Before buying a tuxedo for ballroom dancing make sure you buy a dance jacket and not a regular tuxedo jacket. This is very important because there are a few major differences that will get in the way of your dancing if you are wearing the wrong jacket. The three most crucial factors that come into play when differentiating between everyday jackets and dance jackets are the padding, cut and fabric.
Padded shoulders in everyday jackets pose one of the biggest problems while dancing. The padding gives off the effect of broader and stiffer shoulders. This may look great standing up, however when trying to maintain a dance frame the shoulders pull and the lapel rides up. This is unlike dance jackets which have light stiffening so as to still appear stiff but that facilitates mobility and flexibility.
The cut of your tuxedo is as equally as important as the lack of padding. Dance tuxedo jackets have a very different cut for the arm holes than normal tuxedo’s. Normal tuxedos are made with a lower/ larger arm cut unlike dance tuxedo’s. The larger cut causes the extra fabric to bunch up when you lift your arms. Dance jackets are made with a high cut that doesn't bunch up, giving you a smooth and clean look while dancing.
Last but not least, the difference in fabric play a major role in determining why dance jacket’s are better to dance with. The fabric of an everyday tuxedo is meant to be stiff so that it does not wrinkle or crease from everyday use. If you were to wear a regular suit while dancing the material of your jacket will constrict your movements making it both uncomfortable and difficult to dance in. Dance Tuxedo’s however, are made with stretchable fabric. One of which is called Lycra. Stretchable fabric contours with your body as you move, giving you more flexibility and less resistance. The ideal percentage of lycra fabric used in dancewear is 3-6%.
A regular tuxedo looks great while standing but funky while dancing. Go with a dance jacket that looks fantastic while doing both!
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Nick Kosovich is the former United States and World American Ballroom Champion. After competing for 36 years he retired from competition dancing in 2005.
He is from Perth, Australia and the Co- Founder of LeNique. He currently resides in Los Angeles, Ca with his wife and co-founder Lena Kosovich.