Last night’s dance class in the hot, hot studio has me concluding one thing: it’s time to get new dance clothes. The longish yoga pants I wear are no longer working, at least in this weather. We had air conditioning, somewhat, yesterday, but it was only running about an hour prior to dance class beginning. The studio was barely tolerable, which made me realize I should probably get some dance shorts. I have considered a dance/workout wardrobe for 4 seasons before, but the weather has simply been too intolerable in Boston lately.

Bharatanatyam, however, I’m unfortunately going to have literally sweat that one out. We’re expected to wear the tunics and proper pants (not shorts; a girl was scolded once for wearing shorts), despite the heat. Our teacher tries to take it easier on us when it’s hot, but on hot days, I leave class dripping with sweat and I don’t normally sweat that much.

Despite the summer’s unusual (this, as far as I understand, is highly unusual for Boston) heat, I’ve still been trying to fit in practicing and keeping up with my normal dance stuff. However, without air conditioning (thank goodness for living garden level!), it makes things a bit more difficult. Lethargy has set in in my apartment, from me to the cats. If anyone has any good tips to keep up the work ethic in this heat, I’d be game to hear them.

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I’ve been meaning to review these for awhile. I had gone on a revamping of my workout wear a bit ago; everything is rather worn out, and I figure if I get 5 years wear out of some $16 yoga pants, I think I can afford to get a new pair or two. After searching high and low for cool looking yoga pants and other types of pants, I couldn’t find anything, so I settled for basic pants. I searched high and low for good basic black pants and I stumbled upon the Global Girlfriend yoga pants.

The Global Girlfriend pants I bought off the Hunger Site. Global Girlfriend is an organization that deals with fair trade goods; the working people get paid and are treated decently. If you have never heard of The Hunger Site or its affiliated sites (causes include literacy, breast cancer, animal welfare, and the rain forest), it’s the easiest way to donate money. All you do is click once a day on a button and according to all the literature I read on it (I was very skeptical), it is legitimate. The Hunger Site and its affiliates have really good wares, at a very reasonable prices; I usually use them for gifts when I can’t figure out what to get a person.

The pants are as good as any other pair I’ve owned. They’re a little higher waisted than I like (I’m also very short, so it may not be an issue for you), but I think they’ll shrink in the wash. They’re comfortable. What more could you ask for in a pair of pants?

And even though they’re called Global Girlfriend, my SO (male) can almost fit my pair and wants to buy a pair for himself.

I got them yesterday, after a very look week. I was so excited to get them, because I had wanted a pair for a long time. $60 is a steal.

meloWhen I got home, I tried them on. They fit beautifully except for the upper hip/top of the pant area. I anticipated having to do some playing with the hem (someone online has shown that you can drawstring inside the legs to shorten them a little), but I never expected them to be way too big at the top. I know I’m small, but I didn’t expect them to be that big for a size small, when I don’t think there is anything smaller, like XS.

In short, as much as I love the look, I’m not going to deconstruct and reconstruct them to fit me. I’m currently trying to resell them, since I certainly can’t wear them.

Melodia Designs is having a red pants sale. All the red pants are on sale for $60, instead of the normal $80. Get ’em while they’re hot! Because of the Dina workshop cancellation, I was able to afford a pair for myself.

After reading Valeria’s top 10 popular clothes items for Middle Eastern dance, I felt inspired to write my own, using a different slant. My list is my top 10 must have items. Slightly different but hopefully informative and fun. I chose to make a slightly different list, because Valeria already covered popular items and I think it’s easy to get swept up in clothes side. This list particularly aimed at people who are just beginning or those who don’t have so much money. I don’t own all of these (yet), but the combination of my own experience and observing troupes has made me think these are the essentials.

