Archive of ‘Dance Fashion Dish’ category

Shopping As Exercise

It’s that time of year again, when stores begin their discounts to lure in shoppers, beginning with Veterans’ Day and Black Friday. And the holiday sales will continue through the New Year.

Want the most bang for your buck? Head to the outlets if you dare. I bravely ventured to the Woodbury Commons Premium Outlets outside of New York City for the Veteran’s Day sales. The bus ride there was only an hour and it wasn’t that crowded first thing in the freezing fall morning. While the sales ended up not being nearly as impressive as I had hoped, the selection of stores was overwhelming. My friend and I gathered at the Starbucks to plot our day. We figured out the most logical routes to hit each store on our list.

The more you buy – the more weight you carry. Remember that especially if you have to travel to get to your destination. Whatever purchase you make you will have to carry it around to the other stores, as you wait for the bus, on the subway, or walk around the parking lot trying to remember where you left your car. This can help reign in eyes bigger than arms. However, you can also remember that bags are weighted depending how much or what you buy so you are at least getting some resistance training from the purchase. The lifting of your bags to walk or the setting down and picking them up again as you hold up items and try on things counts as exercise. It’s always useful to find creative ways to enjoy a good workout.

Keep in mind that holiday sales are really stressful for employees and sometimes things can be overlooked. If you have garments with security tags make sure you see the clerks remove them all and double check your bag before you leave the store. It’s embarrassing to walk into other stores and have their sensors go off because a tag was left on your dress. Then you have to walk all the way back to the original store to have it removed safely.

We had a nice 7-hour shopping experience with an unfortunate 3-hour delayed bus ride back into the city thanks to traffic and an accident. That’s a lot of walking! We ended our day with cups of hot tea and stretching of our sore legs, arms, backs and feet.

I think I prefer shopping online with frequent yoga breaks!

Baby, It’s Cold Outside – Bundle Up

It’s getting to be that time of year when it’s cold outside. Walking to and from the gym or studio, it’s becoming necessary to wear a coat again.

It’s important to make sure that you bundle up when you go out during these coming months. You can catch a cold if you go outside wet with sweat. The sweat on your skin will attract the cold air, which not only will chill your bones but also leave you susceptible to catching something.

At least bring a scarf, hat and gloves to retain your heat. Your head, hands and feet are the first places for your body temperature to escape from. When you cover these areas of your body you will feel much warmer.

One fashion look that works surprisingly well is a long warm scarf. You can wrap the scarf around your head and neck while you are walking outside to get to the subway or the next club – then, once inside, use it like a pashmina to drape over your shoulders when you’re not dancing.

I’m still learning techniques for coping with temperature changes between my apartment and the gym. Last week it was really hot and stuffy inside, so before going out I stuck my arm outside the window. The air felt crisp, not cold. But once I got outside and had walked a few blocks I realized that the air had felt so invigorating in contrast to the heat in the building – and despite picking up my pace I was getting chilled.

Layers are a smart fashion choice – I’ve started keeping a cozy sweatshirt in my workout bag so once my body heat cools down after exercise I can pull it on to keep warm. I also like to layer an attractive tank under a sweater, so if the sweater is too much when I’m not just sitting still, I can take off the sweater and still look presentable.

Even when you forget to wear enough clothing in the winter, don’t forget there are other time-tested ways to keep warm. Nothing beats walking in the crisp winter air snuggled against your date with his arm around you, unless it is wearing his gallantly offered suit jacket!

Recovering from a Fashion Frenzy

Last week I waited in line for 5 hours to get inside the Missoni + Target pop-up shop for Fashion’s Night Out (FNO). Leading up to Fashion Week in New York City, many designers and retailers opened special limited time stores known as pop-up shops. Promotion of these sales opportunities was everywhere. For some designers participating in FNO, the evening was more about providing drinks and hors d’oeuvres in their salons to celebrate the launch of their latest styles. Next year I’ll plan to attend some less frenzied events.

But I did learn from my experience trying to snag affordable Missoni. It is important to know that feature styles can sell out quickly. If you love something you need to snatch it up while it is available. It’s worth it to go the extra mile to get something you love.

