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Irish Dance Dresses: What’s In Style vs. Your Style


Ally Giannini is an Open Champion dancer for the Lenihan School of Irish Dance as well as a student at Fairfield University. She loves keeping updated on all things Irish Dance. For more from Ally, follow her on twitter @ally_geeniee019.

The styles of Irish Dance dresses have changed dramatically since I started dancing about 15 years ago. I remember how big of a deal it was to have a shaped hemline or sequins on your dress. Now sequins and crystals are a norm and it seems like the dancers with the latest styles get the most attention. In spite of current challenging financial times, the price of a new dress is still rising. It can be nerve-wracking trying to decide what to get because what you decide on could be out by the time your dress comes in! So what can you do?

Irish Dance Fashion is like regular fashion. There are short-lived fads and classic staples. Celtic knot work will never go out of style but feathers only lasted a few months. When deciding to purchase a new dress I think that it is best to combine what’s in style with your own personal style. As a competitive dancer, it is important to look current and put-together. This does not mean that you have to dump thousands and thousands of dollars on a dress every six months but rather choose something that is modern looking that will have lasting style when you do purchase a dress. In addition neat hair, polished shoes and complimentary makeup go a long way.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Never pick a color that you don’t like/doesn’t look good on you
  • Check galleries from recent competitions to see what the big trends are
  • Know your dancing style and what look compliments it
  • Think about the weight and comfort level of the dress
  • Make sure the colors you choose have stage presence
  • There is no such thing as too much sparkle!

The most important thing is that you love your dress. I remember reading many debates on message boards about what dancers of a certain age should and shouldn’t wear. Your dress reflects you and if you love hot pink by all means wear hot pink. And remember that confidence is always the best accessory. In the words of famous fashion guru Tim Gunn, “Make it Work.”


Photo credit: Image is courtesy of and belongs to author.

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