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Dress to tango?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Any tango dancers out there? Tango is sensual, and elegant. And people used to dress up when they went out to dance. It was a nice occasion to put on that flashy double-breasted chalk-stripe suit that you might find inappropriate for business.

Lately, things have changed. As someone said, "in tango, formal wear is out; sneakers, low-rider jeans and halter tops are in". Of course, in many "milongas" you still see people dressing formally, but it is not that frequent any more.

I personally dislike this change, as it means that there is one more occasion lost for using the kinds of clothes that I like. However, nowadays, in most "milongas" here in Europe, I feel quite out of place when dressing formally. Actually, I have the feeling that I will end up dressing formally only for business!

Any thoughts?
post #2 of 29
What do the Argentines think?
post #3 of 29
Dressing all the way formal for a well danced tango would be... sweaty.
post #4 of 29
I too am a milonguero, from LA, and am well aware of the unfortunate phenomenon you describe. In my experience it began in the Pacific Northwest (Portland and Seattle), home of the "grunge" look, and spread down the coast to San Francisco and, more recently, to LA. I've also seen it take root in Asia (among the Japanese) and Europe (the Dutch and Germans mostly). They seem to have taken and, in my view, seek to inject into tango a kind of socialist/populist attitude that says (like the Silicon Valley engineers did a few years back): "I don't care how I look, I'm an excellent/dedicated/regular (choose your term) dancer and that's all that matters." Frankly, that's not all that matters.

In the first instance, Tango has long been associated with elegance. Even its earliest practitioners, the dispossessed workers who lived along the port and docks of Bs As, would dress up whenever they went into town to show off their moves and seduce the ladies. If even down-and-out 18th century South American immigrant dock workers had the personal dignity and respect for the softer sex to put on their best duds when they ventured into mixed company, who are these effete early 21st century bozos to change the rules?

I haven't changed a thing about how I dress for a milonga, whether in LA, San Francisco, New York, D.C. Paris or Buenos Aires. Although I rarely wear a tie, unless I'm with a date (I just get too hot after a few tandas) I always wear either a suit or jacket and trousers (but rarely anything from my high end collection because they'd just wilt in the heat and perspiration, not to mention the abuse inflicted from the occasional lipstick, deodorant or perfume stain).

Moreover, in my experience most women who dance Tango prefer to wear dresses and heels. Perhaps this is to keep alive their notion of romance or fantasy, or perhaps they just can't bear going out in pants and flat shoes. Whatever the reason I, as a gentlemen, will always dress in a manner that mirrors those women and their preferences. If they desire to be held in the embrace of a well turned out man while being whisked across the floor to the strains of Pugliese, D'Arienzo, DiSarli or Piazolla, I'm only too happy to oblige.

Never lose your style, my friend. For just like the dweebs who brought us the horror of the "casual" workplace, the bozos who now rumble about in wide legged pants, rubber soled dance shoes and shirts with unbuttoned cuffs will soon be forgotten; in the end, elegance -- like truth -- always prevails.
post #5 of 29
well said LAron !

I don't dance tango myself, but I am a Salsa dancer, and I do dress up to go dancing... yes salsa dancing is physical and you sweat on a suit.. but I like it...

<----Just look at the avatar
post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 
Lakewolf, that blueish (?) DB windowpane or yours (the one you posted yesterday) must look great in action on the salsa dance floor...
LARon, I tend to agree with what you state about people "dressing down" for the milongas. It seems that some people think that it is a "progressive" or "socialist" attitude to dress down (if possible, to dress in rags). I think that socialism should rather be about making it possible for more people to wear bespoke or MTM or, at least, some nice OTR stuff.
Also, if you can afford dressing nice, I cannot see the socialist part of not doing so (unless, of course, if you use your money to help those who are in need; that, I seriously admire). Luckily, in my business, it is still OK to dress formally at work; my brother, who is in IT, is not that fortunate.
Of course, I do not think that you should necessarily bring your Brioni to the dance floor. Also, normally, I would not go dancing with high-end shoes, just to suffer from seeing them scratched...
But I think that there is a nice, intermediate term between bespoke/Brioni and lowrider jeans&worn-out T-shirt.
What do you think about sneakers in the milonga? I have a nice pair of black Ferragamo sneakers that I like a lot. Also, I was thinking of getting myself a pair of Sutor Mantellassi ones that I saw somewhere on this forum and that I liked a lot.
post #7 of 29


Here is Al Pacino, in his Academy Award winning performance, from SCENT of a WOMAN. Long live the Tango, and those men elegant and talented enough, to master it!
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by epa
Lakewolf, that blueish (?) DB windowpane or yours (the one you posted yesterday) must look great in action on the salsa dance floor....
That would be to closed to dance... I normally wear a slim cut 2 btn suit that breathes well and shoes that are nice but I don't care too much about, you know when dancing on a packed club you get walked over the shoes or some guy spills his beer on your jacket... Not everybody that goes clubbing is a gentleman
post #9 of 29
Dress formally and be a role model for the jeans and sneakers crowd.
post #10 of 29
I generally wear a very slim suit and dress boots when doing Tango (been dancing about 8 years, on and off). You can't dance well in sneakers without breaking your ankles - it's just too hard to pivot. I'll wear a tee shirt or a dress shirt and tie, loose around the neck, depending on the circumstances - shirt and tie in NYC, tee in LA. The super slim suit just looks good when you are moving that way.
post #11 of 29
There are few things that are more Latin than putting on some nice duds and going out dancing to impress/pick up ladies.
post #12 of 29
If anything, I'd say wear leather soles.
post #13 of 29
Tango in sneakers sounds difficult.
post #14 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stach
Tango in sneakers sounds difficult.
Not at all; I think that it will all depend on the friction coefficient of the sole, and on the contact surface between sole and floor. Some sneakers allow quite well for pivoting, IMO. Also, with certain trousers or denim, I do not like to dress shoes. Deck shoes or loafers would look too strange on the dance floor, IMO (and I do not like loafers). Some black and brown leather sneakers can look really nice, I think. I have at least four pair of quality sneakers (two black ones (Boss -not orange label- and Ferragamo), one brown one (some Italian brand, Nero something), and one blue pair of Bally sneakers) that I feel are O.K. for dancing. Although I have the feeling that many people on SF are quite against the use of sneakers (except for, possibly, at the gym or when driving)...
LA Guy, do you wear a T-shirt with the suit? I think that I have seen some postings on SF against wearing a suit without a tie (unless you are wearing a turtleneck)... What is the definition of a slim suit?
post #15 of 29
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