Imagine... a gown/costume that not only feels amazingly comfortable, but also emphasizes your best features. Imagine the self confidence and power it gives you on the dance floor. Imagine... you showcase the amazing dancer that is you.
Creating a ballroom or latin gown/costume is an amazing and exciting process, whether you are a lead or follow, lady or gentleman. Here are a few truths that will help you build realistic expectations regarding the path forward. Have fun!

• A well thought out dress will give you confidence if you feel great in it. That plays a definite role in boosting your stamina on the floor. 
• Envision a gown that works for you, your personality and your values. Be above the influence. Don't plan on wearing a 2 piece dress if you don't feel comfortable in a 2 piece swim suit. Be inspired by what you see on the floor but you don't have to follow the trends.
• Your dress is a piece of sports equipment. It is built for performance. It should provide you support and coverage whatever movement you do on the floor and be as breathable as possible.
• I want to know your likes and dislikes. You know what works for you. Trust your feelings and instincts. I will have my opinions and will share them with you.
• The creation process is not linear. The route will involve many changes in direction and decisions to be made. We will go through ideas, keep some, throw away others... Remember the end goal.
 

Some design basics to keep in mind:
• The ULTIMATE gown that carries all the bells and whistles on earth may not be the best creation. There will be many more opportunities to create new dresses. Balance is our key word.

Weight: a heavy dress can impact your physical energy and performance. Keep your energy for the dancing, not to carry the weight of the dress around the floor.
Proportions: Your gown needs to fit YOU and no one else. We will look at your body proportions and make sure it fits perfectly.
Your best features: Celebrate what you like about you: your arms, your butt, your legs, knees, hips, waist, shoulder, face, neck, chest... Any part of your body can be celebrated!d
Simplicity: The more is the enemy of the best. The dress is here to enhance the body movements, not to hide them... In doubt, keep it simple.
Trends: be careful about trends. Some don't last. Look at your dress as a timeless classic.
• Use volume to your advantage. In standard/smooth, taking space on the floor will help you create room for you on the dance floor.


Before you start
Do some research - bring as much of these answers with you:
Search the web: Look at competition dresses. See what you like about the pictures your see.
• Try to find out what you like about your body as well as what would you prefer to conceal.
• What colors do you like to wear
Check your wardrobe and pick a few items that you feel would enhance your skin tone on the dance floor.

 

Our first meeting
Now comes the time of your first discussion with me. Remember that this is a process. Working on the dress should be as much fun as it is to wear it. What will help us is the below:
• Bring several pieces of clothing that compliment you. And pictures of you in them
• Bring some pictures of what you might have seen on the web or email them to me: norbertteston@me.com
• Think of questions you want to ask
• Define a budget you would like to adhere to. Everything has a cost, and there are ways to prioritize within a defined budget. I will provide you with a ballpark figure and explain to you what drives the cost.  We will have check points to ensure we are on target as well.

Don't know where to start? easy: we can pick a simple design and have it perfectly fitted to you. A simple cut is classic and will withstand the test of time. Fabric and stones can make it look amazing. Time and experience will teach you what you like. I would be honored to be your guide.

 

Fabric:
• Every fabric can be used for a costume HOWEVER every fabric will have limitations in terms of where it should be placed and how much of it should be used. There are very simple reasons for it and I will explain to you my perspective.
• Combination of fabrics, colors, textures and contrasts create interests. Not quantity.
• Think of balance and harmony when choosing fabrics and color. Every fabric and color will make you feel different. Select the one that will help you create the look you want to have on the dance floor.
• Already have a fabric in mind? Great: buy or ask for a sample of it and ask the store whether they keep it on stock. If they don't, show it to me quickly before you buy it... Depending on the design we will need more or less of it and I can guide you.

• We can meet also at the fabric store. It's the easiest way to find great fabric that works.


Time for first fitting:
I will have cut and assembled the main parts of your dress but also left the detailed work open. At this point, the dress will be fitted on you and we will adjust length, lines, proportions, etc. a lot can be done and this will give you a good idea what we are aiming for.
• Ask questions! This is the best time to give feedback on the progress. I want to know and I want to make sure you like it.
• You don't like it: okay great! Let's figure out what we need to change. And if we need to start from scratch again, so be it. You will not offend me by saying you don't like it, I promise :)


Preconceived ideas to eliminate:
• Snug is not necessarily sexy... Balancing your body proportions and showing flattering curves is what will make you look amazing. Plus, you will need to breathe.
• Showing more skin is not necessarily sexy. The goal is to trick the eye and create nice body lines by accentuating your natural curves.

After the competition
• Care for the dress: remember the effort we have put into it and that it is a technical piece of equipment. Ask your dry cleaner how to best keep it in shape. I will help you out as well.
• If you are not planning to collect dresses, then set it free: sell it, donate it to a studio (maybe in exchange for classes?), to young competitors starting in the competition world. Make the designer known and move on to the next dress: this one will be 10 times better and symbolize your next level of dancing.


Now what?
Well, you made it through step 1, reading these introductions. Sleep on it, think about it, do some research, contact me. Whenever you feel ready to start, let me know and we can get going! I do not charge for questions or for the first interview. Design and fabric research will be included in the final cost but only charged if the gown is ordered.


And of course, don't ever hesitate to ask me questions, anytime, really: norbertteston@me.com


This is going to be fun!

getting started

and consultation tips

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