Nothing brings out the little girl in us females more than the thought of a new figure skating dress. Yet, at the same time, nothing can scream more “bling-overkill” than a skating dress. There was a whole lot of girly girl squealing happening in my neck of the woods recently. I just picked up my new dress for my 2011-2012 interpretive program! In this article, I’ll present (and we can share) some thoughts on figure skating attire as it pertains to adult figure skating. I don’t want to start by sounding sexist or discriminating, but by-and-large this really is a girl-issue. Skating guys seem happy to be in any kind of combination of black pants and a basic shirt, so long as they can move in it. This attitude seems to reflect the male approach to clothing in general, or maybe, it’s just the particular males that I live with. Guys can also recycle figure skating costumes for greater lengths of time, providing they don’t grow. For example, most keep pants from year to year, but will have a new shirt made, if need be.
Costuming is probably the number one subject that my non-skating friends comment on, as well as frequent topic of conversation on skating internet forums. In general, the dresses/outfits I’m seeing at world and grand-prix events are a lot more conservative than 10-15 years ago. Of course, ice dance is always notorious for over the top excess, but again, even the ice dancers seem to be opting for more conservative designs- a sign of the economic times perhaps?
As adult figure skaters, I feel that we have a few unique issues when it comes to finding appropriate attire. The most obvious is size and shape. We come in a lot more of them: apples, pears, sticks and triangles, just to name a few. I have found that “off the rack” dresses seem to be made using the proportions of younger, less curvy, bodies. Often, the skirts end up being way too short. Or worse, badly placed in a way that accentuates your wider features. Sometimes, the styles are just plain wrong, for anyone over the age of 10. Frilly and sparkly is cute on a 7-year old, not so much on a 47-year-old. If one is well-endowed on top, then halter-style or spaghetti straps present important structural deficiencies.
Many times, adults are reluctant to wear something skimpy due to feeling really uncomfortable and exposed. This goes beyond just feeling uncomfortable or embarrassed over the weight you may have put on over the past few years. It is a question of practicality too. In many northern climates, the air temperature in the area is chilly, if not down-right cold. The temperature of the rink where I train was 4° Celsius (39° F) this morning. I’ve taken skating tests there when it has been that cold and even the judge told us to go ahead and put on as warm a sweater as we could find. All those cute little backless and sleeveless dresses were buried in layers of fleece and wool that day!
When it comes to skating attire, what works (or doesn’t) for you? Send me a picture of you in your favorite outfit and I will post it on my blog for all of us to enjoy. And a special shout out to you gentlemen: we want to see you too!
Next: My new dress (with photo!) and more advice about what to wear on the when you are a lady of (as the French would say) “a certain age”.
If you are an adult participating in figure skating at any level… recreational, competitive or would like to figure skate and want to know more, come and join us at International Adult Figure Skating. There is a new blog entry every Tuesday as well as interesting videos and links to products and services of interest to adult figure skaters. Check out my special $1 offer on how to prepare for a skating competition.