But be prepared to adjust your expectations. I had researched the collection online before FNO and had a list of pieces I wanted to see. Most of these were sold out by the time I got inside. Even when I found the navy maxi dress in my size, I did take time to try it on instead of just grabbing it. It’s a good thing I did because the cut of the dress was not perfect for my shape. After waiting all that time, I was determined to buy something Missoni, so I bought the dress a little large so that the zig zags at the neckline would not be hidden at the bustline.

However, this did mean that the plunging V neckline might be too deep for all occasions. The solution is to wear the dress with a form fitting leotard top that provides a bit more coverage but still looks sleek under the dress – a leotard top with sleeves also provides a nice layer in the winter. Another solution is to wear a halter top under the dress, which would be very comfortable instead of a cami. Here are two examples of a good layering pieces:

It was probably just as well that most of the Missoni items were sold out before I could buy them.

Just because a designer is highly regarded doesn’t mean that all of their pieces for the mass market are made in fabrics or colors that work for me.

It did take a lot less time and was infinitely more affordable to try to buy Missioni at FNO than to fly to Milan for the July or January sales. But rather than buy the Missoni + Target line at inflated prices on eBay, I’m going to keep my eyes open for the next sale at Saks!

FNO = Fashion’s Night Out

I finally had my first total New York fashionista shopping experience. Fashion’s Night Out, fondly called FNO, is being held this month throughout the country – and serious events were in NYC on September 8 before the start of Fashion Week. This was the time to dress up to be seen and shop.

My goal: the pre-launch of the exclusive Missoni for Target line in a pop-up shop by Bryant Park. Missoni is an Italian fashion powerhouse. I couldn’t wait to check out their collaboration and see the collection in person. The new line had been hyped for months with articles in Vogue and across the webosphere.

The power of hype is contagious. When I arrived at 4:30p.m. — before the shop was due to open at 6:00 p.m. — the line already stretched in an ‘S’ so that the entry doors by 7th avenue were far away when I was standing back about 100m from the 6th avenue block. It was amazing to see the block taken over by a line of die-hard shoppers who knew that Missoni + Target = affordable luxe. Even more amazing were the number of people walking up to ask what the line was for, having never heard of Missoni. Some shoppers seemed excited to join in on the camaraderie of waiting even though they didn’t understand the significance.

It was also an evening of ethics. As we stood in the line we saw the people who had arrived really early to wait leaving with their splurges – and splurge they did! They would leave with at least 5 packed bags on average. We even saw 2 girls hail a cab and pack in (barely fitting themselves) along with 50 or so bags of merchandise. Then there were the girls who tried to scalp the items they had just bought for way more than the retail cost, claiming it was our only chance to get the items since they were sold out inside. Even those waiting in line challenged values of fairness by having friends come join them, therefore exponentially adding to the number of people ahead of me because of all the cutting. I even saw what appeared to be paid place-holders, holding a spot in line for those who were arriving after dinner!

This type of event could be controlled and handled much better. Crowd management could be improved by giving everyone a number tied to their ID to prevent people trading spots in line. Merchandise could be restocked for a published time frame to avoid items becoming out of stock, as the case was at FNO by the time we made it inside. Limiting the amount of merchandise one person could get at a special event like this would give everyone who waits the opportunity to have similar purchase options.

Even the official collection launch the next week was overwhelmed by the hype. The Target website was down for most of the day when the collection became available online and the stores sold out of most items within minutes of opening.

Beyond the experience of taking part in a fashion frenzy, my FNO Missoni experience was worth it. After waiting in  line for 5 hours, I did find the navy maxi dress at the pop-up shop!

Feel the Pulse When You Dance

Pulso Latino is a tri-college (Bryn Mawr, Haverford, & Swarthmore) Latin dance troupe dedicated to the exuberance and passion of Latin culture. Incorporating a wide range of music, style, and influence, the group aims to attract a multitude of dancers, regardless of ethnicity. Members are given the opportunity to both audition for and choreograph individual pieces, which are performed once each semester.

