How To Dress for Ballroom Dancing

How To Dress for Ballroom Dancing

Ballroom dancing competitions are elegant events that require a certain level of sophistication and grace in one's attire - but dressing for lessons is an entirely different story! This guide will teach you everything you need to know to ensure you're dressed comfortably and correctly for your next lesson. 

Women's Attire for Ballroom Dancing

Many women often feel pressure to pick the "right" outfit, but it's hard to go wrong! As long as your clothing and shoes allow you to move comfortably, you can wear almost anything. Here are some guidelines to help you get started:


Ballroom dancing is often associated with long-flowing dresses, but it's not necessary to wear a dress to practice! Pants, leggings, and shorts are acceptable if they don't restrict your movement. The same goes for tops; blouses, T-shirts, and even tank tops are fine - make sure you wear something you don't mind sweating in! 

If you choose to wear a dress or a skirt, stay away from form-fitting silhouettes like pencil skirts. Floor-length skirts are acceptable, so long as their hem falls to the right height - you don't want to trip accidentally. The last thing to consider for skirts and dresses is that they should be long enough for you to twirl comfortably.


When it comes to choosing shoes, err on the side of comfort. You're going to be doing a lot on your feet, and you don't want to get sore. Opt for shoes that fit well and aren't too loose. With all the moving around you'll be doing, loose shoes can slide around on your foot and cause sprained ankles. 

For turns and spins, suede or leather-soled women’s ballroom dance shoes are best!

Men's Attire for Ballroom Dancing

Men's dress for ballroom dancing is slightly more straightforward. Many of the main points are the same as women's dress guidelines - comfort and range of motion are still the most important!


For lessons, many men like to wear business casual outfits. Well-kept jeans work well; dress pants are also acceptable! Avoid clothing that is too stiff or may fly around, like starched shirts and ties. 

For shirts, make sure whatever you wear allows a full range of motion in your upper body for lifts and spins. Short sleeve shirts like Polo or T-shirts are always a safe choice. Knit long-sleeve shirts can also work, but many men find collared long-sleeve shirts too restrictive for total mobility. 


Men generally have fewer spins and turns than their partners, so wearing shoes with more traction is okay. Sneakers work just fine for many dances! That said, men’s ballroom dance shoes are best. 

What Should Not Be Worn for Ballroom Dance?

  • Sandals and shoes with a chunky heel - While it's important to be comfortable, stay away from loosely fitted shoes and shoes with a heavy or chunky heel. You'll often pick up and slide your feet on the dance floor, and you don't want anything in the way. 

  • Long jewellery - Stay away from long or chunky necklaces. They can fly around while you spin and might accidentally fall off - or hit your partner! If you want to accessorise, short chains or chokers work best.

  • Flip flops - Avoid flip flops entirely; they just don't stay put. Aside from being a tripping hazard, they're also easy for your partner to step on.

  • Tight or restrictive clothes - Range of motion is key here. Ballroom dancing has many bold, fluid movements like twirls, spins, and lifts, so wear clothing that won't restrict your movements.

  • Short skirts - Skirt length is less about etiquette and more about comfort. Make sure the skirt of any dress is at a length you're comfortable with when you do a twirl.

  • Sleeveless tops and dresses - Whatever you wear, you want to ensure it stays in place and doesn't require constant adjusting. For this reason, it's best to avoid sleeveless or strapless tops and dresses.

  • Scarves or ties - Similar to jewellery, you don't want to wear anything that will fly around as you move. Scarves and ties typically don't stay put; since they're around your neck, they can also be a choking hazard. Skip them!

  • Rubber-soled shoes - Rubber-soled shoes like sneakers are fantastic for comfort, but they may cause footwork issues, as they don't slide or turn well. This is okay for some dance styles, but we wouldn’t recommend wearing these to a waltz.

Need the Best Ballroom Dancing Shoes? Shop Supadance!

Dressing appropriately for ballroom dancing keeps you comfortable and helps you learn. The right pair of shoes is crucial for a successful ballroom dance experience, and Supadance has what you need. We'll help you find the perfect pair of shoes so that you can keep on dancing.