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Good and Bad of 2017 Dancing with the Stars Costumes

Posted by Deborah Nelson on Fri, Jun 02, 2017 @ 10:06 AM


Week 9 Loved Week 5 Hated


If you have been following my “Dancing with the Stars” Costume Critique blog this spring, you have read about which costumes I have loved and which I’ve hated, on each installment of the show. I also shared which costumes I thought worked or didn’t work for each individual dancer. I also have tried to present tips for choosing or designing costumes that will flatter you and the particular dance you might be presenting.

Why do I do this? I enjoy sharing my expertise. I am a fashion/costume designer who has worked in the fashion industry for nearly 45 years, including nearly 40 years creating custom-designed performance costumes for groups and individuals at my company, Satin Stitches Ltd. I have a BFA degree with a Fashion Design major from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, along over 4 years being employed in the fashion/manufacturing industry in Minneapolis before founding Satin Stitches, many years ago.

At Satin Stitches, we have designed and created thousands and thousands of high quality costumes for children, as well as adults of all ages, shapes and sizes. Our busiest segments of our business involve high school, college and professional dance teams, pro cheerleaders, Sweet Adeline-style choruses and high school show choirs (where we also design and manufacture costumes for guys) in addition to individual dancers of all types. With this full regiment of custom designing, fitting and manufacturing I believe I am uniquely qualified to offer my opinions on the costumes shown on “Dancing with the Stars”. And yes, they are my personal, professionally influenced opinions.

In general, I love costumes that flatter the dancer and are mono-chromatic or at least have a very pleasing color palette. I especially love a well-fitting and flattering dance costume on anyone with a ‘not perfect’ shape. A dancer with a perfect body will look good in almost anything. It takes some skill to achieve a stunning costume on those of us with less than perfect bodies.

I don’t love costumes that show too much skin. I appreciate the art of illusion. I love costumes that make use of real straps that blend into a fabulous design rather than costumes that tack on ‘invisible’ nude elastic straps that aren’t fooling anyone. I love costumes that combine an interesting combination of fabrics and trims that create a beautiful textured look.

I also love couple costumes that coordinate well with each other. On men’s costumes, I love when “feminine touches” are used, but kept at a minimum. I like to see ‘just the right amount’ of embellishment on masculine costumes, so as to still coordinate with their female partners but not be completely feminine. I like to see men wear actual costumes instead of just putting on a shirt and trousers, with or without a vest or a jacket. Men, I implore you to add a touch of something interesting that helps you and your partner to create a unique and cohesive look.

I like costumes to be well-tailored. Any costume that fits well will make you, the dancer look much better than any costume that doesn’t – no matter how beautiful that ill-fitting costume is. I like costumes to be age appropriate as well as body shape appropriate. Know what silhouettes work well on your own body and don’t try to force an unflattering silhouette for your own costuming, just because you like the style.

So, you’ve heard a few of my likes and dislikes, now I will share my ‘cheat sheet’ from this 24th season of ‘Dancing with the Stars’:

  • Week 1: I loved Keo and Charo’s costumes along with Nick and Peta’s. I hated Erika’s, Emma’s and Simone’s costumes.
  • Week 2: I loved Erika’s costume along with Normani and Val’s. I hated Charo and Keo’s overly bold costumes.
  • Week 3: I loved Nick and Peta’s costumes along with Kym and Mr. T’s costumes and Heather and Alan’s costumes. I didn’t hate any costumes this week.
  • Week 4: I loved Peta’s costume and Sharna’s costume. I hated Lindsay and Simone’s costumes.
  • Week 5: I loved Rashad’s blue velvet ‘Beastly’ costume and Erika’s dusty pink gown. I also loved Normani and Val, David and Lindsay, and Simone and Sasha’s themed costumes. I hated Bonner and Sharna’s themed togs.
  • Week 6: I loved Simone and Sasha’s edgy costumes, Peta’s pink retro swimsuit, along with David and Lindsay’s dark red costumes. I hated Normani and Val in their streetwear, Salsa costumes.
  • Week 7: I loved Normani and Val’s black velvet costumes and Rashad and Emma’s ‘horror’ costumes. I thought David and Lindsay’s garishly green costumes were weirdly fun, yet really ugly.
  • Week 8: I loved Normani and Val’s beige contemporary costumes and Simone’s red satin costume. I hated David’s overthe-top Paso costume, along with his trio lady’s costumes.
  • Week 9: I loved Normani’s red dress and Lindsay’s coral dress. I loved Val’s purple checked ensemble. I hated Lindsay’s blue velvet dress and Emma’s blue ruffled dress. Week
  • 10: I loved Normani’s black lace costume (with Val again in black velvet) her short red costume and Emma’s dark green costume. I hated Lindsay’s purple and white fringed dress.

Just remember that the world would be a very dull place if we all liked and disliked the same exact things. My ‘Costume Critiques’ are based on my likes and dislikes and my 4 decades of professional dance costume design experiences.

(Submitted for June 2017 issue of Minnesota Dancer)

© Deborah J. Nelson/Satin Stitches Ltd.

Tags: Costume Critiques, Minnesota Dancer Magazine


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