  1. Hip scarf. A hipscarf is not only a good way to feel like you’re a dancer but is also practical. They can really help you (and your teacher) see the movement. If they’re of the noisy variety (coins, for instance), they can let you know quickly you’re moving your hips. This can be particularly useful if you’re not supposed to be moving them, ie. you hear the coins jingling when you’re doing a chest movement.
  2. Fitted workout pants. I’m a fan of yoga pants, but whatever pants you wear, they should be fitted enough that your teacher can see your movements. I have several pair from places like Target that have lasted about 5 years for me with constant wearing.
  3. Well-fitting top. If you’re moving, particularly if you’re a female, you want to stay covered and comfy. Some classes may involve small hops or jumps where your chest area may need more support than your average bra.
  4. Tie crop top. These are good classes as a quick way to show your midriff, but I’ve had these used for a few class performances. They come in many styles, from sleeves to long flowy sleeves and prints or plain. They can be found numerous places for different prices. Sharifwear is a place many people look. Melodia Designs also carries them, and a quick search on Ebay will also yield other suppliers.
  5. Costume cover. When you perform, covering yourself is important, even for a recital-style performance. You don’t want the audience to see your costume before you perform. Some ideas for costume covers are saris and caftans.
  6. One great bra and belt set. Owning what’s referred to as a “workhorse” is one of the smartest investments a new performer can make. Costuming can be very expensive, but a solid bra and belt set can help defray the cost. Mixing and matching with skirts, pants, tops, etc. allows for the bra and belt to look like a different costume. If you are of the tribal inclination, a good coin bra and some kind of belt will work well. I made a coin bra once, and it was relatively easy.  If you’re more Oriental style, a gold or silver bra and belt set can be transformed with cheaper accessories to look like a completely new costume; I’ve seen people accessories so cleverly that I had trouble telling that they were using the same set. The most popular recommendation is a Great Loop bra.
  7. Black jazz pants. I have had these called upon from time to time for recitals when we had to quickly come up with costume pieces and no one had much money to spend. I don’t think they’re a bad item to use, especially if you are more tribal.
  8. Skirt and matching accessory. To really work your one great bra and belt set, a good skirt in a flattering cut is the way to go. Matching it with an accessory, like gloves or a vest, creates a complete outfit. L.Rose Designs is the most popular place to go for a skirt and accessory set.
  9. Good underwear. Good underwear is supportive and doesn’t show through your costume (lines) or show too much of you. One of the biggest performance tips I had drilled into me was to make sure the audience does not see more of you than you want.
  10. Jewelry. Jewelry really completes a look, even if it isn’t a lot. It can be used for many costumes.

What would your 10 must have items be?

I decided to try a pair of L.Rose Design pants. If you haven’t heard of them, they make high quality custom dance wear that is affordable. It’s not going to be fancy, highly beaded stuff, but people claim it lasts them years with heavy usage. Also, Shoshanna of California’s mother runs it, and from what I can, Shoshanna herself is heavily involved. What’s really cool about their stuff is it’s the equivalent of owning good basics in your normal wardrobe. You can dress them up or down. They can go from tribal to Oriental and in between. I’ve seen many troupes own one basic gold or silver bra and belt set for each member and change the look with L.Rose skirts and other accessories. The mix and match aspect is really cool, because they look like completely different costumes and the troupe doesn’t have to spend tons of money getting identical designer costumes.

Back to my story. They came highly recommended to me for workout gear, which I am indeed in need of. I have a short inseam, and I really hate hemming pants I spend a lot of money on. It’s primarily because although hemming is easy, accidents can happen when you take scissors to a pair of pants. For what you get, the price is more than fair, but at the same time, I don’t have a lot of money to waste by an accident.

The img_1187choices were rather overwhelming in terms of color, so I asked the company to send some samples of fabric to me. They send up to 5 samples. I received them rather fast in the mail. They’re a good size sample so you actually see how they look and feel. The cotton lycra felt a little thin to me (like a medium weight t-shirt; I like my pants a little heavier in the fabric weight during cold months), so I went with the brown “twilight” velvet, which is glittery. The best part of this fabric is that it has minimal glitter shedding. I decided on the half-bell bottom jazz pants. I measured myself and sent in my order.

After placing my order, I was told that I would receive my pants within 2-3 weeks. Considering they have a ton of business and the pants are really custom made, that’s impressive. I did indeed receive them in that time frame.

img_1186And the verdict on them? They indeed lived up to what people said, at least from what I can tell for now (I haven’t had them for years, obviously). The measurements are true, so they fit wonderfully. Not too tight, not too loose. They are simple in line, but it’s a very flattering cut. The only I think I am a little baffled by is that these are the half-bell bottoms. That leg is huge! It may be because designers nowadays don’t make large bells on the bottom of the jeans, but these are more what I thought a full bell bottom would look like.

When I have played around in them a bit, they move beautifully as well. If you’re looking for great costuming, I would definitely recommend L.Rose Designs. You may not be able to get your things immediately, but the products are so versatile (if you haven’t seen them yourself, check out their gallery to see how people like to wear them) and are amazing.

photo-371Take 2 with Melodia tops. This time, in tie top form. To the right is me in one of the batik-dyed leaf green ones.

These definitely fit better. I like the versatility of them; you can tie them as I have in the photo or make them more of a wrap top. The wrap top gives a little more coverage than the front tying. Unlike the twist tops, the tag is discreetly sewn in.

Of course, you do have the slightly cumbersome task of having to tie this on. Luckily, the ties are very sturdy and the fabric is not slippery, so you can rest assured that it is not going to untie itself.

The biggest problem I can see with these tops is again they may be a little small. I may prefer to costume more modestly, but I don’t know about fitting larger sizes. The other problem is that there is a difference in the fabric. The other top I ordered is in the “denim” fabric. This top is much flimsier and feels like it has more give than the green top.