May 27, 2013

Just how short IS short?

Dresses that is.


Here are some issues I encounter among adult skaters:

Undergarments
It's amazing how often I talk about underwear on this blog.

Really make sure you can't see through that white dress. A quality skating dress, in any color, will have an understructure made from a sturdy illusion, with the "fashion" dress constructed over it.  If you have a white or light colored dress that you really must wear, but it's see-through, you can have a seamstress add such an under layer (it's complicated but not hard), or get a flesh-colored (whatever color your flesh is) leotard to wear under it. Make sure that the leg openings and the straps of the undergarment are undetectable.

Too short?
Entirely your comfort level. Personally, I think skating dresses on anyone should cover their buttocks; with adults I'd add the word "dignity."  My preference  is no shorter than just above mid-thigh in front, and at or below mid-thigh in back.

Too long?
For adults, knee-length is not too long, but if you go with a dress this long, make sure the skirt is made of a very light weight fabric like chiffon so that it moves. Adults sometimes skate very slowly. A heavy skirt is just going to sit there, exaggerating the effect. Don't make it longer than knee length in the back, as this can risk catching the blade.

Pants!
Yes please. Pants are very classy on adults, with a light loose shirt that moves when you skate (see above). The shirt can be shorter than your butt cheeks.  Make sure the pants are narrow and LONG-- they should hit the floor at your heel when worn barefoot. Make them black. Colored or jeweled stripes down the side seam, or appliqu├ęs at the ankle are very nice. Don't wear those Chloe Noell pants with the spiral stripe that all the girls wear.

No real reason, I'm just sick of them.

Sparkles
I live for sparkles. And you really do need some jewels even for testing. Again, it helps with the illusion of movement, and sometimes with adults movement is all about illusion, because we don't move all that fast.  However, you don't want to be weighted down like the Virgin Queen.

Gloves
Are you on the Russian World Team? If not, please do not wear gloves for testing or performing. It looks silly. (It looks silly on the Russian World Team, too, but they all do it.)

Boot covers and over-the-boot tights
Boot covers only with pants, and then only in the same color as the pants. Please do not ever wear over-the-boot tights for testing or competition. They do NOT "make your legs look longer." If you're wearing them to disguise your beat up skates, here's a news flash-- you can polish skates with shoe polish.

Modesty
For adults-no backless, no plunging necklines and definitely no cleavage. Anyone with a bounce, if you know what I mean, should look for good supporting undergarments (ones with real support, not those stupid "sports bras" that just mash you flat without really dealing with the bounce problem). Judges really hate bouncing boobs. Remember the word "dignity."

What are your favorite do's and don'ts for adult skating garments?

30 comments:

  1. I'm totally on board with your suggestions for adult costuming except for the over boot tights....seriously up where I am nobody has an issue with these. I also would like to claim an exemption and be allowed to wear them since I am far, far too lazy to polish my skates.

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  2. I don't see the problem with over the boot tights - could somebody explain why they're so offensive to some? I think skaters look good with footed tights, and I think they also look fine with over the boot. I've worn both. I once heard the comment that over the boot was better because it looked like ladies were wearing elegant dresses with sneakers otherwise, and I kind of understood that point (even though I don't mind it).

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    1. I like OTB tights. They look much better than footless which really cut off the leg line and make me look like my legs are 3 inches long. I can't skate with tights or socks in my boots.

      My skates are nice and clean, by the way.

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    2. I think they make you look like you're skating on giant blocks of wood. They are also bumpy, and sometimes come undone, so they flap. They are also dangerous-- it's easy to catch the heel of your blade in the loose fabric, especially if you have small feet like mine-- they never stretch properly.

      If you must wear them DO NOT PULL THE BACK UNDER THE HEEL. They are meant to be worn with the back reaching the top of the heel block.

      /rant :)

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  3. The only thing I would add is that if you're going to wear pants instead of a dress for testing, etc., treat yourself to something new so you look polished and professional. Don't wear the ones you train in with the holes around the ankles from your toe picks :P I always wear pants and an athletic top but I always make sure they're both at least new looking. (The same 'nice' rules would apply to dresses but these are usually better cared for.) Oh, and no tights with holes! AHH!! I saw this the other day and cringed.

    I'm glad to see a post like this because adults usually have no clue what to do about testing (and I speak from experience!). My coach took me aside and explained to me that I needed to pull my hair back, use some heavy duty hair spray (I have really long hair) just like the kids do, and to wear something nice. She actually made me do a test run to make sure I looked okay and to also make sure I would be comfortable in what I chose. We didn't do the sparkly hair spray or sequins or anything, but the message was that I should look just as put together as the skating mum's make their kids look. But I've seen other adults who obviously haven't gotten this advice and it shows. So this post is gold for the inevitable google searches that us adults do before test day :P

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    1. which reminds me that I need to go in and add all the tags so people can search it!

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  4. over the boot tights are all you see on the west coast for testing and competitions alike.

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    1. On the east coast too. Heated debates that OTB avoids skate tape so your laces do not come undone. I am not convinced. It DOES look like the skaters are on blocks of wood!

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    2. I pretty much hate the OTB tights as well - they make your feet look blocky, they do NOT make your legs look longer - they make them look stubby - also the word "hooves" has been used - as though you had a blade attached to the bottom of your bare foot.

