It seems there’s been an increasing awareness of the connection between dressing and dancing, at least in the lindy hop community. (Balboa dancers are nearly ALWAYS well turned out). I think dancers have always seen the connection, but it’s gotten to such a high level.
The easiest way to see this increasing awareness is to look at dancers. Vintage dance troupe, The Killer Dillers, are always looking dapper. By the way, have you seen the Killer Diller fellas do their “Tribute to the Legendary Berry Brothers” routine? It’s acrobatic, wild and to top it all is performed in tails. They’re not only some of the most talented, in demand group of instructors in the world; they’ve also got great style. (and uh, have you SEEN Sharon, Jo and Evita? Um, yeah).
Photos are from the Killer Dillers Flickr photostream
I’ve had the pleasure of taking different workshops taught by all the members of The Killer Dillers. Sharon and Evita (with Nathan) at Southern Belle Swing Bash 2009. Sharon, Juan, Kevin and Jo all taught at Lindy Focus 8. Awe-inspiring, the lot of them.
It’s not just the rockstars, either. I see great style from dancers at every event I attend (and I try my hand at snazzy dressing whenever I get the chance).
So, what’s the connection between dancing and dressing? Besides the letter “D?”
Swing dance is very visual, both when performed as entertainment and when danced socially. Dancers performing or in competitions dress up to draw attention to themselves and to highlight their dancing. Social dancers dress up for similar reasons.
As fans of a dance that was born in the past, it’s only natural that we might be attracted to other aesthetic and artistic forms born in the same era. We usually go crazy for bands that can bring back the sounds of the time. It’s just as fascinating and just as immersive to wear the styles of that time.
This is not to say that you have to wear vintage clothing. The goal, whether wearing vintage or something more modern, is to wear clothing that is flattering: clothes that fit, complement your color and fit your style.
Besides, dance is a celebration; a party. Shouldn’t you dress up for a party?
More importantly (and this is something that goes beyond dance), clothing is a way we represent ourselves to others. What you wear sends a message to those around you. It is not the only message you send (nor should it be), but it is one (and often the first) that many notice. You are solely responsible for that message, so it is worth your attention.
So, get out there and put a little effort into your look. It will pay off.
If you’re going to be dancing, you might as well look good doing it.
For swing and vintage inspirations, look to Swing Fashionista, founded by the beautiful and stylish Sharon Davis. There’s also (ok, shameless plug time) Lindy Shopper, which attempts to answer the perennial question “What should I wear to the dance tonight?” scouring the internet for beautiful clothes and fantastic deals.