Bringing a bit of Latin warmth to the greater Philadelphia area, Pulso Latino dancers create modern pieces built on Latin rhythms and dance steps. The mood for the pieces comes from the costumes as well as the choreography.

Being students with a limited budget, we needed a source for dancewear that was flirty, sophisticated and still affordable. My freshman year I had discovered e.k. Clothing for our first performance. Now, 4 years later, e.k. Clothing remains the go-to for our costumes. We maintain a costume inventory, too, and the dresses we bought in 2007 are still put into use.

Flower Hair ClipHere are some snapshots from the final Pulso showcase of my collegiate career.  We    added to our visual repertoire with some great accessories. Check out the realistic      rose hair clips that we used to hold back our hair. We were excited to find the          beautiful ruffled flamenco dresses – the colorful trim creates a flattering line and  looks very authentic. The asymmetrical dance skirt and the basic black v-neck dress  look professional on stage and are versatile for numerous dance styles. The dance  skirt can look completely different just by switching out a color for the tank top. That  black dress was in our first purchase 4 years ago – and its been washed and worn  every showcase since.  Orange Fower Hair Clip

Investing in quality dancewear pays off in our confidence on stage and our ability to get into the vibe of the dances. There’s something almost magical about the swirl of a flowing skirt that shows off a graceful turn. And knowing that straps aren’t going to rip or seams pop makes it easier to put complete energy into a performance.

It’s also nice that our performance wear does double-duty as glamorous outfits for the after-party. When the showcase ends and we’ve taken our curtain calls, we still get to dance – this time joined by our audience.

Color Your New Year Bright!

Constellation Twist Halter Dress

Welcome to 2011! It’s time to re-evaluate your closet and figure out what pieces you have to complement current fashion trends.

While we dance to showcase our passion, exhibit our emotions and help work up a sweat, we also can look gorgeous and wear fresh new colors in whatever form of movement we prefer.

According to the Refinery29 Fashion Color Report this is the spring to use the following shades: honeysuckle pink; orange (persimmon); yellow (warm or buttery); blue (aqua or dusty or navy); earth tones (sand to dusty red); and white.

How can you tie these hues into your dance ensemble?

Flamenco: ruffles and any vibrant colors such as red and orange. Update that with persimmon or a dusty red to incorporate the new trends.

sexy green salsa dress

Samba: anything abbreviated, like a bright/vivid mini dress with a low back or side cutouts. Select lime, teal or yellow – try a warm yellow or add some aqua to your wardrobe.

Salsa: form fitted attire in any color. Now is your chance to add some honeysuckle pink into the mix.

Tango: sexy elegance, perhaps in contrasting colors such as red and black. Change up your look with a deep navy or rustic brown earth tone.

Merengue: flowy and swirly. Select a white number that moves with you.

e.K. Clothing has dresses, tops and skirts in all of these colors. If your budget is tight go for the separates that you can mix and match with what you currently own to add the new elements into your dance floor look. Be creative – you could add a flower or ornament to your hair in the color that you want. Add jewelry or a scarf to update your old look with the new colors.

Most importantly, know that trends can come and go; they change with the season. If you have basic go-to outfits that you know and love, continue to wear them. If you’re looking for a change, try new colors to update your look.

It’s 2011 – it’s time for a new year and therefore a new you! So whether that means you knock out the trendsetters with your classics and confidence, or you try out an element of the latest fad, or you go all out and buy new pieces to standout as fashion forward – I’ll see you on the dance floor!

The Real Purpose of Legwarmers

Due to their popularity in everything from Flashdance to Dancing With the Stars, legwarmers seem to have become a fashion statement. They come in a variety of colors and can be found in mainstream fashion stores. In the nineties they were in style, worn even with sneakers and jeans. But dancers, who still set trends (mini skirts and tights anyone? That was just a way to transport from class to class in the summer, I say!) each day now, have always used them for a specific purpose.

They are, of course, worn in between classes and at the studio to keep the lower legs warm! Those muscles are smaller, and ligaments around the ankle are especially vulnerable to injury. The calves fatigue quickly the way they are used so much, every second in dancing, to flex the foot and point it. So legwarmers are just mini sweaters for the legs, really. They are “leg – warmers” (haha!).

