How to Measure Belly Dance Costumes

How to Measure Belly Dance Costumes
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How to Measure Belly Dance Costumes-

Knowing how to measure for belly dance costumes can be difficult without the right information. So here’s what you need to know when measuring for a belly dance costume:

How to meaure belly dance costumes

How to Measure Belly Dance Costumes

Measuring for the Belly Dance Costume

Have a friend take your measurements with a tape measure. Keep your arms at your sides and stand up tall.

A. Underbust- This is the measurement around your ribcage, just under your bust. When buying a belly dance costume, the underbust is usually listed as a length, from the end of one back strap, around the underbust of the bra, to the end of the other backstrap. In this case, add at least an inch, preferably 2, to your measurement for the back of the bra straps to overlap and fasten.

B. Diagonal/Horizontal/Vertical Inside Cup- You’ll want your belly dance bra to fit snuggly without any gapping. You may need to add bra pads to ensure the right fit or you may need to adjust the straps, moving them closer together or farther apart. The belly dance bra should be firm or stiff, unlike a regular bra, and should keep your breasts from jiggling. Find a bra that fits you well, preferably a belly dance bra. Press the tap measure into the inside cup for these measurements as seen in the pictures below.  These photos were taken by my friend, Jewels, a professional belly dancer in Oregon.

measuring belly dance bra cup

Diagonal Cup Measure

measuring belly dance bra cup

Horizonal Cup Measure

measuring belly dance bra cup

Vertical Cup Measure

C. Upper Hip- A belly dance skirt is worn low on the hips, under the waistline. However, it should lie above the crack in your buttocks! This circumference is your “upper hip” measurement (where the top of the skirt will sit).  There may be a seperate hip belt that is worn over the skirt. The hip belt and/or skirt should fit snuggly. Although if it’s too tight, it can give you the undesirable “muffin top” look. You’ll want to account for the bulk of the skirt material that will lie underneath the belt, should there be a separate skirt. No matter how tempted you are to buy a costume, if the upper hip is even one inch too small, don’t buy! Remember you’re going to lose and gain weight slightly throughout each month. If you’re buying a costume, the upper hip measurement could be listed as a circumference, usually a range from the unstretched to stretched measurement. Alternatively, the upper hip could be listed as a length of a belt from end to end. In this case, you’ll need a couple of extra inches for overlapp and attachments. There are some more things to consider when buying a hip belt.  Stay tuned! I’ll be posting an article on buying costumes, shortly.

D. Lower Hip- The “lower hip” measurement is the fullest part of your hips and thighs, usually right around the buttocks or upper thighs. You will not need a lower hip measurement for a circle skirt.

E. Skirt Length- This is the measurement from the point you will be wearing your skirt, at the upper hip, to the point where you’d like the hem to fall. The skirt can fall to the top of your foot or an inch from the floor or can touch the floor, depending on your preference. I like to wear mine long, as I want my audience watching my hips, not my feet. If you’ll be wearing dance shoes, wear them when you measure. Take this measurement from the back, as most of us have a bit more curve in the back, so you’ll need it to be longer in the back.  If you’re making a belly dance costume or having a costume custom made for you, then perhaps you’d like to get the length of the front, too.

F. Arms- Some belly dance costumes come with armbands or gloves. For these, measure the upper arm between the elbow and shoulder.

You might want to read, “Buying a Belly Dance Costume,” too!

Do you have a question that I didn’t answer, or do you have a story to share about buying or making a costume?  Please leave a comment. I always enjoy hearing from my readers. For more info about me, please visit www.mellilah.com.

About Mellilah Jamal

Mellilah teaches belly dance classes in Redmond and Bothell and performs for private parties and restaurants throughout Seattle.

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