      Get the picture? Clean white boots with footed tights OR extra-long footed tights that come down into the boot. That is what I would prefer also.

      Completely agree with skirt length and pants suggestions.

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  5. I believe that if you're a woman 'of size' you should wear something more booty short cut under your skirt, rather than leotard leg opening. I know leotards give a better 'line', but us 'of size' women just need to cover the booty up more as a service to humanity. There is no 'ine' when you're more than 20 lb over weight.

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  6. So what about the men/boys. I have a fear of Spandex for my son...

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    1. Little boys look fine in spandex. Make sure he's wearing close fitting underwear to contain his, um ah, dangly bits! I'll also relax my no street pants for practice for boys, as long as they are neat, have some spandex for stretch and are body skimming (so you don't catch skates in the fabric, and so the coach can see the skater's body line.) For performance check out Seku skatewear, which has well-constructed pants for boys and men.

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    2. YOW! $160 for pants at Seku. I love my son but he is only 11 and I will stick with the $40 Mondor boy's pants for now. He has worn the same pants for 2 years at every competition and show and they look good as new. Eventually he is going to grow out of them...but $160! I know. I know. - girls costumes are really pricey and I am lucky but YOW!

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    3. Mondor makes basically ONE kind of skating pant that a lot of guys use. They are much cheaper than Seku.

      It's a lot simpler to be a guy :-).

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    4. Agreed. We were able to save tons of money at the last community ice show because even with three costume changes, he kept on his black Mondor pants. We're going wild for ISI worlds and forking over $25 for a metallic red shirt to go with his black Mondor pants.

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  7. I'm not a fan of OTB tights either - on anyone. They look all bumpy and sloppy. I love the classic look of white figure skates.

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  8. My coach recommended a leotard + chiffon wrap skirt for me for testing -- which was an excellent solution, since I am long-waisted and cannot seem to buy any off-the-rack dress that will fit. I think this is a great tip for adults who may be much taller than the typical skater. There is some leeway, but it is far easier to find a long-torso leotard than a long-torso skating dress. (Tip: don't believe the people who tell you that the XL skating dress "will just stretch to accommodate the length." If you really need it 3" longer than the listed girth measurement maximum, it will simply cut into your shoulders and rear end (like a too-short bathing suit) while simultaneously being too wide in the shoulders and potentially saggy in the bosom.)

    Since I'm nowhere near ready to think about competing yet, I have no need for a custom dress, so this was a much more economical, and nice looking, solution. She also said she likes black tights on adults, assuming the leo and skirt are both black. That's what I did, and it was a very tidy look.

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    1. Another nice tights tip is regular skating tights with fishnets over them. Even from a fairly short distance you can't see that their net; they just give your legs a nice definition.

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  9. "Personally, I think skating dresses on anyone should cover their buttocks; with adults I'd add the word 'dignity.'"

    BAH-HAH-HAH! Perfect! That's a good general rule for me in every day life.

    My daughter and I read a competition commentary online, and someone wrote, "Gloves draw attention to meaningless hand movements." We now crack up remembering that every time we see someone competing with gloves. It's kind of true: if you're going to wear gloves, make sure they are doing something interesting.

    I do know some skaters who seem to slice their fingers to bits every time they grab their blades for catch foot/Biellmann. Some wear flesh-colored gloves for that.

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  10. Hmmm, I'm not *totally* against full-length gloves... they have a specific "place" in a presentation, for certain styles (my post about it is here.)

    And yep, I concur with a previous post -- L.A. skaters are mostly OTB. Although I've seen some interesting gold (anodized?) blades where the skater naturally shows nicely polished (or even tastefully sequined!) boots.

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  11. I wear OTB tights to test (and a classic, black, long-sleeved dress with a crystal neckline) because I have pink skates. I think they are amazing, but judges may not (;

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  12. Yeah - a shout out for fishnets! I think they're great and make for an easy OTB solution to disguise the most beat up of skates. They also have a magical effect of blending your tan boots to your not-so-tan or overly-tan legs. (Doesn't work on white or black boots, naturally.)

    Plus a fresh pack of fishnets tightens your legs (I swear) and who wouldn't want that extra edge on test day?

    The best part is you can cut the bottoms out - leave the outermost edge of the net - and use large bobby pins directly under the boot. No sewing necessary. (Although taking the time to sew in three rows of velcro is best in the long run.) If done right, the whole skate is covered, blending the leg and skate much better than those opaque tights.

    Danskins even has them in two flesh-toned colors now. Do you think the judges could handle fishnets?

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  13. Replies
    1. LOL! (also, if there really is a rebuttal, and DAMN why didn't I think of that as a title for this post, please post the link!)

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    2. Rebuttal: http://whymelidwina.blogspot.com/2013/06/what-to-wear-rebuttal.html

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  14. I think a skirt reaching the knees is WAY too long on most skaters, especially those who are jumping more than at a Prebronze level. It tends to get tangled up in the legs, especially if the skater is not, uh, speedy, shall we say.

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  15. I think the OTB fashion will fade away - most of the elite skaters don't use them any more.
    Would you please give example of a supporting and non bouncing bra? They are very hard to find.

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    1. The company Pink has an excellent underwire sport bra that supports rather than mushing. In general, that's what you're looking for-- not restriction, but shape.

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