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Suit Jacket for Dancing

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Hi everybody.


First of all, I'm very ignorant when it comes to suits, and I have never had a suit tailored. In dancing (particularly Salsa) a lot of guys wear suit jackets, so I'm wondering if there's anything I should know or tell a tailor if I want to be able to dance and raise my hands comfortably? EG: Fabric, wider than usual shoulders, etc. I have broader than usual shoulders for my torso size, which makes me very uncomfortable in most suits I have tried right off the store.






I can't dance like that, but at least I wanna wear like him :D



post #2 of 5
For raising your arms comfortably over your head I'd suggest high arm holes -- others on this board will know more about that. Probably double vents. For dancing like that, I'd suggest dancing on 2 wink.gif.
post #3 of 5

You definitely can get a suit that will work for dancing I'd think. You probably won't be able to go off the rack like you said. The Made to Measure route will probably be what you'll have to do. I would imagine if you work one on one with a tailor they could hook you up. I don't really know any more than that but plenty here do. Good luck!

post #4 of 5

I used to live near a place that sold special clothes for ballroom dancing, though I never went inside.


From talking to ballroom dancers, I understand that they tend to like strong shoulders, high armholes, and a lot of ease in the blades (ie, in the back behind the arm hole), so the coat fits cleanly with the arms raised. I believed I've heard it posited that one of the reasons Fred Astaire wore Anderson & Sheppard was that their house style of (you guessed it) high armholes and ease in the blades was especially suited to dancing.


I know some ballroom dance scenes are more open than others, and getting a gentleman to share the name of his tailor can be fraught, but I would suggest asking someone in your area for a recommendation. I'm sure there are tailors who wouldn't get your request, tailors who'd say "yeah, sure!" and take a stab at it, and tailors who are experts at cutting for dancers.


When I went out as part of a class I took, I left my suit jacket on a chair and danced in shirtsleeves. Most of the gents dancing wore shirts (generally rather fitted), or tailored vests (either a fancy, Favourbrook-type vest or 2/3rds of a three-piece suit), as I recall.

post #5 of 5

It has been many years since I've danced at anything close to a competitive level so YMMV. For Latin/Rhythm I do not think a jacket is necessary. Shirt +/- vest is more common, even at the highest levels of competition. 


Standard RTW jackets for Standard/Smooth are never ideal for ballroom dancing because they are not designed for the arms to held perpendicularly to the body, so the shoulders will not sit in a clean line. This is a huge problem because judges will have a hard time assessing your frame if the jacket does not sit cleanly across the arms and shoulders. Jackets and tailcoats cut for ballroom dancing have to be specifically made for this purpose. Not just high armholes but also with the sleeves set so that sleeves come in perpendicularly to the body. Fitting has to be with the dancer holding his arms in "dance frame". These jackets will not look right when the dancer has his arms at his sides as a result. I'm sure there are other considerations as well. 

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