Sequins. Tulle. Polyester. Why are dance costumes made out of the itchiest material on the planet? Well, mainly because these materials are cost-effective ways to make dancers shine, show off, and sparkle onstage. The French (via Italy) have not only given us the beautiful art of ballet, but also the old adage: “Beauty is Pain.”
While this is a saying I don’t necessarily want to instill in my impressionable daughter, it is rooted in some truth. Comfortably expressing your style and personality is the norm nowadays, but certain situations do still traditionally call for a certain level of discomfort. Dance recitals and competitions are one of those scenarios!
So — what can you do about those itchy costumes?
First, of all, locate the source of the itch. Many girls complain about sequins rubbing and digging into their delicate underarm skin. One trick is to adjust the straps of the costume to bring it up high under their arms.
Secondly, I HIGHLY recommend purchasing this undergarment, which was recommended to me by some expert dance moms. This leotard is inexpensive — always a bonus! — but more importantly, it’s made from a great stretchy, silky, and soft material that provides an excellent barrier between sensitive skin and an itchy costume. It’s also adjustable, so it can be worn under any costume, no matter what the sleeve situation is like.
This undergarment also doubles as underwear, if your daughter is more comfortable going without. I have my daughter wear this undergarment first, then I put her tights on. When she does wear underwear, this undergarment (in addition to the tights) does a great job of preventing the dreaded ‘underwear bunch’, thereby making it so comfortable. The only downside is it makes trips to the bathroom more difficult — but see my blog post on potty breaks to get some tips on when to go!
Finally, when a costume is sleeveless but adorned with sequins on the bodice or skirt, I give my daughter a cardigan sweater to wear over it. This prevents her forearms from getting irritated by the outside of the costume, which just otherwise can’t be adjusted.
All in all, make the most of an itchy costume and keep on reminding your little dancer that it’s only temporary; at most, she’ll be in the costume for an hour or so before diving back into her comfy warm-up clothes or pjs!