Figure skating, whether on the ice or a roller rink, is often accompanied by its own crowd of experts in addition to the skaters, judges, and coaches. These experts may include seasoned parents of a family of figure skaters or local dressmakers who, more often than not, are skaters themselves or are related to one. Consequently, for those new to the realm, locating a good dress for performance can be accomplished easily. Here's how to do it:
- Figure skating competitions By drawing crowds from all over the community and out of town, these competitions provide an opportunity for past skaters to sell their dresses and new skaters to acquire them. These sellers also often provide you with the opportunity to try on several outfits and dresses in a variety of sizes and styles before making a final selection.
- Local dressmakers Within a skating club at a particular rink, there are usually two or three known dressmakers who can easily put together an outfit that fits well. Stretch fabric, the fabric used in swimming suits, is often used for these dresses and is available at fabric stores such as Hancock Fabrics.
- Skating shops Shops within ice and roller rinks that have skating clubs often sell outfits and dresses for performances. These outfits are usually machine made, however, and may not fit as well as a custom-made dress. However, buying apparel at these locations can be much more convenient.
- Catalogues or online stores Figure skating outfits are also available through stores for which orders can be placed. This may be a good first step when buying, but may lead to the purchase of an over-priced, ill-fitting dress. Online resources can be found at SkateLog.
Now you know where to find a dress, but how do you choose the right one? The tips below will help you to choose the perfect one for you:
- It should fit well, like a one-piece swimsuit. Because the material used is stretch fabric, these outfits can accommodate many sizes, but they should not be so small as to cause the skater discomfort or too large as to create loose wrinkles.
- You can often tell the quality of a dress by its skirt. The skirt should not be too short or too long. (Longer or shorter skirts may be aesthetically desired for competition dresses.) A well-fitted skirt is often ¾ to 1 in. longer than the seam of the bottom of the outfit and creates nicely folded ripples in a V-shaped pattern around the wearer. Its length should be relatively consistent, with the skirt riding higher at the hips than the front or back. The tip of the skirt pointing downward at the back should also be shorter than that of the front.
- The quality of the fabric can be judged by its stretchiness in both directions. Make sure the fabric does not stretch in only one direction. If the stretch fabric or spandex material used stretches only in one direction, it is better for the material to stretch lengthwise rather than widthwise.
- Pre-owned dresses should be analyzed for any stains or rips. Dresses are very durable and are exchanged for new ones because of their size rather than their condition. Stains and rips, however, may still be present, especially given the nature of the fabric that is usually sensitive to velcro or rough materials.
- The design of the dress should fit the tastes of the wearer. It is the wearer who will have to be happy with it for numerous practices and lessons to come.