You need clothes
Everyone needs to wear something on the dance floor. And in competition what you wear and how you look matters. In today’s market there are many options. Just be careful, try it on before hand if possible, and be prepared for what you may find. Have fun shopping.
Santos Designs Inc. This site appears to have custom ladies gowns for both American and International, and they have men’s clothes too.
Designs by Lyn has gowns and dresses. I got a chance to take a look at some of her outfits at a competition I went to. Nice stuff.
Chrisanne is in England but has beautiful gowns. This is a great site to look at if you are looking for dress ideas. They do make custom gowns. The US website has some ready to wear gowns (worth taking a look at). If you need fabric, stones, etc. for making a gown Chrisanne sells some of these items.
Designs by Randall make custom gowns (I’ve tried them on and they’re wonderful) and some ready to wear skirts, tops, and dresses. Take a look at their ready to wear collections. Also, these are the people who do gowns for Dancing with the Stars.
Designs to Shine has gowns by Maria McGill and Summer Gray. Confession – since I plan to compete in the coming months I purchased a gown from Designs to Shine. It was more than I had thought it would be, but its been over a decade since I’ve bought a gown. Expensive – yes, but I think worth it.
Deirdre of London
Dore Designs has gowns I’ve never had the chance to see these.
Farida Wong has more dresses, and I’ve never been here.
Designs by Paula has more dresses, and I’ve never been here.
DSI London is, as you may guess, based in London, UK. This is not a local place unless London is local to you. But they have gowns, men’s wear, children’s clothes, fabrics, rhinestones, shoes, accessories, etc.
Shall We Dance Designs has gowns for sale. These vary in price, some being more simple and inexpensive, to some more elaborate and costing a little bit more, but not terribly expensive. I can’t tell if they are new or used, but they have some interesting gowns. Again, I have never bought from them so I don’t know the quality of their gowns. But they also sell shoes, women’s gowns, men’s outfits, and a few items for girls. If you live in the area, they appear to have an office in NJ. They have a link for renting gowns, but I can’t tell which gowns are for rent.
Jeravae has some lovely gowns. I was able to see them at my competition in Oct 2016. I’m actually talking with them about getting a dress made. The woman there was helpful, had some great ideas, and was very willing to work within my budget. We’ll see how the dress does. Since I don’t have another competition at this time, I told her I’m in no hurry to receive the dress. So it may be a while (a few months) before I hear more about the dress. One other thing, she was able to take my measurement and give me some ideas about a gown design within a couple of hours. I’m excited to work with her. And she’s out of Nevada. One other note, she did have some consignment gowns available at the competition to purchase or try on.
If you are in need of an outfit for a competition and you would consider a used one, take a look at Ballroomdancers.com.
I’ve even seen ballgowns for sale on eBay Auctions. Just a note about the eBay auctions – there are some “eBay Stores” out of Hong Kong and China that are selling ballroom and latin outfits. I did a search on Ballroom dress and some results were obviously not gowns for ballroom dancing – they were prom and “cruise” dresses. But some were gently used ballroom gowns for competition. And there were new gowns for sale. The styles ranged from hideous to not bad to a few stunning gowns. You do need to check the size measurements for these dresses as they vary widely. But take a look at some of these dresses, many have pictures. It may be a good way to get started with a competition outfit. And of course the items for sale change constantly so you do need to keep a watch on items. And of course check the prices. The price range I saw was from about $50 for a latin outfit to gowns for $2,500. Also be aware that what you see may be the original gown but that’s not what they are selling. They make be selling their own version of it. It is very much buyer beware.
Rhinestone Dress Rentals is a site that rents gowns. If you need something, maybe just starting out, this might be an option. Also, this place is in Florida.
Ballroom Costumes – This site has new and previously owned latin dresses. Their prices look reasonable. I haven’t had to chance to check them out but they’ve got some interesting stuff.
DreamGown has used gowns for standard and latin. This place does not appear to be in the USA as their prices are in Euros. But they still might be work checking out.
The Final Touch has used gowns for rent and some for sale. If you live close to them, they have an office in Issaquah, WA (near Seattle area).
Glamour Room is a site based in Canada. They have used gowns for sale, but also have new gowns. I am currently eyeing a couple of their gowns and have emailed them for more information. Since I am in the USA and they are in Canada I definitely need more information before purchasing a gown from them. But having said that, they do have some nice looking gowns. Also they carry both men’s and women’s outfits, and also have some children’s outfits. Some of their dresses appear to be rentable, which could make them another good option for those looking at trying something new.
Vanda Dance rents gowns, accessories like jewelry and hair items, sells gowns and also shoes. Many of the gowns I saw listed appear to be very nice looking, and well known designer dance gowns. They do allow you to sort by size, type, color, and designer. That makes it easier to find what you are looking for. It appears this store is in Southern California for anyone looking at their outfits.
Making your own gown
I attempted to make a latin outfit for a competition. After doing it, I now really understand what it takes and why they cost what they do. If I were to do it today, I would check out the YouTube videos detailing this information.
Ballroom Dance Fashions has some online video and sells videos with information about making your own gown. If you are interesed in this exercise, take a look at this information.
Denver Fabrics carries fabric for fashion, dancewear, costumes, rug hooking, crafts and home decor. They carry many silk, wool, and linen designer fabrics. Prices often at or below wholesale fabric pricing. Also sewing notions, trims, books and patterns at discount. I’ve never used them so I don’t know if the prices really are that good, or what their products are like.
I found these sites surfing the web. I’ve only bought from a couple so I make no guarantee.