Costuming: The Voice of Experience

by Souzan


In addition to being a plus size, I am an older dancer and so have those issues as well in costuming choices. These are some things I have learned from other dancers and from experimentation:

  • Choose the appropriate costume style for the dance style -- don't wear tribal or "faux Gypsy" style with classical Egyptian music
  • If you sew, brush up on your skills so that you can make appropriate costume adjustments. You can let out seams, add fabric into seams, add darts, take out darts, etc. If you don't sew, try to learn from someone who can patiently show you what to do.
  • Big gals can wear more stuff -- big jewelry, big hair, big makeup, more fringe, etc. because it doesn't overpower us like it would on a petite dancer.
  • Choose matte fabrics that absorb light rather than reflecting light. Use shiny accents to draw the eye to your good parts and away from your bad parts.
  • It goes without saying to evaluate your figure type (there are lots of shapes to plus-size gals) and learn which basic styles look good on you. Check out the costuming section of this web site for help.
  • Play up your makeup, manicure, footwear, jewelry.
  • Many vendors will special order costumes to your measurements for you or help you to find the right costume for you.
  • If you have great legs -- show them. If not, select something that just lets a little peek through.
  • BD Patterns has dozens of sewing patterns for dresses and costume pieces sized up to 24. Also check out Madame X patterns. Madame X is a plus-sized dancer and costumer.
  • Yes, belly nets and body stocking work to hold things in and smooth out the rolls, bumps and lumps. I wear the full torso armless body stockings under dresses.
  • Check out the plus sized costumes at the vendors listed on the Resources page of this web site. Some may be able to custom-order the right-size costume for you if they don't have one in stock.
  • I have a folder on my computer where I save photos of plus size dancers in costumes I think look great on them. It helps give me inspiration and ideas for costuming.


Women of all sizes can bellydance!

About The Author

Souzan lives in Northern Florida with her husband, a house full of dogs, and way too many dance costumes! An editor, writer, and perennial student, she finds that tradiitonal Eyptian music and dance gives her a voice for the emotions.

The lovely Madame Abla dress in her photo was designed to flatter a full-figured dancer.  The beadwork on the bodice  emphasizes curves while drawing the eye down to the gorgeous decorated hemline.  Like many Ablas, it has generous fringe that is perfect fir a fuller figure.

Click on the photo of Souzan at the right to see the costume in more detail.

Photo of Souzan


Women of all sizes can bellydance!

The contents of this page are copyrighted 2008 by Julie Anne Elliot. All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication is forbidden.