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Tango Fashion Basics: Defining Your Tango Style

Consider your tango style for just a moment and think of one word that defines it. If you are still pondering then this post is for you. Defining your dance style is something that doesn’t come easy to many dancers because some are still developing their technique. The same thing happens when we define our style of fashion on the dance floor. As we navigate thru our tango journey, we start making sense out of certain movements and how to accomplish them successfully. The most common malfunctions happen when you combine street wear on the dance floor or wear garments that restrict you from comfortably accomplishing your moves. How we develop our sense of fashion on the dance floor depends on your:

  • Personal awareness
  • Sense of style
  • Level of dance expertise

Ultimately, how you feel inside will reflect on the dance floor! Whatever mood you aim to create, keep in mind these uncomplicated design rules when shopping for tango apparel:

1. THE SIDE SLIT

Choose a skirt/dress with a slit on the right side of the leg if you want to emphasize Ganchos, Boleos and any other Adorno. The right side is also the side that is shown to the audience. How high of a side slit is entirely up to you. I love to use 7-10” for Salon and 10-16” for Performance. Side slits look great on Pencil, Circle, Midis and even A-line skirts and dresses.

2. THE BACK SLIT

Back slits provide perfect leg extensions. Be sure to have a back slit no higher than 10” to avoid any ride ups!

3. LENGTH

The traditional hem length on a tango dress/skirt is below the knee but there is no rule for how long your garment should be. Petite women like above the knee while young dancers can pull off the mini. Longer lengths can catch in your heels so be sure to keep your toe pointing down when performing embellishments.

4. BACK DETAIL

Show off you back with interesting Cutouts, Low backs, Halters and Ruching. Your back is your presentation card, so be sure to have great posture to maximize your style.

5. PANTS

Traditional Babucha pants (balloon leg pants) have evolved thru tango times to slimmer leg styles but dancers still opt to keep side slits for Milongas. Inseams need hit at your ankle and be preferably tied, gathered or cuffed to avoid any heels catching or hems dragging.

The fun part about shopping for tango apparel is that you can pretty much create your style based on these basic design elements. There are no fashion rules to mix and matching colors and fabrics so be creative and stay true to your own sense of taste!

What is your tango style?

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