Dance styles have always influenced fashion designers; John Galliano and Christian Dior took inspiration from the ballet, Cristóbal Balenciaga drew extensively from flamenco, and Josephine Baker, a Folies Bergère dancer in the 1920s, was a fashion icon who predated by decades the outrageous costumes worn by Madonna and Lady Gaga in their dance performances. It is no surprise then that a number of the staples in our wardrobes today can be traced back to dance in some form or another.
1. Love of Latin
The cheeky fun of Latin dance styles has inspired a range of apparel. Most of these dances boast an exaggerated hip action and so suitable skirts maximise this move with several short layers, such as the 1980s ‘ra-ra skirt’ or the more modern ruffle mini-skirt. Another prime example of fashion directly influenced by South American dance styles is the recent trend for asymmetrical lines. One-shouldered tops and dresses, v-shaped hemlines and waterfall skirts also have their roots in Latin dance outfits.
2. Tempting Top Line
One of the most romantic Latin dances, the Rumba, has undoubtedly provided great inspiration for the floaty summer dress style with sheer outer voile draped over a figure-hugging shift dress. When the sun goes down of an evening, many ladies pull a bolero cardigan around their shoulders, with a direct nod to fiery Flamenco dancers. While halter-necks are also associated with the Latin styles, spaghetti strap dresses and tops are very reminiscent of the Charleston outfits from the flappers of the 1920s.
3. Cuban Stacks
Men aren’t left out of dance’s influence on fashion either, as the popular shoes known as Cuban stacks are taken directly from the Latin dances. With a low, thick heel, these shoes offer men a little extra height and some added drama to their moves as they stamp their feet down.
4. Jumping Jive
Jive, Jitterbug and Swing from the 1950s still inspire many modern outfits: knee-length skirts stand proud with layers of petticoats beneath them, while waists are exaggerated with large elasticised belts and curvy tops are accentuated by a halter-neck or a cute twin-set. Men too can get in on the act with high-waisted wide-legged pants and a pair of spectators, which are the two-toned leather dance shoes.
5. Ball gowns
The Waltz, and other ballroom dances dating back to the sixteenth century, were traditionally performed in full ball gowns, which emphasised the dance’s gentle movement through the sway of the dress. The elegant style is still popular today for bridal and bridesmaid dresses, as well as for formal wear, affording the wearer the opportunity to feel like a princess.
6. Amazing Accessories
Long strings of beads were twirled around by flappers in the dances of the 1920s, and these accessories regularly experience fashion resurgences. The same goes for fascinators and other special types of hats, which were commonly seen during the same era. Fame-inspired leg and arm warmers have endured through almost four decades of winters since the 1980 hit film, as a colorful way to keep toasty, while dancers’ leggings have been given a new lease of life, in the form of jeggings.
Dress as you like for dance classes
You can dress for comfort or to a theme for your lessons, but it’s the Arthur Murray social events that are a fantastic opportunity for our dancers to go all out and express themselves through glamorous, fashions.
Whether you’re interested in Salsa, Tango, Cha Cha, Merengue, Fox Trot, Swing, Rumba, Waltz, Ballroom or Latin, you’re welcome to start the creative juices by taking a free trial lesson at your nearest Arthur Murray studio in Sydney.
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