So, now that it’s winter, and the cold is upon many dancers, it’s important that you make good use of legwarmers. They are actually a training tool. They add an extra layer of warmth and insulation – especially those made of thick and sweater-like material – for dancing calves and feet. They can help keep the legs warm in transport, and help you warm the muscles and ankle joint faster, as you warm up with movement. (Seriously, try jumping up and down for extra body heat, while wearing a sweater and leg warmers, plus a layer or two on the legs. You’ll feel yourself heat right up!)

We sell legwarmers at e.K., in a variety of colors. Our Knit Ribbed legwarmers mimic the material of a sweater, and are quite insulating, along with our Knit warmers. For a bit of a fashion statement, we have Button warmers, with three cute buttons at the bottom. And the Gauze legwarmers have a band at the top, to be worn a bit more tightly on the leg, if you prefer that look and feel. Check out these affordable styles, and keep the warmth where you need it, no matter the weather or location of your dancing feet.

Seasonal Secrets: Getting More Mileage out of Your Dance Clothes

It’s starting to cool off. The longer nights of fall mean longer nights of dancing. We long for a new look for a new season, but don’t store your flouncy summer dresses just yet – here are some ways to turn your summer sizzler into a festive fall outfit.

Even if you’re lucky enough to live in southern California where the change of seasons doesn’t mean freezing temperatures, you still can add variety and a change to your look that says you notice the calendar. You don’t need to invest in a totally new wardrobe if you add a few new touches to your favorite dress or skirt.

Ladies Latin Dance Boots in Black Nubuck (click picture to view product)

Take your mini to new heights by allowing your legs to strut their stuff – modestly covered by tights, hose or leggings. These days there is an array of options —from lace, patterned, colored and detailed tights. Tights or leggings can instantly transition your mini skirt or mini dress hemline into cooler weather by adding a new layer of interest.

Think about your feet. Your feet, hands, and head typically get cold first and if they aren’t protected you will start to feel the chill all over.
Nothing looks worse when it is cold out than to see someone tottering around in skimpy cut out heels that scream Summer. Go
for a closed toe pump, fitted boots with a slight heel —or if you’re adventurous try boots with a high heel and knee or thigh high. Don’t forget your signature flats especially if worn in a darker shade (think green, blue, deep purple or black) in patent leather. I love to wear my tooled leather cowboy boots with a silk dress for contrast.

A scarf can change the look and feel of an outfit. Take a pashmina to wrap around your shoulders and make your halter have a shrug. Or tie a small silk scarf around your neck 50’s style. Will you be dancing at a concert outdoors in the park? Better have a scarf around your neck to keep you insulated.

Felted Wool Military Jacket By Ann Taylor

Consider your location, your dress, and your style when you add a jacket over your dance dress. Personally I prefer a fitted cropped blazer over a form fitting dress whether it is a mini or to the knee. Ann Taylor has a lot of different jacket options like a cashmere cardigan, a sequined bolero or a ponte knit blazer. Maybe you want a military jacket, which has been the look of the fall/winter season, or prefer to have ruffles on your coat. A leather jacket always adds a tough edge to an otherwise prissy dress.

Jewelry tends to be overlooked when you add lots of layers but the right piece can complete your outfit. Replace your lightweight, delicate pieces with chunky, heavier pieces to add some weight to your look. Try a belt with a unique buckle over your slinky dress to totally change its feel.

If you are going to splurge on a dress the color matters. Dark hues don’t always cross over into summer unless you go the elegant black route. Instead try something fun like a metallic or sequin dress – these fabrics work in all seasons and are especially huge right now.

There is something elegant about gloves and dancing (especially for Ballroom dancers). It reminds me of my younger days doing Cotillion and learning to Fox Trot. Yet it can also be practical – besides protecting you from a germy partner gloves can keep your fingers warm and toasty. Try a chunky sparkly bracelet worn over a long fitted glove.

Now you’re ready for a night on the town, followed by some steaming hot chocolate – who says you can’t stay hot when the weather turns cool!

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