1 skirt – 4 simple looks

When you start out belly dancing most people acquire at least one or two items of costuming. Sometimes it was what was cheap and available at the time and other times it is an item that your teacher made you buy for a group performance.

Silver and teal belly dance costume

Check out the shadow!! I look so tiny!

So how do you get the most mileage out of what you already own?

How do you personalise a look for class or performances for your family?

Using one skirt, a teal petal skirt (the one I made all members of my Dorrigo Adults Class buy!!) as the base for all of them, I have come up with 4 simple and affordable looks. These are suitable for beginner performances and class wear. I didn’t go the whole way with accessories, hair styles and make-up as one should when performing but just threw together some things I had to give ideas.

Look one – I call this the Turkish waterfall look. Why? The beaded bra reminds me of a Turkish look and the silver the frothiness of water!

To get the look

Add one cheap, silver beaded bra top bought of eBay years ago for approx $20 AUD and one silver coin belt. This one I bought in Cairo but you can buy a silver belt from one of several online stores or eBay if you can’t make it to Egypt! (See gifts page for links to some sellers)

Blue tribal bra and lapis necklace

Collect pretty things and sew them on for an affordable look!

Look twoTribal flavour. Earthy it up with a tribal style bra and belt.

To get the look

I made a tribal look bra by getting as old bra that had solid cups and sewing on bits and pieces. I made this for under $15. It has a bit of an old embroidered bag, a curtain tie a broken earring, etc. I have written posts on inspiration for bras and what you need. For the belt you can either purchase one ready to go like the one I am wearing in the picture or create one yourself like the bra. A bra is quick and easy though so start there if you are unfamiliar with sewing and craft.

In blue - a nod to tribal aesthetics

Go for layers with harem pants and fringe belts

I tucked the petals of the skirt over the top of the waist band for a plainer line, shifted it around 90degrees and tucked a bit into the waist band to show off the harem pants.The harem pants cost me $7. The necklace is Afghani lapis and another eBay bargain but I have another similar one I bought off a market stand for $25 so keep your eyes peeled for a bargain.

Look 3 – Indian Inspiration

To get the look

Green and teal bellydance costume

You can cover up a bit with a sleeved top like this.

I bought this embroidered wrap around top for $6 in a bargain bin at the front of an Indian market stand years ago. The belt cost approx $20

Look 4 – Colour Carnival

To get the look

Another look to consider if you don’t feel comfortable in public in a bra – I bought the purple top from a friend closing down her business (Haven we will miss you!) $6. I teamed it with a simple belt another eBay special $25 and the expensive bit is the fancy vest from another costume set. Vests can be purchased individually from anywhere from $15 -$80. Or you can make one out of fancy fabric and save cash. I am also wearing a lapis necklace, I have several of these available for $8 each if you want one email me jadebellydance@hotmail.com

Teal and purple beginners belly dance costume

Bright colours work well for performance. Be Bold!

Don’t want to show your tummy? Add a tight black singlet or better, buy a dance body stocking.

While this post was related to simple looks for beginners, the same principal applies to advanced dancers. Get out some of your fancy costumes and see if you can come up with a new look using different elements. You may have bought them as matching sets but sometimes you can get away with a bit of mix and match. I recently wore a beaded bra and belt from one set and substituted a full embroidered circle skirt with it. The colour match wasn’t quite perfect but it matched better with what my students were wearing and looked even fancier than the original look. The full skirt gave me better room for motion than the original skirt – I found it a pleasant change overall.

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Hope that got some ideas flowing. What are your thoughts?

Have you had any mix and match triumphs? Comment below.

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