heavily adorned with embellishments or simplified and minimalistic,” depending on the tone of the piece.

According to Renée Stojek, creative services coordinator at A Wish Come True, she’s seeing trends that are less related to design and more connected to inclusivity. “(There are) more requests for coordinating boys costumes and extended size ranges. As a result, we have extended our collection to include costumes from size 2T and XXSC for pre-school age dancers – boys and girls – to 3XLA and 4XLA, which is being offered on over 130 teen styles.”

How to pick your costume? 

'Kill The Lights' costume. Photo courtesy of Costume Gallery.
‘Kill The Lights’ costume. Photo courtesy of Costume Gallery.

The best way to look your best is to feel your best, and when you feel your best, you dance your best! A Wish Come True increasing its range in sizing for both boys and girls means more dancers will feel like their best selves in their outfits. Ensuring your dancer is armed with a killer sense of confidence will absolutely transform their performance quality. Costume Gallery is of the same mindset. “The art of dance is storytelling; costumes should make a visual impact,” explains Dovas. “However, the most important thing to keep in mind when choosing a costume is to pick a style that compliments the dancers as well as the dance. It is essential to choose a costume that both flatters the body and doesn’t restrict movement. When a dancer is comfortable with how they look and how they feel, they will perform with confidence.”

Creating confidence seems to be a through line. Says Stojek, “Will all your dancers be confident and comfortable in the style? Does the style allow for all the necessary undergarments? Is there a coordinating option for boys in the performance? Will the costume be flattering on all skin tones?”

Modesty is a big consideration, most especially for kids’ recitals and competitions. Costumes that don’t allow for secure undergarments are something we’re ready to leave behind. How can a dancer go full out with feeling when they’re constantly worried about a wardrobe malfunction?

As Stojek notes, all too often, group costume designs are missing a boys’ cut, leaving them either scrambling to find something similar, or to just stick out. And we’re so over seeing “skin tone” mesh on costumes that only matches lighter complexions. Group numbers are a team effort, so your dancers should look like a cohesive team. No one should feel left out or look out of place. 

'Bad Habits' costume. Photo courtesy of A Wish Come True.
‘Bad Habits’ costume. Photo courtesy of A Wish Come True.

With all this in mind, what are some favorites from these two design studios this fall? “Bad Habits” by A Wish Come True is a figure flattering style in a new geometric sequin fabric with showstopping shoulder details. It’s available in black, navy, jade and burgundy, and is offered up to 4XLA. Plus, peep the coordinating guys’ look with satin collar and cuffs!

And get a look at Costume Gallery’s stand out style “Kill The Lights.” This one is Dovas’ top pick. “Dramatic? Check. Comfortable? Check. Impactful? Check. The vibrant turquoise color is paired with high shine dimensional sequin, making a visual impact under stage lighting. The silhouette is feminine and flattering with hologram mesh insets for an added touch of sophisticated sparkle and modesty. But what really makes the style spectacular is the unique two-layered high-low circular skirt. The pleated foil fabric on its own is eye-catching, but cut into this silhouette and layered over black net for added volume, it really turns heads. When a dancer pirouettes, or even just changes direction, the skirt dramatically cascades around the body adding an additional layer of choreography.” 

Looks like confidence is the main factor on the costumes trends forecast. And luckily, A Wish Come True and Costume Gallery have all the options – find costumes that speak to your unique style, help tell the story of the choreography and have your dancers feeling fantastic. 

To shop costumes from these companies, head to and

By Holly LaRoche of Dance Informa.

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