What to wear for west coast swing social dancing
Many people wonder what to wear for west coast swing dancing. Late night dancing attire should be about comfort. Typical attire for social dancing is jeans and a t-shirt. Don’t overthink it too much, as it is usually dim lighting during social dancing. Be sure to wear deodorant and check for clean breath before you go out social dancing.
Men should plan to change shirts several times throughout the night depending on how much they sweat. This is not just practical for the social etiquette and ick factor but that it is not hygienic or good for your skin to stay in sweaty clothes for too long. Leave extra shirts in the trunk of your car or wear an undershirt.
Ladies, feel free to wear your hair down and use it as ‘hairography’ to accentuate head rolls and duck outs. It can be useful to clip or pin away the hair from the face so you can see better during spins and it won’t get in your eyes while you spot. Tops that have extra fabric and flow during spins are great. Female dancers can never go wrong with a shiny or sparkly top.
TAKE ACTION>> Check out our WCS Styling Resources
Yoga pants are acceptable for both men and women for social dancing. This allows maximum comfort and flexibility. But it is more popular to wear baggy, stretchy pants and not super skin-tight ones.
If you choose to wear leggings, then boots are trendy.
TAKE ACTION>> Check out our blog about West Coast Swing shoes.
If you are going social dancing at a country western bar, the dress may be slightly different. Cowboy boots and maybe even a cowboy hat will be seen. Belts with chunky buckles are common at the bars. Ladies will usually wear a casual shirt or tank top with jean pants or jean shorts and cowboy boots. PS Check out our 2-Step videos.
Here is a link to the website of a popular west coast swing photographer. Here you will find tons of photos of male and female west coast swing dancers. View several to get an idea of which fashion ideas you would like to emulate: Take a peek
The same dress code goes for group classes and workshops, which are also very casual in dress. Workshop days can go long so you want to wear comfortable clothing and shoes. Yoga pants are acceptable here as well.
In a sport for which you are being judged on how you look and move, clothing and attire are very important. The trends in West Coast Swing fashion, just like everyday fashion trends, are constantly changing. But generally, it follows similar fashion trends for casual clothing as seen in schools, at the mall, or on TV.
Champions, advanced dancers, and youths are usually the examples to follow for the latest fashions. You don’t want to become a clone of someone else because it’s important to keep your own individual identity. Yet, conforming to current trends may help you feel more comfortable and socially accepted. In general, casual and comfortable is the way to go. Women usually wear pants and shirts, as compared to dresses or skirts. Just like in everyday life, wear flattering clothes that complement your body type and age.
When you travel for a WCS event, it is better to overpack than under-pack, at least for the first few events until you know what to expect. Different parts of the event call for different outfits. Here are a few pointers:
What to wear for west coast swing Jack and Jill Competition
Dress to impress, closer to business casual during your contest. Keep in mind that both men and women need to wear a contestant number safety-pinned to their clothing during the event, so keep that in mind if you don’t want delicate material to become worn or torn. Part of your personal style is shown in your clothing, as well as your overall look and your dancing. Jeans are not acceptable for these contests. The following may sound a bit contradictory, but it’s true: you want to stand out, while at the same time fit in!
Women in the Jack and Jill competitions will wear dressy tops with pants or leggings. If you choose to wear looser dress slacks, then strappy sandal shoes or closed-toed, high-heeled swing shoes are common. If you choose to wear leggings, then boots are trendy. Flowing hair styles are common even during competitions. However, keep in mind that you may not want hair in your face while you are spinning, or have a wild braid or ponytail whacking or distracting your leader. Flowing and shiny tops are popular.
Men in Jack and Jill competitions usually wear a buttoned-down, long-sleeved, collared shirt with dress slacks, and heeled, black, closed-toed dance shoes. Make sure the socks go with your outfit because your pant legs tend to rise up as you dance. Dress shirts can be a solid color or pattern.
Strictly Swing Competition
Typically, a couple wears matching outfits or corresponding colors for Strictly Swing competitions. This may involve some advanced planning with your partner. For example, both of you may want to wear black pants and pink dressy shirts.
What to wear for west coast swing divisions like Classic or Showcase is a more complicated questions. These divisions require more flashy costuming that make a statement and memorable impression. Rhinestones are often used. Costuming should match the song choice and tone of the routine. Partners should match and look stage-ready with exaggerated hair style and makeup.
Footwear is important for both looks and functionality. Check out our previous blog about West Coast Swing shoes.
Late night dancing attire should be about comfort. Typical attire for social dancing is jeans and a t-shirt. Men should plan to change shirts several times throughout the night depending on how much they sweat. This is not just advisable for the social etiquette and “ick factor,” but also it is not hygienic for your body or healthy for your skin to linger in sweaty clothes. The same dress code goes for workshops, which are also very casual in dress. Workshop days can run long, so you want to wear comfortable clothing and shoes. Yoga pants are acceptable as well.
Check the websites and schedule for each convention you attend, as some may have themed conventions or theme nights where everyone dresses as the chosen theme. It is not mandatory to dress within the theme, but it is really fun. For example, Halloween Swingthing has many opportunities to go all-out in your Halloween costume. The Phoenix 4th of July event has certain days where everyone will wear red, white, or blue. Desert City Swing always has one night where everyone dresses to the theme of that year’s convention. Also, be sure to check the website to see if awards or dinner shows call for dressy attire. This will be the only time women may choose to wear dresses; otherwise it is unnecessary.
What to wear for west coast swing? Make it easy…
Dress casual and for comfort and to show your personal flare. Have your clothing help express your art form.